If your child takes an interest in music, it is a wonderful feeling to be able to help them learn and undertake a course of musical development, which can only help enhance their future prospects.
However, helping a child learn an instrument can often provide the need to strike a crucial balance, it is important not to force an instrument on a child, we only want the best for our children, but this can often lead to a child resenting playing and does not create a sense of enjoyment from learning the instrument. Another factor, depending on the age of your child, is ensuring they pick the right instrument, often a child picks up an instrument that is perceived as cool and may not be right for them. Children under the age of six are typically better suited to learning the piano or violin, and then deciding whether they want to switch as their physical development progresses.
Pick the right instrument for your child's age?
As a parent it is important to understand the physical limitations behind a child playing an instrument, even Mozart had to wait until he was physically developed. It is important to remember that the instrument must suit your child’s stature, and wind instruments will likely be ill advised until their lung capacity has increased. Meanwhile, motor functions will not be fully developed, which can also make playing an instrument for a young child challenging.
Does your child enjoy the sound of the instrument?
Make sure your child likes the sound of the instrument, if they don’t like the sound they are creating, then no matter how skilled they become, they will lack the motivation to practice and may even grow to dislike music, which defeats the purpose of learning an instrument in the first place. Finding the perfect instrument for your child is the ultimate ambition, it is best to keep an open mind and anticipate any potential mishaps along the way.
Set up a disciplined training routine
Once you have decided upon an instrument, it is important to add a bit of discipline to the learning, be careful not to force learning upon your child, as again this can have a negative effect and lead to the child not enjoying their playing, which can only hinder musical development. Whilst at school ensure your child is signed up to music lessons or after school clubs if they are available, make sure this does not become a chore, or seen as homework, if your child truly wants to learn they will want to attend the classes.
Always try to hear your child play as much as possible
Listen to your child play as much as possible, ask about what they are playing, how are they playing it, what do they like about the music. Always try to make practice fun,and always stop when your child loses interest in the practice, you don’t want them to feel an element of burnout. A little bit of practice each day is better than one long session each week, try to create a routine.
Experiment with the sounds
Ask your child to be creative and conjure something from the skills they have learned, they may be nervous but it will prove extremely rewarding long term. Never expect too much in the early stages, all beginners can struggle to create nice sounds, kids need all the encouragement they can get, be careful when giving criticism and always enjoy what they are playing, if they keep with it they will soon start impressing you.
Most importantly, have fun!
Try to make practice seem like playtime, make it fun, get involved, if it feels like a fun time it won’t feel like a regimented exercise each time.
Helping your child develop a musical interest can be one of the most rewarding things to do as a parent. It isn’t easy, children will often lose interest and there will be times when arguments may occur, but if a child wants to learn they will always stick with the instrument long term, it is important to not make it overly forced. Learning an instrument with your child can help increase the bond between yourself and a child, the increased interaction can help create a stronger relationship between yourself and your kids as they develop into young adults.