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It’s All in the Family: The Benefits of Parental Involvement

How the parent-instructor partnership works

Chieko Loy and dad John Kanki partner together to help Marissa and Christopher Kanki on their piano study. Chieko tells parents: “Let me critique the kids. You be the cheerleader.”

“I want my kids to enjoy playing music.” A straightforward goal and one John Kanki is achieving, with the help of CCM piano faculty member Chieko Loy. Christopher and his sister Marissa have been taking piano lessons with Chieko since 2016. They practice and play individually and also play four-handed duets together. It’s a family activity at the Kanki household. “The kids practice every morning, and I sit with them and help them,” says John. “They typically play between 15 and 20 minutes each, and we rarely miss a day. They’re getting better and better.”

Together, John and Chieko review the practice goals for the kids. “It works best when we’re a team,” says Chieko. “John supports what I’m doing in the lesson, and he lets me know how the practices are going.”

The relationship between the parent and CCM faculty member is an important one. We encourage parental involvement in their children’s music lessons, and the teachers appreciate it, too. It boosts their skill development and playing ability. Kids genuinely appreciate it when their parents show an interest in their music.

CCM parent Angela Lipson welcomes the support, information, and partnership here at the Conservatory. “At the end of my daughter’s weekly lesson, her violin instructor, Angel Valchinov, speaks with us as a team,” she says. “He lets us know what she did well and what she needs to work on for the remainder of the week.

Angela makes periodical check-ins with her daughter at home, ensuring that the right practicing gets done. She’s keen on ensuring that the recommended skills and pieces get practiced. It’s all routine, too—it helps that this mother-daughter team has set a specific time for practice sessions each day. Angela continues, “When we return the following week for her next lesson, Angel asks how she did and if she has any questions or concerns. We talk together for a few minutes and then her lesson begins. I feel we all have a role to play, and if we are all held accountable for our particular role, a true partnership is formed, and this benefits all of us!”

Angela believes that one of the best ways to help our children grow musically is by developing and fostering a partnership among our children, the instructors, and the parents. “Ongoing communication, commitment, and involvement are needed from everyone so that our kids can reap the most benefits,” she says.

“Talking about the different genres of music, attending and discussing CCM lectures together, listening to music in the car, and going to the Boston Pops as a family are all things we do to keep us involved and connected to music. Connecting with other CCM parents too gives us a terrific connection to CCM, and this connection keeps music in the forefront of our daily lives.

Playing together

Parents make an indelible impression on their kids when sharing their own passion for music—whether it’s learning, playing, or listening to music together, it all makes a difference.

We can only imagine that’s how sensational family bands got started. Think the Hanson Brothers—from playing the guitar, bass, piano, keyboard, percussion and drums, and of course vocals—they leaped into stardom by creating music together.

Another fun fact: others got their start with their dad’s band, such as Eddie Van Halen and Phil Collins.

Maybe it’s time to start your own family band in 2022?

Passing down traditions

John Kanki adds, “My kids have prepared duets for several recitals. It’s great having them play together. When I was a young piano player, I practiced and played duets with my older sister—it’s a wonderful tradition!” Make playing a duet a goal and a new tradition!

Tradition, community, and family participation make learning music much more fun and rewarding. At CCM, we all come together under one roof—students, parents, and instructors alike to help one another pursue a lifelong love of music.

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