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Encouraging Your Teen's Musical Talents

Brought to you by MENC: The National Association for Music Education.

Is your teen a music buff? Encourage his interests and talents with the following tips.

1. Expose your teen to all kinds of music.
Try listening to music that's outside your usual range: classical (opera, symphonic, chamber music), pop, country, folk, ethnic music of other cultures, jazz -- you name it!

2. Seek out live music.
Ask your son or daughter to attend a concert with you -- let her choose the event. Also consider visiting local clubs and churches noted for gospel, baroque, or contemporary music.

3. Participate, participate, participate!
Encourage your child to be in the school chorus or band. Have her invite friends over to play together. She can also share her talents in the community through your church, in talent shows and youth orchestras, or by volunteering to play at nursing homes.

4. Have your child play D.J.
Your teen can prepare tapes for you to listen to in the car or on a walk. Have him include some favorite music that he's currently listening to, or maybe a piece that he's performed on his instrument.

5. Help your child reach out to younger musicians.
This is a great opportunity for your child to try his hand at teaching. Summer music programs such as band camps, community center classes, and vacation church schools often need helpers.

6. Visit a museum.
Investigate any museums in your area that have collections of musical instruments -- ancient, medieval, baroque, and modern. Invite your teen to spend a leisurely afternoon with you or friends at the museum.

7. Check in on your child's music teacher.
Make sure that your teen's comfortable with her teacher. There needs to be a good personality fit between the two in order for the teacher to understand and motivate your child.

8. Ask your teen's opinion.
Encourage your teen to read reviews of concerts and newly released CDs in the newspaper or magazines. Help her think about what musical elements the reviewer focuses on and the criteria the reviewer uses to judge the performance or recording. If she attended the concert or has listened to the CD, ask her if she agrees with the review.

9. Work with your school.
Make certain that your child's school has a program that meets your teen's need to develop skills and knowledge in music. Students get more excited when they experience the full range of what's possible in their studies.

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