Specific Information for the Parent of a Beginning Music Student - Nottelmann Music Company
Nottelmann Music St. Louis
Specific Information for the Parent of a Beginning Music Student

Specific Information for the Parent of a Beginning Music Student

Curated from AMP, the Association for Music Parents – 

Music Educators – here’s important infomation to pass on to your music parents.

Marc Whitlock, band director for Discovery Middle School and formerly a band director with the award winning Plymouth Canton Educational Park, MI and Marian Catholic H.S., gives parents detailed guidelines for home practice to help their child succeed.

Featured Article

“I Made It” Lesson Plan (2.73 MB)
This lesson plan accompanies a new, innovative education tool for primary school students designed to teach respect and admiration for creators, inventors and their works. The animated short video is a part of the project and can be seen here.
Published with the permission of the Music Publishers Association.

Guidelines for Effective Practicing

To learn a musical instrument you must learn to master many physical skills.  Your brain is reading notes on a page, while your fingers are contemplating which keys to press, all while your lungs are taking a big breath to blow through your instrument to create a sound.  A music student’s job is to excercise those skills, remember what you’ve learned, and have fun in the process!

Helpful tips for your practice session:

  • Warm up carefully.  Warm your embouchure (lip & mouth position) and instrument for good tone production.
  • Select a time of day that is free from interruptions and use this time each day.
  • Choose a place to practice that is free from distractions
  • Set a goal for the session: a scale; an excercise; specific sections of a piece; or even a measure that is giving you trouble.  Work on it slowly, then build up to speed gradually.  Before leaving put it together with the rest of the line.
  • Repetition of a problem area reinforces muscle memory.
  • Use a metronome. (see below)

Practice Information Links

On-line links that can help you and your child achieve!

What’s a Metronome?

Want to make your practice more effective?  Practice with a metronome.  A metronome is a device that can be set to make a ticking sound at different rates of speed used to set the tempo for playing a musical piece.  For example, if you set the metronome to 60, you will hear 60 ticks(beats) every minute.  If you set the metronome to 120, you will hear 120 ticks(beats) in every minute.  So a setting of 120 is twice as fast as a setting of 60.  The higher the number the faster the tempo.

A metronome helps you keep a steady beat.  It’s like having the director next to you clapping the tempo.  When practicing a hard section, set the metronome slower to maintain a consistent tempo until the section is mastered, then slowly move the metronome up to the suggested tempo.

Metronomes can be purchased at any music retailer.  Or, a FREE online metronome is available for use.  Remember the practice sessions should be free of distractions, so no “instant messaging” while using the online metronome!

Concert Etiquette

A concert is a formal event, even if held in the school’s gymnasium.  A lot of preparation is involved by the teachers and students to make it enjoyable for the audience and performers.  Please see the documents below to help make each concert a memorable and rewarding experience for your child. There is even a fun quiz, provided by MENC,  to pass out at your next concert to help educate others.


  • “Mom, how do I play a G#?”  A Parents Guide for the Young Musicians Practice Experience (248.22 kB)
    Many parents want to help their child learn to play an instrument, but have never had any musical training themselves and do not know where to begin.  Marc Whitlock, band director for Discovery Middle School and formerly a band director with the award winning Plymouth Canton Educational Park, MI and Marian Catholic H.S., gives parents detailed guidelines for home practice to help their child succeed.
  • Nurturing Child Development (54.42 kB)
    Edmonton Journal article presents the praises of whole-child development through music and movement at an early age.
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    If there were a surefire way to improve your brain would you try it?  Recent research offers a possibility with much better, science-based support: that focused training in the arts strengthens the brain’s attention system, which in turn can improve cognition more generally.  Michael I. Posner, Ph.D., and Brenda Patoine, 2009
  • Insights Gained Into Arts and Smarts (41.28 kB)
    Findings released after three years of studies by neuroscientists and psychologists at seven universities help amplify scientists’ understanding of how training in the arts might contribute to improving the general thinking skills of children and adults. Debra Viadero, 2008
  • Dedham School of Music–An age-by-age guide to-music-education (56.02 kB)
    The benefits of playing a musical instrument are proven.  This guide gives you ideas to engage your child in music from birth through children already playing an instrument. Gabrielle Sanna, 2011


  • Guide to Safe-Listening Earphones (1.41 MB)
    Noise is everywhere.  How much is too much?  This guide will help parents choose safe-listening earphones for children.  The first step in preventing hearing damage is understanding the risks of various types of earphones, including stock earbuds that come with portable players.  Presented by Etymotic Research, Inc.