Supportive Band Parenting - Tips on Making Successful Musicians


    It is a common misconception that non-musical parents are helpless when it comes to supporting a young musician at home.  Please read the tips below to learn more about how you can help your child develop healthy and productive practice habits at home.  Home practice is ESSENTIAL to success in the band room and students who do not establish good practice habits at home will quickly fall behind in class.

    The Importance of Practicing

    Music achievement requires effort over a long period of time.  Rehearsal time in band class is limited, therefore new concepts learned at school can only be developed through personal practice time at home.  You can help your child have successful practice sessions by:

    • Providing a quiet place in which your child can focus and practice.  Students should have a practice area, complete with music stand and sturdy chair.  It is also a great idea to provide students with a metronome and tuner for practicing.
    • Remaining nearby during practice times as often as possible.  Ask students to perform for you during their practice sessions.  Encourage your student for their success.
    • Schedule a consistent, daily time for practice.  Household timers can help monitor practice time.  For beginners, fifteen minutes of practice is more than sufficient for the time.  As they get better on their instrument, increase practice time to include going beyond just playing songs or lines they have learned in class.
    • Recording daily practice on the child's practice journal.  
    • Praising your child's efforts and achievements, no matter how small or big!

    The Roles of the Parent AND Student - You are a team!!!

    To give your child the best possible support to become a self-sufficient musician, you should:

    • Remind your child to bring his/her instrument and music to band class everyday.
    • Encourage your child to play for family and friends.
    • Offer compliments and encouragement regularly.
    • Expose your child to a wide variety of music, including concerts and recitals.
    • Encourage your child to talk with you about band class.
    • Make sure your child's instrument is always well maintained.  Instruments that are not in working order should be taken immediately to a repair shop for maintenance.  Do not wait, as repairs can be costly.  Students should bring a parent note and repair shop ticket/receipt to the band director every time an instrument is in the shop.
    • Help your child build a personal music library of sheet music and recorded music. Again, private lessons are a great help with increasing a students' music repertoire.
    • Get to know your child's teacher.  Ask questions.  Send emails.  
    • Attend all performances.

    Things to Avoid when Nurturing your Musician

    Many band parents fall into bad traps while meaning to do well.  Be forewarned and avoid the following:

    • Using practice as a punishment.
    • Insisting that your child play for others when he/she does not want to. 
    • Ridiculing or making fun of mistakes or less-than-perfect playing.  Encourage even the smallest success.
    • Apologizing to others for your child's weak performances.  Everyone contributes to our band.
    • Attempting to repair your child's musical instrument when issues arise.  Please leave this to the professionals.  Many times, attempting to repair the instrument yourself only does more damage and costs more money to fix.  

    Children lose interest in things on a regular basis, sometimes as quickly as they became interested in the first place.  Gratification is not always instant with instrumental music, therefore parents will need to encourage and enforce practice through good times and bad.  Your role as a parent is to remain ACTIVELY involved in your child's musical study.  Success for band students depends on dedication.  Please encourage your child in every way possible.