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Learning a musical instrument could give your child a powerful head start in life. Guest author Dolly Garland presents wonderful ideas for encouraging children to learn and enjoy playing a musical instrument.
Music has been linked to mental growth, including developing the language processing abilities of the brain. Through music study, children learn the value of hard work and the achievements it leads to. It is a common belief that listening to classical music while studying improves knowledge retention. But learning to play an instrument, improves memory, dexterity, discipline, and let’s face it – makes you look cool.
However, those benefits come from years of dedicated effort, and telling your child to do it “because it’s good for you” is probably not going to work. As a parent, your job isn’t to force them to be interested in music. Your job is to show your child a way they can enjoy the learning, so that the effort required will come from them.
Pick an instrument of their choice.
Just because you always wanted to learn to play the piano, does not mean you should force that dream onto your child. Let them pick their own instrument. Give them an opportunity to try different things. You need to stress the point that this would be their instrument. They would be looking after it. They would need to practice with it every day. Get them to take ownership of it.
Give them some room to change their mind too. They may start off on a piano and end up mastering a guitar. That’s why it’s useful to get them into a music school, or somewhere where they can try out all different instruments, and discover their own preferences.
Teaching them how to stick with it and practice.
Even if your child showed brilliant potential at a young age, they might start to lose interest as they get older. As they are growing up, their lives expand. They met get more interested in sports; demands of homework may become harder. There may also be peer pressure to pursue particular activities.
Listen to your child.
If your child wants to quit, ask why. Be specific. Focus on their problems, and see if you can find a solution. If they really want to join a soccer team, how can you get them to go to both soccer practice and music lessons?
Use their motivation.
What motivates your child? Are they really competitive? Then, perhaps an idea of entering a musical contest would motivate them. Take them to see established artists. Take them to shows, where they can see the real live performance. If you are able to, get an established musician to have a chat with them.
Get them mentally prepared before you get them into lessons.
Don’t just force them into lessons. Prepare them mentally first. Usually, this should be months or even years in advance. Pay attention to their interests. What do they enjoy the most?
Read music with them. Use different mediums, of both visual and auditory music. Give them as much exposure to various types of music as possible.
Get them to join the right lessons.
Some kids (and adults) thrive in group settlings, whereas others would benefit more from one-on-one lessons. Think about your child’s personality. Don’t just force them into group lessons because you think they need to interact more with other children. If their confidence is already low, it may do more harm than good. Give them the right opportunity to learn the skill in a way that nurtures their talent, and complements their personality.
Make it fun.
Practice together, or have competitions in the house. Stage family performances. Make it a laugh and make sure your child enjoys it.
Music could be a super fun activity, with noise and movement – both of which children naturally gravitate towards.
Motivating children to be and stay interested in music is not an easy job, but as a parent, it could be one of the most beneficial things you could do for your child. The practical steps mentioned in this post are a good starting point for a child of any age.
Is your child interested in music? What steps have you taken to deepen their interest?
Guest author Dolly Garland is an engaging writer with a keen interest in education. Her specialty is continuous learning for all ages. She recommends Carrot Rewards.
Featured image license: Creative Commons. Image source.