Those of us that play music know that it can be a lifetime of enjoyment; a social activity; and a source of pride and achievement. Numerous studies show it has enormous benefits to the creative, social, intellectual, academic, even physical development of the child. Parents and family are the most important factors in your child's success and enjoyment of music.
What every parent should know:
After 30 years of playing and teaching it has become clear that there is a wrong way to teach music - "showing instead of teaching". Many students and parents are impressed with short-term results of playing by ear, or reading tablature or other over-simplified notation systems...the problem is that the student hasn't actually learned anything about music - they can only play one song! They will not be able to communicate with other musicians, compose their own songs, accompany other musicians, or even learn new songs quickly. In order to approach musical situations confidently you need to know the fundamentals, and it's not that complicated - when taught the correct way. All music, from classical to country to heavy rock, incorporates these simple concepts. But some 'teachers' just can't be bothered to teach them! As your musical tastes change, these fundamentals help you learn and grow as a musician.
So don't be too quick to sign up with the musician who happens to teach as a sideline - teaching requires an entirely different skill-set and temperament. They are fundamentally different jobs!
What Parents Should Do:
Have a set time frame of at least 6 months (preferably 1 year) for your child's commitment.
If they quit after this time, keep it as a positive experience and leave the door open to try again when they are ready.
Expose your child to a variety of music: free concerts, ballet, blues jams, recitals, campfires, church groups, etc.
Talk to them about their music lessons, and be approachable to the instructor.
Ensure that their instrument is in good working order, ask the instructor - we are a school, not a store, and we'll never try to sell you anything. We provide music books at our cost.
Provide a quiet place, where the instrument can stay ready to play.
Agree on a reasonable practice schedule.
Remain nearby for help and encouragement - if that is what works for the child.
Praise their efforts and recognize even small improvements.
What Parents Should NOT Do:
Don't turn practice into a negative or punishment.
Don't insist that your child perform for others if they don't want to.
Never criticize your child's practicing - it's not a performance, and will often not sound like the finished product.
Don't undermine the teacher's method or curriculum - Talk to the teacher privately if you have a question or concern.
Don't provide a poor quality instrument. It doesn't have to be expensive. Check with the instructor. A professional instructor will not insist on a particular make or model, but can provide reliable advice.
Don't have expectations of immediate progress. The process is more important than the performance.
When It's Not Going Well :
Ask your child what they do or don't like about their music program. Talk to the instructor. Is there some aspect of the lessons that be changed (maybe just in the short term) that can rekindle the enthusiasm. Negotiate with your child. What was the initial time commitment. Can they give an honest effort till the end of the school year, or spring break? Keep it positive. If they made an honest effort they deserve recognition for that. Help your child develop a regular practise routine.
For your safety concerns:
Our teachers all have criminal record checks, and our studios have windows to the waiting room area, and of course you are always welcome to sit-in on the lessons.