Updated: Sep 30, 2020
This article is for parents with younger children (not teenagers).
Let's get straight to the point!
1 The Teacher - a good one
Finding the right teacher who knows how to teach and not just to play the instrument is vital. The Teacher and student relationship plays an important role to ensure that a child stays motivated so as to continue learning the instrument. I still remember a piano teacher who would hit my hand when I made Mozart sound bad. That was an immediate no for me. I also remember a teacher who would spend a good 10 minutes complaining about her day - which really wasn't what I was there for. Another no. There was no effort to form a relationship with me. The teacher should be open to letting a parent sit in the lesson on request.
2 The Materials Used - age appropriate
Between the teacher and the student, the material he/ she chooses will be the main thing the student will be looking at on a daily basis. The print has to be colorful, and fun to look at for young students. Materials should be set at the right level for the student. Create room for students to succeed with the right materials chosen.
3 The Activities (or lack of) - outside just playing the instrument the whole time
Instrumental lessons DO NOT and SHOULD NOT be 100% playing the instrument. There is much that a student needs to learn outside of playing the instrument in order to play it well. For young students, rhythmic exercises can be taught on the carpet - allowing for them to stretch their legs. Use rhythm sticks if the student prefers to. Stomp their feet if they want to. Sing! Lessons can be half an hour but broken down into many shorter activities.
4 The Homework - short and sweet
Students need to be assigned practice work to be done at home but too much work is a NO. This stresses the student and they will eventually give up. Wouldn‘t you quit your job if it became too stressful and overly demanding? Daily practices of 5 minutes a day is enough for a young student. This has proven more effective than an hour long practice.
5 The Other Students in the Group Lesson - classroom management should be present
Group lessons should be small. The teacher should also be capable enough to manage any students who may behave inappropriately during the lesson causing disturbance to the others (classroom management). The teacher cannot simply ignore this and carry on with the lesson plan. Siblings who are able to have lessons together should be encouraged to, as they will be encouraged to keep up with daily practices at home together.