As adults, many of us either have fond or negative memories of music lessons as a child. We may have had a music teacher who changed our lives—for better or for worse. However, the most-often comment from adults is that they “wish they’d stuck with it.”
As parents, we have some influence over our children’s extracurricular activities. However, when the child becomes disinterested—or worse—toward the activity, it can feel hopeless to try and convince them to persevere.
Tips for Helping Your Child Stick With Music Lessons
Whether your child has not yet begun music lessons and you are worried in advance (we don’t blame you) or your child is currently in music lessons and losing interest, these tips will help. Here are some of the best ways we’ve experienced to encourage your child to stick with music lessons:
1 – Let Your Child Choose the Instrument
Instead of trying to force interest, look at what your child is already interested in. If they have an instrument that already strikes their fancy, learning how to play that instrument will not only make them more receptive to music lessons but will also make them better able to learn and retain information.
2 – Give Your Child Say Over Lesson Timing
Giving your child control over his or her schedule may seem like a nightmare (but all the moving pieces!) but don’t write it off. One of the biggest challenges with extracurriculars for kids is that it cuts into their playtime. Giving them a choice for when that will be can help them feel like they have more autonomy over the situation. Consider offering your child a choice of 2-3 different lesson times and letting them choose which they think will work best for them.
3 – Take Your Child Shopping
The last thing your child wants is to have an instrument thrust into their hands while being told they’re going to learn how to play it. After you’ve let your child choose which type of instrument they’d like to play, give them an opportunity to choose something unique about that instrument. While it’s unlikely you will want to spring for the slick midnight-purple guitar with silver ghost flames, giving your child an opportunity to choose their own guitar strap, dress their guitar case up with stickers, rock some midnight-black drum sticks, or pick out their own personalized music bag can help them feel more a part of the choice to take music lessons.
4 – Choose a Teacher that Fits Your Child’s Learning Style
Your child’s teacher will have the biggest impact on whether your child enjoys music lessons or not. Learning an instrument is a long game—not an immediate-gratification one. One of the most important mindsets you should have is for your child to enjoylearning. Without this, your child will be resistant to learning and the likelihood of your child sticking with music lessons significantly decreases.
5 – Have a Routine for Daily Practicing
Just as we adults know that having a daily routine for when we go to the gym makes us better stick with it. It works the same with kids—maybe even more so. Most kids thrive off of having a schedule (whether they know it or not). Having a set time when they practice will be much easier than trying to pull them from a video game or friend’s house to practice.
Try to pick a time when the child will not be too tired or emotionally worn out to play and try to make a tangible “signal.” For instance, on weekdays try setting practice time for after your child’s after-school snack and before free-time. On weekends, consider practice time after lunch. Having this pre-practice signal lets your child know when they’re going to be asked to practice and reduces the likelihood of resistance.
6 – Make Room for Creativity
There is a lot about music lessons that is important to a child’s development—it helps strengthen cognition, logic, math, focus, as well as improving confidence and diligence. However, these benefits only last if your child truly accepts and enjoys music lessons—and the best way to do this is to allow them some creativity to enjoy what they’re learning. Work with their music teacher to ensure they have time to play songs they enjoy, make songs up, or put their own “spin” on things. It will make a difference!
7 – Try Group Lessons
If your child is having trouble sticking with their music lessons, try switching it up. Some children enjoy a group learning environment because it takes less individual pressure or performance pressure off of them. It also gives them an opportunity to socialize and be part of a group of other students their age, making the time away from play feel less like a “sentencing.” If your child is having trouble with group lessons, try signing them up for private lessons. It may be they’d rather have the one-on-one attention and a more personalized curriculum!
How Can We Help?
We believe that music lessons can be an amazing part of students’ lives when they stick with it! If you’d like tips for how to motivate your child during music lessons or if you’d like to learn more about how Yamaha Music School of Spanish Fork fosters a genuine passion for music, contact us today!