Managing expectations for your kids’ music lessons

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by Lara Levitan


When you signed your student up for piano lessons, did visions of little Mozart go dancing through your head?

It’s only natural to want your children to excel at everything they undertake, including music lessons. But can your expectations get in the way of their achievement or even enjoyment?


Defiance and temper tantrums aside, children want to please their parents. But unrealistic expectations can increase anxiety and weaken self-esteem.

On the other hand, expectations that are too low may have a similarly damaging effect, leaving your student unmotivated and under-achieving.

So where’s the balance?

Rather than approaching music lessons with a pre-programmed set of expectations, observe your child while she’s practicing to get a true, realistic idea of her skill level.

Speech-language pathologist and mother of six Amy Maschue told, “Regardless of where a child’s current developmental level is, when a parent sets his or her expectations in line with the skill just above the child’s current level, the child is likely to quickly achieve that developmental skill and experience the self-esteem-building response of praise and pride from his or her parent.”

You can ask your student’s teacher what that “next-level” skill is, and what you can do to help your child advance.

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