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In this newsletter, we’ve talked a lot about ways to structure practices and regiment your student’s schedules, so this month, we wanted to take a step back. As Eric’s cover reminds us, people are rarely drawn to learning instruments for the formality and discipline it takes to master. Most people, including musicians, find their love of music through the raw experience of hearing a song and being drawn to it. Here are some ways that love can be nurtured and grown.

DON’T PRACTICE FOR PRACTICE’S SAKE

All the expectations around learning an instrument come from a good place but can be counter-intuitive. As important as having a structured practice routine is, music can begin to feel like a chore if a student loses sight of why they’re practicing it. If you feel like you keep getting pushback from your child when it’s time for them to break out their instrument, it may be time to take a break from the same old scales and, instead, talk about the big picture.

LEARN WHAT THEY LOVE

Chances are your student has a genre or artist they can’t stop listening to. One of the most supportive things you can do as the parent of a budding musician talks to them about these interests and listen to what they have to say. What is it about the music they like that they find so enticing? What ideas, themes, and sounds excite them? If you come into these conversations with an open mind, you and your student are sure to learn a lot.

PRACTICE MEETS PERSPECTIVE

Encourage your student to research the history of some of their favorite artists. Chances are, those musicians had their own struggles with music in their early days. Hearing that can help students appreciate the heights music practice can take them to. You can take things a step further by encouraging them to learn a few of their favorite songs — if they haven’t already. Even if your student is learning an instrument typically used by their favorite artists, they can view it as creating their own piano cover or acoustic version of some of their most beloved tracks.