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Music Lab Newsletter: "How Long Until My Child Gets Any Good at This?"

One of the most common questions we hear at Music Lab is, "How long until my child gets good at this?" The answer lies in a simple but powerful concept: practice. The more your child practices, the quicker they'll improve. It's a straightforward equation. Less practice equals longer time to achieve proficiency. Think of it like planting a garden: the more you water and tend to it, the more beautiful it grows.


Every child is unique, and so is their learning style. Understanding whether your child is a visual, auditory, kinesthetic, or reading/writing learner can significantly impact their progress. For example, visual learners benefit from diagrams and written instructions, auditory learners excel when they can listen and repeat, kinesthetic learners need to engage in hands-on practice, and reading/writing learners thrive with detailed notes and written exercises. By recognizing and adapting to your child's preferred learning style, you can make practice more effective and enjoyable.


Modern research shows that the average human attention span has dropped significantly. A study by Microsoft found that our attention spans have fallen from 12 seconds in 2000 to just 8 seconds in recent years. This decrease highlights the need for focused, shorter practice sessions. Instead of lengthy, unfocused practice, shorter, more frequent sessions can help maintain engagement and effectiveness.


Parents often have high hopes for their children's musical achievements. However, it's crucial to set realistic expectations, especially if your child has multiple after-school activities. Expecting a child to become proficient at playing the piano in six months while juggling sports, homework, and other commitments may not be realistic. Learning a musical instrument is a lifetime journey. Musicians with thirty-plus years of experience still practice daily. I've been playing the drums for thirty-four years, and I continue to practice regularly to refine my skills.


There's a reality attached to how much effort people put into their learning. For example, if the same teacher has ten students, and five are successful within two years of learning their instrument, becoming very capable of performing live, while the other five are not, it's realistic to accept that the difference may lie with the students, not the teacher. However, this does not mean the situation is not fixable. With adjustments to the practice systems and dedication, those initially less successful students can become equally proficient over time.


It's essential to remember that learning music—or any skill—isn't a race. Each child's journey is unique, and comparing their progress to others can be counterproductive. Emphasize personal growth and celebrate small victories. Encouraging a mindset that values effort and persistence over immediate results fosters a love for learning and resilience.


In conclusion, while there is no one-size-fits-all answer to how long it will take for your child to become proficient in music, the keys lie in consistent practice, understanding their learning style, working with their attention span, setting realistic expectations, recognizing the impact of effort, and fostering a love for the journey of learning. Remember, mastery comes with time, patience, and persistence.


For more tips on how to support your child's musical journey, visit our website or book a trial lesson at www.musiclabschool.co.uk/trial-lesson.


João Figueiredo

Music Lab Team


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