Probably the single most important factor in a music student's success and enjoyment is the regularity and quality of practice. All the talent in the world won't help if you don't put in the time and repetitions to get your fingers used to the repeated muscle movements that musicians make. If you're involved in sports or dance, you'll already know that. When you're competent, it's fun - and when you're not -"it's boring!"
The Cowichan Music Festival in February is open to all students. I usually encourage students who are likely to enjoy it, and to benefit from it, to participate. Sessions begin early in February and the closing Highlights concert is held just before Spring Break.
As a parent, you can help by:
Cancelling: if you withdraw from lessons during the year, any post-dated cheques will be returned and a refund given where applicable, following two weeks' notice (usually the last two lessons).
Choosing an Instrument
If you're starting out with a keyboard, watch for signs that it's time to trade up. The piano is a percussion instrument, and learning to use your fingers, hand and arm effectively can't be practised on unresisting keys; nor can your fingers play loud or soft notes, which is frustrating even for a beginner. As soon as you know your child is enjoying lessons, consider upgrading to an electronic or acoustic piano.
Which to get? some pros and cons -
You will need to rent, borrow or buy a cello to practice on, although if you like, you can use a studio cello rather than bring yours to lessons. You will also need a hard chair without arms, and a music stand. Other useful items are rosin, which is a small hard block of gum used to condition the hair of the cello bow; and a pin holder, which holds the cello steady if you have hard floors rather than carpet. When you need a metronome, download a free app on your phone. (Metronomes help players monitor that their speed is staying steady, and how fast or slowly they should play.)
If you are buying a cello, there are many good manufacturers, and most student cellos are reliable. They come with a bow and a travel case. A full-size instrument for adults is referred to as a 4/4; smaller cellos designed for young children are sometimes sized down to 3/4 or less.
for buying second-hand, start your search at usedvictoria.com.
In Victoria, Tom Lee Music, Long and McQuade, and Tapestry Music all offer instrument rental programs.