How to Listen to Your Kids Play for You

Kids like to know their parents are interested in their activities. Kids taking music lessons like to know that their parents value music education and notice the effort their children are putting forth in pursuit of it.

One way to do this is to ask your kids to play for you.

So far, so good. But what actually happens very often?

The parent wanders off to another part of the home. The parent sits in the piano room but leafs through a magazine or reads a book.

Actions like this send -wrong- signals!

If you ask your child to play for you, sit down and listen. Don't do anything else. Don't fidget and act as though you can hardly wait to leave.

If you sit and listen without doing anything else, your child knows you are paying attention (which you aren't if you're doing something else, too, or have left the room) and knows that you're not being hypocritical in your "support" of his music studies.

I don't know which is worse: not asking to hear your child play; or asking and then "leaving" because it's not interesting enough to attend to. I think it's the latter.

copyright 1999, Martha Beth Lewis, Ph.D.
Contact me for reprint permission.

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