Success in Band

how to help

Some ways to encourage your budding musician

Dear Band Parents,

We are now starting our tenth week in band, and it is important I take the time to share some information with you. We all want to see your son/daughter be successful in our band program. We have had no casualties thus far, but thought some of this information may help you get your child over the hurdle.

For some students, the novelty of being in band may now have worn off. We have accomplished the first level in the learning process. The next four to eight weeks will be a crucial time in your child’s musical career. Research indicates many young people begin to become discouraged after the first several weeks of band. Some expect immediate results, especially in our video game driven society where children can achieve goals quickly, learning a musical instrument takes more patience. Practicing can often become an inconvenience, or is easily diverted as the path of least resistance. Parental support plays a vital role in your child's ability to complete this goal, and your encouragement will have a huge impact on the outcome. If he/she can effectively work through this pivotal time, the chance for a prosperous and enjoyable future of music making will be significantly improved. By the time we give our first performance at the end of January, I think you will see it as well worth the effort.

Consistent practice is essential to success. Most students need help in structuring a practice schedule that fits into their daily routine. They also need help keeping that schedule. A few suggestions follow:

1) For lip muscular development, five or six days a week of 15-20 minute practice is more beneficial than two long sessions, and a 90 minute minimum is required.

2) Encourage students to practice along with Smart Music. In addition to making the sessions more interesting, this provides important practice on tone, pitch and rhythmic development.

3) Encourage students to get together with fellow band members to practice and start working on the short songs we will be playing on our first concert. The students have a list of possible concert pieces and playing with friends makes sessions more fun.

4) Occasionally have your band student play for you, play “name that tune,” and/or have them perform for relatives over the holiday season.