Try to get into a rhythm. Agree upon a time for music study and stick to that same time during the week. If you are home schooling your children, make it part of the curriculum. In school there would also be time for music/crafts/drawing, you can fill this time with music practise.
Let your child practise by themselves, but be available for questions. Now we are all at home during the day you will be helping your child with many things and doing many more things together than you normally would. Having your child practise by themselves with give you both some time on your own. Keep in mind that it’s a fun activity. If you normally practise together, but it gives you stress now, try to change that routine. Let your child choose whether to practise together or on their own. You can stimulate practise by rewarding it with stickers.
Make a schedule with whatever pieces need to be practised that week and follow the schedule while you practise. Even better is you can make it with check boxes so you will feel accomplished and see you are making progress. Children who can read will be able to follow the schedule by themselves. Realise that for much of their homework they will be able to see progress by how many sums they completed or how many words they wrote. With learning an instrument one does not get this satisfaction, so it ca help to make a checklist for it. Ask your teacher for help if needed.
Show your interest to your child by giving positive remarks on what they are playing. A nice way to do this is by picking a song and making it your favourite. You can ask them to play your favourite song for you. It also helps to remark on what they were playing later in the day. When they have practised on their own during the afternoon and you tell them at dinner time “I really liked the second song you practised today” or “that second song is coming along nicely!”.
Set a date to give a concert. Plan a date and a time (a little bit in the future) and let your child(ren) make preparations: make a program of the pieces that will be played, let them present what they play (this is also a skill they will need in later life), have them practise this pieces in order of the concert. To make it as real as possible, on the day of the concert stay away from the place the concert is held a little while before it starts, let the public enter (maybe concert tickets or invitations were made, everyone is dressed in their nicest clothes), the organiser presents the concert, there is an applause when the soloist enters….
Play a distance concert for grandparents/family members/friends. You can do this through skype/zoom or make a video recording and send it to them.
Play together. If you don’t play an instrument then sing along or beat a rhythm. Choose a piece that you enjoy and make music together. Fun comes first! (On the harp you could also play a bass while your child plays the melody).
Ask your child to teach you a piece on their instrument. Having the teacher roll will teach them a lot about what they are doing too.
Listen to music together, preferably music of the instrument that your child plays. Watch some video’s together and discuss them. What did you like about it?
Have your child pick a piece of music (preferably one they can play themselves) and make up a story or a drawing to go along with the music. This will help make the music come alive. Think “Peter and the wolf” or “Paintings at an exhibition”.
At first my plan was to write this blog-post a few weeks before the Harp Friends Meeting, but somewhere between the many emails to artists and participants, the making of the folders and organising sleeping […]