I’ve written about creating lists for your child as he or she progresses from the early stages of learning guitar into a practice routine at home. When my five year old son’s guitar time routine progressed from experimentation to active directed learning, I started keeping track of the activities, songs (or snippets of songs), and musical concepts we worked on. I’ve edited the lists little by little over the course of the last year and now have a list divided into four parts: new songs for learning, songs for review and refining, finger activities, and other. The list has gotten very long and complex, and, to come to the point of this entry, my son, Max, noticed this tonight in guitar time. We were sifting through his music sheets and a couple old lists appeared. He scrutinized them and proudly said something like, “Wow, I can play so many more songs now!”

Max was very proud. He was also enthusiastic about the suggestion of trying to build his current list with even more songs and activities. Learning a musical instrument well takes a lot of patience, hard work, and emotional energy. Having something concrete, like a series of lists to track progress, provides a confidence boost when you and your child are in it for the long haul.