What if my child forgets to bring the instrument to school?

If a child forgets to bring an instrument to school, he/she should still come to the lesson. We can always do something useful and musical even without an instrument in our hands – and in the case of a group lesson, sometimes just watching the others can be very educational. If we are lucky, there will be a school instrument which can be borrowed as a last resort – but we have to take pot luck on how many strings it has got on!

How much should my child practise?

“Little and often”. The frequency is much more important than the length of the practice session.

Some teachers like to recommend a fixed regime such as “Every day” or “Five times a week” or whatever. Personally, I find that rigid expectations from me do not work well – I can “expect” all I like but it will not necessarily result in more practice. So when pupils or parents ask “How often?” I do my best to look Zen-like, and reply

Most days

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How do I know what my child is meant to be practising?

For every new pupil, I start up a new Google Doc so that we can keep all our lesson notes online and share them with whoever needs to see them. This takes a little bit of setting up initially, but has many advantages over the traditional notebook. It gives a clear, permanent record of all the work we do and the notes can be accessed from anywhere. Above all, the notes cannot get lost, tatty, eaten by the dog or whatever. The system also acts as a register, keeps track of missed lessons etc.

You can access the notes even if you do not have a Google account – all you need is a device connected to the internet. Continue reading

What if my child’s instrument is damaged at school?

Please note that if the instrument is of any significant value, you should make sure it is listed in your household contents insurance and make sure that you are covered when the instrument is out of the house. Also your child needs to be aware that the instrument is fragile, and he or she should leave the instrument in a safe place. A guitar or ukulele left lying on a school cloakroom floor could be turned to matchwood in about 2 seconds at playtime if an excited child runs in and treads on it.

This is entirely your responsibility – neither I nor the school will accept responsibility for loss or damage while the instrument is stored at school.