The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has brought big changes for everyone — parents, kids and teachers included. With so many parents already in a tricky juggling act before the pandemic, things have only got more challenging with kids at home. And the kids have struggled too — cut off from their social circles and out-of-school activities, we have no doubt that many of our students have found it challenging learning from home.
Luckily, we are doing well here in Australia and it seems that the measures put in place have worked to keep the virus at bay and we are returning some sort of normal. But even with children heading back into classrooms, it looks like we will be living in this ‘new normal’ for at least another few months. This means that kids will most likely still be spending a lot more time at home, with limited access to activities.
The Challenges for Families
One of the biggest challenges for families with kids at home is distractions. Other people in your house or pets needing feeding, drinks, help with a task, exercise or a few minute’s attention, are all an interruption to your concentration. Keeping focus to get anything done, no matter how big or small can be hard. For music practice, this could mean getting through all the practice homework or even just finishing one!
Not many people are comfortable practising something new in front of an audience, and not always an appreciative audience! For music practice, the challenge is to be allowed to make noise around the rest of the household to avoid distracting or annoying others.
Tips for Practising Music at Home
Think outside the box to find a suitable place to set up a good place for your child to practise. Can you repurpose a corner of the garage, laundry, or office, to make temporary music practise space? Ideally find somewhere that can be away from the rest of the family and keep the sound issue to a minimum, but also comfortable enough for the musician.
Put together a family planner of activities to make sure your musician has a suitable (non-annoying) time to play that everyone can agree upon.
Don’t shut your music student away to always play on their own though as they might find it not only lonely but hard to focus. Showing some interest can be motivational! If possible get them to play you something they’ve worked on and improved at the end of each session. It’s also worth bearing in mind that several short sessions can be more effective than one long session.
Make sure your music student knows what they are supposed to be working on. If their regular face-to-face teacher is not able to teach them, consider online video chat lessons. A new teacher can often inspire more playing!
Perhaps it’s time to motivate your music student by having other members of the family start learning an instrument too? Take lessons individually or together online during lockdown for some wholesome family fun and the cognitive and emotional benefits that making music brings!
Ideas to Keep Kids Busy at Home
Encourage them to learn to play a new musical instrument, even if it’s only a short term thing. It will have a certain novelty factor and you never know, it may be the instrument they fall in love with or show great promise!
Make some of your own “Junk Percussion” music instruments at home like bucket drums, bottle shakers and chopsticks rhythm sticks using Google and Youtube. Use these to play along to your favourite songs or make compositions of your own!
Use youtube Karaoke to improve your singing skills!
Download some simple Music apps to work on your music listening, theory or playing skills, or just to find chords to a popular song.
Most of all make and enjoy lots of music together!