Getting kids to learn musical instruments can be a daunting task due to the immense amounts of discipline and time they require to master. There will be hours of practicing that will go into this endeavor, which is far too much effort for a kid more interested in the apps on their tablet or playing outdoors with their friends.
However, there are benefits to children learning a musical instrument. Brown University has research that shows kids who play instruments have higher IQs and do better on standardized tests than those who can’t. An interesting statistic also shows that eighty-five percent of people who don’t play an instrument wish they had learned, with many of them remembering how they gave up in the beginning stages of their lessons due to frustration at learning the basics.
Learning an instrument can be rewarding, it just requires enthusiasm from the child and supportive parents who can help make the learning experience more engaging. Motivation and fun are the key concepts in helping your child stick with learning an instrument.
Here are a few tips:
Choose the right instrument.
Children have amazingly unique personalities, so choosing an instrument should be done with them. If you choose an instrument for them without their input, chances are they will be more likely to get frustrated and quit, versus an instrument they chose for themselves. Testing out a variety of instruments, starting with a few more basic examples instead of complicated ones, is a great way to see what your child is drawn to.
Be active in your support.
Leaving your child alone to practice with no support or interest from you will make them wonder why they are bothering with such a grueling task. Keep them engaged with the instrument by asking them what they are working on, or ask them questions about the piece they are playing. Asking them what their favorite parts are is a great way to nurture their interest.
Be their #1 fan.
Go to your child’s recitals and performances, even the impromptu ones in the living room. Seeing your attention creates a sense of reward and accomplishment for your child, further strengthening their attachment to the instrument and encouraging more practice.
Hire a professional.
Choosing the right teacher is vital in helping your child appreciate and love their instrument. Their music teacher should be inspiring and encouraging, managing to keep your child’s interest in the music while still teaching proper technique. Don’t pick boring and outdated songs they have never heard before. Choosing music that your child has never heard or is uninterested in, is a one-way ticket to quitting. Pick songs that your child enjoys listening to, and watch as they strive to perfect playing it, simply because they love it so much. Classics are definitely important, but when trying to hold your child’s interest in the instrument it is important to help create that bridge between mastering their instrument and their taste in music.
The investment of time and effort you put into your child learning an instrument will pay off exponentially for them. Actively engage in their instrument mastery, and help them stay motivated. Regardless of how frustrating an instrument or song can get, don’t let your child give up, eventually leading to their regret later in life. Encourage your children and support them as best as you can. They will appreciate it.