The latest issue of the Music Teachers National Association Journal (an academic magazine that music teachers read so parents don’t have to) discussed a recent study of parental personality traits and behaviors that affect how long a child studies music. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. If you know more about music than your child, it may be helpful to guide them along at the beginning. But as time passes, gradually reduce your “cognitive support” rather than continuing to impose yourself and your ideas onto their studies. Instead, create a space for your child’s inherent musical creativity and autonomy to flourish.
  2. Be mindful of the kind of feedback you give. Standards that are too high or constant negative feedback can lead to diminishing interest in playing music.
  3. Do offer ongoing personal support to your child. The article suggests asking them to play for you, sharing your pleasure in their playing, and talking to them about music.
  4. Do offer ongoing practical support to your child. This might mean listening to your child practice, helping them get to a friend’s house to play music together, or applauding their participation in a public performance.

Don’t underestimate your impact on your child’s love of music and their dedication to learning the piano. Offer ongoing personal and practical support, avoid too much negative feedback, and create a space for their innate creativity and musical autonomy so that your child can become, musically, who they were meant to be.

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