Positive Piano Participation

Last night I attended the 8th Grade/High School Choral Concert in my town. Every year, each 8th grade music group (chorus, band, orchestra) joins the high school in a concert. The purpose is to introduce 8th graders and their parents to the opportunities that lie ahead of them if they choose to participate in the high school music program. I love this idea. It is truly heartwarming to see how excited the 8th graders are about their potential musical future. This year the directors added another element. They used this concert as an opportunity to demonstrate to parents what actually happens during a rehearsal and what the singers are learning in class. They called this performance an “Informance”.

This informational aspect of the evening probably met mixed reviews. I would guess parents that love singing drank this in. Those that are not quite as passionate about music may have just wanted to hear their kids sing and get them home to finish homework. It was a Wednesday night, and the bus comes early. I get it.

So – why do I want to know what is happening in my kid’s chorus, art class, etc. Well I actually have a little first hand experience from another perspective. My kids swam… a lot… Oy!!!! My knowledge of swimming? “Swim meets are weekend long steam baths for spectators.” A coach once suggested some specific words that could help me converse with my swimmers after practice. “How do you avoid getting water up your nose during flip turns?” etc. My daughter taught me how to do a flip turn one Sunday afternoon at the pool. These are the things that allow you to be a part of the process and appreciate the knowledge that your children are attaining.

So – when you pick your musician up from piano lessons, try a few specific questions. In other words, don’t just say, “How was piano?” unless you just want to hear, “Fine.” Instead, ask things like, “What do you like about your favorite piece?” “What is the most challenging part about the songs you are playing right now?” “How many notes do you know?” “Did you learn any new music words today?” Just a few well placed questions each week will let them know that you respect and appreciate the challenge of learning to play an instrument. And, you might learn something new…

because as we know…   Music Lasts a Lifetime…


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