No matter what instrument your child begins playing, whether it be the Piano, Guitar or Trumpet, becoming a proficient musician will take a lot of work. We often compare learning to read and play music to learning a new language. And, just like learning another language, there are times it’s going to be difficult. Learning to play any instrument will require the student’s commitment to practicing every day to refine their motor skills. Some of those days will be more satisfying than others. But in the end, it’s worth it. As parents, encourage your child to keep practicing their instrument.
Let’s discuss how to avoid the “I QUIT” conversation, here. By the end, you can help your child stay on track as they learn how to play a musical instrument.
The Benefits of Learning an Instrument
There are many benefits to your child as a result of learning how to play an instrument. For one, there are a few mental health-related benefits to playing music. Children who learn to play an instrument tend to have less anxiety, stress, and depression.
Additionally, music-learners will have greater self-esteem. Moreover, children who play instruments have shown to be more focused, have a better memory, and be calmer than their “non-musical” counterparts. Of course, all those positives will come with a few challenges: The first one being the fact that your child might want to give up when things get hard.
Because you have more life experience than your child does, it’s easy to understand that learning a new instrument comes with easy-days and challenging-days. However, for children, it’s more difficult for them to grasp that you have to keep at something to see results. So, when your child starts learning a new instrument, you might be met with some pushback. After a frustrating week or being tempted by an easier activity, your child might say they want to quit. You should expect this challenge to arise, and here are a few common problems that prompt children to quit and solutions to help your child navigate these four challenges:
#1 Children Need to learn how to Practice
Learning to play an instrument is very different from most learning that takes place in school. For a beginner musician, the physical act of playing an instrument is where the frustration comes from, not from a lack of understanding material. The beginner’s practice must be focused on paying attention to their physical movements above all else. Only once the physical starts to be ingrained in the hands (or mouth) does the practice become more academic in its nature. You wouldn’t expect to perform an olympic gymnastics routine without being able to do a simple forward roll!
Many beginner students don’t focus enough on the physical side of playing an instrument and instead expect to advance by simply studying the material as they would in most school situations. This leads to frustration and slow progress. Remind your child that practicing their instrument has more in common with practicing a sport than it does studying for a written exam.
An experienced instructor should strive to build a strong physical foundation for new students to build upon as they advance in their musical understanding. Southbury Music has experienced, dedicated instructors who can help you or your child achieve your musical goals.
#2 Kids Stop Playing Over Weekends or in the Summer
Just because there’s a break from school doesn’t mean kids should take a break from playing their instrument. Even during the summertime and on weekends, encourage your child to play their instrument. Designate consistent times during the week for practice sessions. You could even schedule some private lessons during breaks from school with us.
#3 Self Confidence Gets in the Way
There’s a common misconception that kids should be innately talented, and if they’re not, they can’t succeed. Sometimes, kids internalize this and, as a result, lack the confidence they need to succeed if they don’t have great results immediately. If your child is “spending too much time in their own head”, practicing negative self-talk, or having an otherwise hard time getting the confidence to play music, you can intervene. Affirm your child. Help them understand that they are doing the best they can, and their best is always enough!
#4 The Instrument Isn’t Right for Your Child
Whether your child has outgrown their instrument or it’s faulty, there are a few reasons why the instrument your child is using wouldn’t be right for them. An improper instrument or one in need of repair can cause great frustration. It can be discouraging when the instrument is the reason your child is struggling, so if this is the case, it’s best to get them a new instrument as soon as possible. Instrument rental is an excellent option to purchasing a new instrument. Our team at Southbury Music can help you find the right instrument for your child. When it comes down to it, encouraging your child to keep playing music has long-term benefits. So, for more information, contact us and schedule an appointment with our music instructors.