Parent Handbook

As Your Child Grows

Children Change Rapidly

Children go through stages of development. These are very hard on the parent because adults tend to change little and slowly, while children change very rapidly, especially ages 0 -13. As soon as the adults think they have the child figured out, or what works, the child changes and the adult is left wondering why things aren't working!

Be Flexible

Be aware that if you find a way of practicing that works, it probably will not last for long! Try to follow your child's lead. If things don't seem to be working, don't get upset or blame your child. Don't try to force him to stay the same. You, the adult, may just be a little behind. Try to find a new way. Often, a very small change is enough. If getting a sticker for a cooperative practice seems no longer to be effective, don't try to force your child to keep getting stickers. Maybe he no longer needs them. Maybe another reward is needed. Talk to your child. They are often surprisingly wise about what they need.

Exerting Independence - A Natural Part of Growing Up

As your child approaches the age of 9, often they start wanting to practice by themselves. Instead of fighting about it at home, please talk to me about it. We will have a conference at the lesson and together talk about which things your child can do by himself. It is very important that you talk to me BEFORE things get confrontational at home.

From 10 years old on, I will be giving the student more and more to do by himself. The parent will assume the role of a supportive cheerleader. But, it is important to let your child make his own mistakes. The consequence will be what happens at the lesson. You always want to be your child's supporter, not their nag. It is the hardest time for the parents to let go and let the student practice incorrectly. Bite your tongue! At some point your child has to learn to practice for himself. Your only role is to help him organize his time so that practice gets done, sympathize with him over difficulties, and continue to play the CD every day. I'm happy to talk with you during the turbulence that comes with transitions.

Strive For Good Communication With Your Teenager

As your child becomes a teenager, keep talking to him when necessary to find out what he needs for practicing. Don't be surprised or hurt if he doesn't want you in the room (or at times not even in the house!) He is not trying to hurt your feelings - he may need to feel he's on his own. Teenagers love to be in their room by themselves. (Remember, the piano is usually in a central part of the house where they cannot feel alone. A violin or cello can be taken into their room. So the pianist has a special circumstance which needs to be worked out).

The parent's role during the last few years the child is home (14 -18) is that of an appreciative listener when asked. Enjoy the wonderful music your child is making in your hear rather than saying anything out loud. Tell your child that if he ever needs your help or opinion you are available but otherwise, let him be.

When your child is older, he will thank you for this great gift you have given him. Until then cherish it quietly in your heart.