Whether you’ve just enrolled your child in trombone lessons for the very first time or they’re back in lessons after taking an extended break, excelling at an instrument takes more than just showing up for lessons–it takes practicing, maintenance, and plenty of communication between you, your child, and your child’s music teacher. With tips that apply to both trombone students and their parents, you can make sure your trombone lessons are worth the financial and personal investment.
Take Lessons in a Professional Environment
Some parents enroll their children in trombone lessons that take place in a less-than-professional environment to save a couple bucks. Sure, you may be saving money, but you aren’t doing yourself or your child any favors in the long run. Learning the trombone isn’t only about finding a teacher that’s qualified, it’s about finding an environment that’s focused on music education. In a professional learning environment, your child won’t be distracted by outside influences. Whether your child takes lessons in a professional lesson studio or in a school classroom, the space in which they learn should be conducive to learning, otherwise their progression will be slow.
Practice Makes Perfect
You’re probably familiar with this saying, and if you think about it, it’s so popular because it’s actually true. Finding a quality trombone and enrolling your child in music lessons is only half the battle–providing a good practice space and actually motivating your child to practice is a whole other beast. From having the right equipment to making sure their practice space is quiet, well ventilated, brightly lit, and free from distraction, making their practice space as comfortable as possible is key. Although most musicians are comfortable practicing between 30 minutes and an hour a day, your child’s practicing needs may differ. For an idea on how long your child should be practicing their trombone, ask your child’s teacher for advice. When they do practice, make sure their practice time is focused and includes a warm up.
Private vs. Group Lessons
Which type of lesson model you choose depends on a variety of factors, including the age of your child and their level of study. Older students who have been playing the trombone for a few years typically fare better in private lessons, while younger students who don’t know a thing about music theory should be fine in a group atmosphere. Again, this is a situation where you’d need to speak with your child’s teacher for advice on which may be the better choice for them. In private lessons, a student can learn at their own pace–if your child struggles to keep up in school, there’s a good chance they’ll struggle in group lessons. Plus, in the course of an hour, your child is the primary focus of the teacher, not the 5-10 other students in the classroom. There are pros and cons to each, but in most cases private lessons are recommended.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
As a parent, it’s perfectly natural to have tons of questions for your child’s new trombone teacher. Whether you’re curious about their rates or need some clarification on their teaching methods, your child’s music teacher should make themselves available to answer every single one of their questions. If they’re dodging your phone calls or can never come up with a straight answer, you may want to start the search over and find a different teacher altogether. Your child’s trombone teacher should be your personal resource for all things piano. If you find yourself researching the ins and outs of the trombone, why not just ask the real-life person standing in front of you? Keep a list of questions that pop up during the week, and ask these questions the next time you see your child’s teacher. Encourage your child to do the same!
Don’t Let Your Child Give Up
As a parent, there’s a fine line between encouraging your child to keep playing the trombone and forcing them to do so. If your child finds regular practice a chore, do everything you possibly can to make them see things differently. Take them to your local high school football team’s after-school practice, and make sure they understand that all athletes, musicians, and artists didn’t get to where they are today without a whole lot of practicing. If your child seems really unhappy, try to find the cause. Are they having issues with their teacher? Are they in group lessons but want more one-on-one time with their instructor? Ultimately, it’s up to you and your child to decide when to throw in the towel. Just don’t let them make the mistake of giving up too quickly.