What Your Kids Need From You

  • SumoMe

Parents always want the best for their kids, and will usually do everything they can to help them succeed. This article will provide some useful insight to music parents who want to help their children to become the best musicians possible.

Encouragement
First of all, there are numerous studies that show music involvement helps the whole person. See my school website for a sampling of the studies. Your kids need you to encourage them in this endeavor. Help them by setting up a regular practice time, getting them any necessary help such as a mentor or a private teacher; help them find great quality professional recordings as examples of sound on their chosen instrument. If they don’t know what their goal is, how are they going to reach it? By listening to incredible performers, they can begin to emulate the sounds and techniques of those performers.

Good Equipment

Nowadays you can buy instruments everywhere—from music stores, department stores, online at eBay, and multiple websites. Numerous problems can arise by doing so, because companies catch parents off guard as they are looking for the “best deal.” Yes, you can get cheaper instruments  that way, but you are also starting the students further behind because of it. In most cases, cheaper means inferior.

The safest thing to do for all parties involved in the education of the student is to ask your director for his/her guidance and advice. Most directors are concerned with the education side of things and not the business side of the transaction in purchasing an instrument. Keep in mind that local music stores will be the ones repairing instruments as necessary. If the instrument is made of poor-quality materials or it was manufactured in substandard facilities by unqualified laborers, you can buy them cheap, but you are stuck holding the substandard product. In the end, you could end up paying much more than necessary for repairs and adjustments, and your child may never blend properly with the remaining musicians in his/her group. Most repair technicians will not take the risk to repair some of the instruments that come in their stores and many of the parts are not  available.

I have played several “great deal” instruments after a parent purchased it online or from a department store and I was not able to get even close to the proper sound or intonation necessary for the child to play in the band. The safest thing to do is to either rent-to-own an instrument for a nominal monthly price, or purchase a quality used instrument.

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Jim Matthews

About Jim Matthews

Jim Matthews is a veteran band director of 30 years at Jackson Middle School in Titusville, FL. He received his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree from Florida State University. His bands continuously receive superior ratings at band festivals. The bands have received the Florida Bandmaster’s Association Five, Ten, Fifteen, Twenty and Twenty-five Year Superior Awards for continuous Superior ratings. He is presently the Brevard County Music Instructional Coach for all secondary band directors. He is a member of Florida Bandmaster’s Association, Music Educator’s National Conference and Phi Beta Mu – an International Honorary Band Director’s Fraternity. He is also a National Board Certified Teacher in music. For more information, see the About section.

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