What to expect when your child is learning how to sing or play an instrument in school.

This page is designed to help you understand the opportunities available to your children, and to help parents and teachers understand how they can ensure children make musical progress.
The basics………
Children are happy when they are making progress.
They enjoy music when they are able to hear the progress they are making.
They get enormous self esteem and confidence from building up a portfolio of small and large scale performances
They value what they do in music when they have support from parents and family
They understand ‘how’ to improve by having the guidance of an expert instrumental/ vocal teacher
The Practice Diary is the main method of dialogue between teachers, parents and pupils.
If there is effective communication between all three parties, the learning will be very transparent and your child will make progress.
In the early stages parents should help structure and monitor practice at home.
Your child’s instrumental/ vocal teacher will guide you on the appropriate amount of time for their particular age and instrument.
Parents and teachers should be looking for the next musical step for the student. You should ask to be kept informed of opportunities including:
  • Practice strategies / expectations
  • Notice of events
  • Concert opportunities
  • Area groups
  • Central ensembles auditions
  • Books / equipment to buy
  • Attendance

Some common misconceptions…

  • Children don’t need an individual lesson to make better progress – Your child’s instrumental/ vocal teacher is best placed to assess which type of lesson will sustain attendance, enjoyment and achievement.
  • Not all children will want to (or should be) working towards an exam in music.
  • There are many other musical “end points” including concerts, making a recording, learning a particular piece, joining an ensemble etc… which can motivate individuals better than an exam.
  • Always take advice from your childs teacher regarding practice – learning how to sing or play an instrument is complex and requires the skill of a specialist teacher. Very young children may practise less than older children if that suits their needs and concentration skills better.
  • Likewise, children learning string instruments may practice differently from those learning brass or woodwind due to the differing physical demands of the instruments. Trust and dialogue with your child’s teacher will help you to monitor and sustain their progress.
  • “My child wants to give up” …….or do they?   So did most music teachers when they were young players! Normally this requires a change in direction, a new piece, changing the skill level or reassessing the learning in some way.
  • It is natural for children and young people to sway but parents and teachers have a responsibility to make sure we can reinvigorate learning when this happens.
Thank you for supporting your child’s learning

Birmingham Music Hub – Secondary and Primary Music School Teachers Surveys 2018  results published:

pdf Primary Music School Teachers Survey 2018

pdf Secondary Music School Teachers Survey 2018

pdf SFE Inclusion Booklet

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