Some parents want their kids to learn musical instruments. If you’re one of those parents, this guide can help you musically motivate your kids so they continue to practice and learn over the years.
The benefits of learning an instrument
There’s a reason so many moms and dads enroll their children in music lessons. There are several potential benefits of learning instruments, including:
- Lower stress levels
- Enhanced patience and capacity for perseverance
- Greater musical appreciation
- Higher levels of creativity
- More active brains
- Stronger immune systems
- Better time management skills
- Improved memory
- More advanced emotional perception
In fact, it’s hard to think of a way that music doesn’t benefit your children. However, as most seasoned parents know, actually getting your child to play can be a challenge. You know it’s good for them, but you can’t force them. If you do, you’ll wind up going backward, and they’ll resent playing music in the first place.
The trick here is to find subtle ways to keep up their motivation. You don’t want to confront them or tell them what to do; that’ll backfire in the long run. Instead, you just want to create conditions where your kids feel more motivated to learn a musical instrument than otherwise.
Here are some of the things that you might want to try:
To motivate kids, show them why people make music
Music is a powerful force, but sometimes kids don’t see it. As parents, it’s your job to disavow them of their ignorance.
For instance, take them to a concert and show them the sort of incredible music that professionals can play live. Explain to them how this music makes people feel and why it is so important.
If you’re musical yourself, you can share your own passion with them. Listen to music that you love, or play something that appeals to you.
Make it clear that music is about more than doing arpeggios and practicing skills. Ultimately, it’s about moving people emotionally.
Allow your child to explore music freely
When it comes to music, there are no rules. Children don’t have to play a specific type of music to enjoy it.
For this reason, allow them to explore different genres and instruments freely. Avoid, where possible, getting in their way. Don’t try to shoehorn them into taking a particular course. If you try this, it’ll backfire.
Kids will naturally gravitate toward the style of music that they love. Therefore, as a parent, you don’t actually have to do much.
Just find out what they’re interested in and roll with it. Don’t worry: their tastes will soon change and evolve, just like everyone else’s.
Pay for private music lessons
During the holidays and summer months, kids’ music practice can sometimes go off track. Once the school term ends, children don’t have the same structure, and music practice can take a backseat.
Parents, therefore, might want to counteract this by paying for private lessons. While it’s expensive, it can be a lot of fun for children, and it can help them make progress faster. One-on-one sessions are generally more productive than just taking part in a school band.
Choose the right instrument
The type of instrument that you choose for your child can have a dramatic impact on their willingness to learn. And it goes beyond personal preference.
For instance, if your child is part of a band, then they may want to play the guitar more than the flute. Or, they might gravitate toward the piano.
You also want to make sure that the instrument fits your child. For instance, violins come in a range of sizes designed for children of different ages. They won’t be able to use a full-size violin until they reach their teenage years.
Every few months or so, you’ll want to reevaluate whether the instrument fits. Take your child to a music shop and ask them to do sizing for you. You may find that your child is too big for their instrument and needs a new one.
You might also want to consider getting them accessories, such as an amplifier, mixing deck, or looping pedal. These can make music practice more fun and open the door to creativity.
Getting musically motivated: Look online
Another tactic is to find music artists and instrumentalists online and then use these as inspiration for your child. These days, there are more places than ever you can go to find great music.
Platforms like YouTube, SoundCloud, and Spotify are all viable options. What’s more, they’re mostly free, which is a nice perk.
Pick a great tutor
Most kids require outside inspiration to encourage them to continue to play musical instruments. Without it, they struggle to find the energy to practice every day, and they may lose interest.
A solution to this challenge is to find a great tutor. That is, someone your child can really look up to.
Top instructors stand out from the pack. They’re passionate about music themselves, and they want the kids they tutor to succeed. The goal is to make sure that your child is having fun and that music practice doesn’t turn into a chore to please the parents.
Motivate kids by being musical yourself
Children often unconsciously copy what their parents do in their lives. It’s an adaptation that allows them to navigate the world with less friction.
Therefore, if you start playing a musical instrument, the chances are that your kids will follow suit. It’s often a case of “monkey see, monkey do.”
You don’t have to be a master to play a musical instrument in front of your child, by the way. Even a basic level of attainment can be sufficient encouragement for them. Remember, as young children, they won’t be able to tell how good you are, and nor will it matter.
Start when your child is ready
Many parents believe that they need to get their child into music from a very early age – perhaps just three or four years old. However, kids are very different from one another in this regard. Some children are ready to start at four or five, but others might not be ready until age eight or nine.
Even if you leave it a while, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your child has missed their developmental window. Giving lessons too young can crush creativity and harm improvisation. So, do what’s best for the youngster, above all else.