Parent of Bryan & Kristopher

Parent of Bryan & Kristopher

It has been more than three years since Bryan and Kristopher first started their music lesson at Harmony Road Music School.  It wasn't something they had asked for but something I had seriously considered and opted for them.  Why Harmony Road Music School?  Location as in distance, as well as it’s structured and tested approach, appealed to me.

I only hope for Bryan and Kristopher to enjoy music and having a formal introduction in a fun way is ideal.  Of course, as they move along and up the curriculum, the learning journey gets tougher and perceived as less fun.   It became harder for me to get them to do their home practice.  They said they had tried their best but couldn't play to the level expected.  They were discouraged.  They even asked to stop the lessons.

I could understand what they said and how they felt.  As someone with no formal music background, I couldn't help them on the technical and practical aspects.  I spoke to my husband as well as Teacher Anna and friends about this.  They had shared with me their invaluable experience and opinions.  Then the decision lay with me.  The kids are too young to decide for themselves.

I had to revisit the reasons why I started them on music.  Was I pushing them too hard?  I discussed with the kids and told them why we started them on music.  I tried to convince them, and in the end had to come to a compromise for a probationary period when we would re-assess. 

I had to think of ways to motivate them, to "entice" them and to see whether it would help to rekindle their interest.  Setting rules like practice for at least one round of practice a day before they can do other things of their choice, accumulating points based on the duration of time they spend practicing all seem to work.  Points translate to time they can spend playing.  Of course, if I slacken, it will get to them.  Really, how hard they work on it depends on how much focus I put into it to get them to adhere to the rules.  It's policing work initially, but after a while it becomes a routine. 

I give them the flexibility on when they want to do it, for example after shower or before shower, after meal or before meal.  But I do have to remind them to do it. Bryan is 8 and Kris is 6.  So I need to help prioritize their time.  Hope they can learn to do that along the way. Now, they are enjoying the lessons  more as they get to play more familiar and challenging pieces.  That gives them a sense of satisfaction and achievement.  But of course the journey ahead is long.... For now, we will hang on as much as we can.

 - Mum, Mrs Kow (1st March 2014)