Westchester Music School and Retailer, Mike Risko Music, Offers Creative Strategies to Help
Gen Z Kids Stay Sharp for Musical Success
The kids of Generation Z–also known as Post-Millennials, born from the late-1990s to the early 2000s, have reached the age for music lessons, and they bring a whole new set of challenges to teachers and parents. That’s because Gen Z is different from any generation before them. These are kids who’ve never known a world without smartphones and social media, and instead prefer to communicate through technology, using a few words, a single picture, an emoji or a snap.
Music, however, is not something that can be mastered quickly. It takes patience and focus. So, how do you get a generation of children known for the shortness of their attention spans to cope with the difficulties of mastering an instrument?
According to Mike Risko, owner of Mike Risko Music in Ossining, N.Y., it’s important for parents and kids to resist the tendency to cram music into busy schedules. There are no short cuts to learning music, Mike says, but the following tips can make the process easier:
Keep lessons short and focused
While some kids can handle an hour, a 30-minute lesson with a goal-oriented practice assignment will ensure that young students stay focused.
A controlled environment for lessons and practice is essential. “You’ll want to study at a school that has sound-proofed lesson rooms and a simple decor, so your child isn’t distracted,” Mike says. “At home, make sure your practice area is away from ringing phones, TV, etc. Since many Gen Z kids will progress better with shorter practice periods, distractions need to be minimized during those sessions.
Look for frequent opportunities to perform
Preparing for year-end recitals is fine, but more frequent performance showcases can help Gen Z students advance toward their musical goals by rewarding them with short-term successes. “At Mike Risko Music, we offer our students monthly showcases in addition to a year-end show,” Mike says. “The more opportunities for performance, the better, when it comes to boosting the confidence of young musicians.”
Parents need to be on board
Gen Z parents are sometimes too quick to register disappointment with their children’s progress. “If your children are studying instruments, it’s important to keep in mind that they’re likely to encounter difficulties from time to time,” Mike says. “Don’t let them become discouraged. The most important thing you can do is help them over the rough patches and keep them from quitting.”
Keep your eye on the prize
“Yes, Gen Z is very different than we are,” Mike says. “But, at the end of the day, and no matter what generation you belong to, nothing compares to performing a piece of music you’ve worked on, whether it took you a week or a month to learn it. When Gen Z children take the stage to play and hear the applause as they complete their pieces, like generations of children before them they’ll quickly grasp the value of playing an instrument.”
Mike and Miriam Risko are the owners of Mike Risko Music and the parents of two Gen Z kids.
Mike Risko Music, located at 144 Croton Avenue in Ossining New York, is Westchester County’s leading music store, school and performing arts center. Featuring exciting partnerships with world-renowned music equipment manufacturers, Mike Risko Music offers specialty brand-name instrument sales and rentals to musicians throughout the Hudson Valley. In addition, Mike Risko Music School is a unique and innovative performance-oriented music school offering classes, workshops, camps, and private lessons in all instruments and voice in a wide range of musical styles including classical, jazz and rock. Founded in 1995, Mike Risko Music is a four-time winner of Westchester Magazine’s Best of Westchester award, as well as Westchester Family’s Family Favorites and the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) – and continues to grow as a part of the Westchester community-at-large with several charitable programs aiming to give thousands of people the opportunity to play an instrument. For more information, call 914-762-8757 or visithttp://www.mikeriskomusicschool.com/.