We all agree that we see band as an investment in your children. It is both a financial and a time investment. Mr. Cahal and I are very grateful that your family chose to put this kind of time, money, and energy into our band program. With the right attitude and commitment, your child will reap personal rewards and life skills that will last his or her lifetime. Here are just a few things that the research in music education shows that your child is getting out of band:
1) Problem solving skills that transfer very easily to other academic areas
2) The acquisition of a new language – music
3) An increased understanding and appreciation for musical culture
4) An outlet for self-expression and creativity
5) An array of what psychologists deem as metacognitive or executive skills
- Time management
- Impulse control and delayed gratification
- Positive motivational beliefs like the importance of effort and the belief that they can complete any task
We can go on and on with this list too. Because you all have made such great sacrifices in band, we feel that we should help guide everybody to getting the most out of your investment in band for your child. The best return on your investment is to make sure that your child has consistent, structured practice at home. There is a large body of research that states that those who put in the time on their instruments, get more enjoyment out of them.
The cycle of practicing is: A child practices – then the child experiences success – then the child gets more enjoyment out of the activity – then the child practices more – ect.
Our recommendation is that children in band should practice a minimum of 5 days a week for 30 minutes of unbroken, continuous practice. Here are a couple of recommendations to help guide our understanding of what to expect when the child practices.
- Does the child have a silent location at home free from distractions for a solid 30 minutes?
- Does the child have all the materials that he or she needs to practice at home?
- A chair
- A music stand
- A metronome/tuner
- Appropriate sheet music
- Does the child have a plan to structure their practice? Here is an example:
- 10 minutes of warm ups
- 5 minutes of scales and technique exercises
- 15 minutes of focused concentration on the task at hand
- Do you know what the child needs to be working on?
- Visit our website, www.barberband.org and go to our calendar. The children have playing tests every Friday. Our calendar displays exactly what the students’ tests are and what they should be working on.
*A note about practice cards. Several of you have been asking about this. Right now, we haven’t been doing practice cards but we have been experiencing a greater amount of individual practice than we ever have had. We attribute this to the more frequent playing assessments. As a result, for the students’ practice card grade, they are just going to write me a one page paper that is a summary discussing their techniques and regimen at the end of every six weeks. This information will be given out to them shortly.
I hope all of this information helps. Please let me know if you have any questions!