As a parent, we like to see our children as the brightest, fastest, most-inclined, and overall best at everything they do. The thing to remember about those kids who actually succeed is that they didn’t get there without some hard work.
This includes learning to play music as a hobby, a subject, or eventually a profession. So, how do you entice your child to practice music?
We’re going to take a look at how other parents have been successful in motivating their child to play an instrument. After all, learning and playing music has been shown to benefit the brain in numerous ways!
Keep reading to find out more!
1. When to Practice
Chances are, you have a routine for your child that looks a bit like homework and snack, playtime, bathtime, teeth brushing, and finally bed. Instead of demanding that they practice their instrument at a certain time of day for a certain length of time, let them figure out how much and how often they should practice.
Basically, you can let your child figure out when to practice and then as the parent, you reinforce this decision. Doing this allows music to feel less like an obligation and more like a hobby.
2. Choosing the Music
If your child has joined the school band, there is a high chance that the band director has a particular music book that they prefer. Of course, they will need to learn the music the teacher wants them to, but that doesn’t mean they can’t learn other songs.
Should your child be practicing an instrument outside of a school band, music choice is that much more important! Learn more about mastering the classics will allow for a solid foundation of songs that are ‘more fun’ to play.
3. Drums, Guitar, Piano, or Other?
Many parents have an idea of what instrument their child should master, and many children have a very different idea. Talk to your child about what instrument interests them and why.
Some parents don’t like the idea of their daughter playing the trombone or their little boy playing a ‘girly’ instrument like the flute. Luckily, instruments do not have a gender and can be played by anyone!
No matter what instrument your child decides to play, the key is to be supportive in their decision!
4. Performances as Accountability
If your child is in the school band, there is a high chance of at least one performance during the year. Unfortunately, if your child is learning the instrument on their own, they may not get the chance to perform in front of a big audience.
This is where you come in. Plan a concert or a performance during a backyard get-together or after dinner one night. Allowing your child to show what they’ve learned can be a huge source of pride and strong encouragement to keep going.
No matter what the performance is, most children will not want the embarrassment of a flubbed recital and therefore will practice a bit more.
5. Set Goals and Create Challenges
In order to help your child set goals for their musical career, you may have to learn a thing or two about music as well. Don’t worry – it is only basic terminology!
This could include something as simple as asking your child to learn the B-flat scale, or learning to finger certain measures.
By breaking music material and songs into smaller, more achievable goals, your child will feel a sense of mastery and accomplishment. This can sometimes be the boost they need to keep practicing music.
6. Teacher, Not Drill Sergeant
When your child is learning an instrument through private lessons, you may have to try a few different teachers to find one that works with them.
Every teacher uses a different method. Some incorporate games while others focus on repetitive scales. Some teachers show aggravation when a child isn’t grasping a concept and others embrace the difficulty as a challenge to work through.
What we’re saying here is don’t buy into what the ‘best’ method is. Pay someone that wants your child to learn and grow, and that your child enjoys seeing. This could even be your elderly next door neighbor!
7. Score a Date
Take your child on a music date one night. Take them to performances of the local orchestra or symphony, or even a showcase of your college’s drumline.
The point is to have some fun with your child and show them what potentially lies ahead in their musical career. Additionally, you may see some stress-relieving benefits from the outing as well!
8. Rewards Aren’t Necessary
When you begin telling your child that they can play with their tablet after practice, they might begin to resent the time spent practicing. This enforces the idea that music isn’t fun and is only in the way of what they want to do.
Instead, teach them that music is a gift, and not one that everyone is fortunate or talented enough to receive. If you really feel that some type of prize is in order for their hard work, consider a new music book with some of their favorite songs or other music-related items.
9. Play Your Favorite Tunes
A favorite memory for many kids is as simple as listening to music with their parents. Take time to expose your child to all of your favorite music, whether it is the blues, metal, classical, or any other combination.
Allowing your children to hear different types of music at a young age will broaden their horizons, but more importantly, allow them to figure out what they do and don’t like.
10. Be Excited
This is simple: if you aren’t excited about your child learning an instrument, they won’t be either. Show them that you are supportive and ready to hear whatever they’ve learned to play.
Although you may need some headache medicine for all the noise and wrong notes for the first year, you will soon come to enjoy your child’s musical abilities.
Getting Your Child to Practice Music
As you can see, there isn’t an exact science to getting your child to practice music. The majority of it comes in the form of encouragement and the rest comes from allowing them the choice of what to practice and when.
If your little one is a bit too young for music lessons but you still want to give them the tools to grow, check out this blog on developmental toys!