This email might seem a bit intense to you so feel free to tone it down or move it a bit later. I like to acknowledge the challenges of learning music before they crop up, though, because it helps to put things in perspective and encourages them to see the bigger picture.

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What to do when it gets hard

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Hi [NAME],

As much as I would love to tell you that learning music is going to stay easy and fun at all times, that’s just not reality. Playing a music instrument means engaging almost every part of the brain (in fact, it leads to brains that are 30% denser and more connected when compared to non-musicians!) which is incredibly valuable, but, as you might imagine, sometimes it’s going to feel hard. 

I’ll do everything I can to make the sailing as smooth as possible, but part of my job as a music teacher is also to help my students ride the waves of difficulty as they come up. 

If you ever find that [CHILD NAME] is having a tough practice day because they’re tired or just having an off-day in general, try one of these no-practice practices to maintain the routine:

  • Play a favourite piece – any piece. It doesn’t even have to be on their list right now.
  • Improvise or experiment – just have some noodling time and see what sounds good.
  • Ask [CHILD NAME] to teach you something.
  • Choose a song or piece of music that neither of you have ever heard, close your eyes and listen to it. Then talk about what you heard when it’s over.

If an off-day turns into an off-week or an off-month, please let me know. I’ve seen every practice hiccup and progress frustration out there, and I’ll be happy to help you find a solution.

Working through the challenges is good because it helps us develop grit. It’s not going to always be easy, but it is going to be worth it. 

With appreciation,