Are you considering music lessons for your child? Here are 9 important things every parent should consider before introducing music lessons to their child.
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While many parents see music lessons as a great way to introduce a new skill and activity for their children, they may be unaware of all the other positive side effects. Here are the things you need to consider before making that step and committing yourself and your child to the work, discipline and time commitment music lessons require.
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Why Are Music Lessons So Important?
This is the first thing a parent should consider before giving their child the opportunity of music training. The many benefits reach from developing cognitive skills to social conduct.
Studies have found a correlation between early childhood music lessons and gray matter expansion. Compared to amateurs and non-musicians, musically instructed children were found to have more gray matter in the auditory, motor, and visual-spatial areas of the brain.
Although he or she may not become Einstein, there is evidence that fluid intelligence (the ability to solve new problems, use logic in new situations, and identify patterns) can be improved through musical training as well.
Can Music Lessons Pay Off In Other Areas of Life?
There is no more creative and engaging way of teaching patience, discipline and hard work than through music. In order to enjoy the perks of standing ovations, travelling for concerts, playing gigs or having fans, a musician has to go through a rocky path of constant hard work, discipline and sometimes even sacrifice. Music lessons can teach your child much more than just music skills.
Furthermore, music develops children’s verbal and motor skills, it gives them confidence and energy to explore the world around them and share it with others. If a child is struggling with being too shy or adapting socially, learning to play an instrument or sing can be an effective way to help deal with social anxiety, stress or isolation.
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Is My Child Too Young For Music Lessons?
Technically there isn’t a specific age most appropriate for starting music lessons, and the perfect age will vary from child to child. The key is to find a music program that is appropriate for your child’s age and interests.
Two-year-olds are capable of recognising rhythmic patterns in music and can be taught to clap along with the beat of their favourite tunes. The younger a child is, the more efficiently and easily it will be for them to acquire music skills in the future. Therefore, if they show an interest in learning, that’s when you should sign them up.
Once your child is around three, it may be time for more formalised music lessons. The goal is not to learn to play an instrument, but to further develop skills like identifying a beat in music, identifying melody, or identifying instruments.
For more formal instruction in singing, five is usually a good age to start. By that age, children are usually able to sit still longer and focus better. Make sure, however, not to force your child into doing something they don’t enjoy. This could lead to them developing an aversion towards music in general and make negative associations to learning and taking lessons.
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What Is the Right Instrument For My Child?
Be sure to consider the age and physical limitations of your child. Don’t choose an instrument that is too heavy or too large for them to play properly. Violin and piano are great instruments to start out with, especially for children under six because they help to develop a proper foundation for other instruments.
In any case, the right thing to do is follow your child’s desires and inclinations. You can always ask a music teacher for professional advice, and don’t be afraid to change your mind. Sometimes trying out different things is best for finding the perfect fit.
Learning different playing skills will be beneficial for your child whatever instrument he or she eventually decides to turn to.
Are Music Lessons Very Time Consuming?
Like any other extracurricular activity, music lessons requires time and dedication. Understand that things may get overwhelming, especially since playing an instrument or learning to sing requires on-the-side work after class. Make sure your child can fit music lessons in without being too stressed or letting schoolwork suffer.
Similarly, parents like to think they are superheroes, but sometimes enough is enough. If you can’t commit to taking your kid to lessons regularly, they are likely to make very little headway.
Before finding a good music school or a tutor, check your schedule and determine if music lessons can be added.
Do We Have Space For a Musical Instrument?
In some cases, having your living space adapted for music playing is a must. The point is to figure out where the instrument is going to be played and stored before you bring it home. A piano, drum set, cello and other bulky instruments are more demanding than a flute or a violin.
If giving up a room for the sake of music playing is just too much, there are always ways to make things work – for example, electric instruments are usually smaller and more compact, so it can be at least a temporary solution for home practicing.
How Am I Going to Deal With the ‘Noise’?
Unfortunately, for a person to learn how to play an instrument or sing, music (sometimes very loud) needs to be produced. There are ways to avoid annoying the neighbours though!
You can set up a practice space with DIY soundproofing courtesy of thick rugs and heavy curtains, or start your child out on an instrument that can be played through headphones. Nowadays electric instruments are so enhanced and adapted that you won’t even feel like you have a budding musician in your home.
Can We Afford It?
Music lessons can be a great expense. On top of that, buying a musical instrument and the accompanying equipment is an investment on its own. Keep in mind that the gift of music is a valuable investment, and worth every penny for your child in the long run.
If you’re on a budget, consider renting an instrument from a music studio or purchasing
secondhand ones. Some schools might even have loaner instruments your child can use for a while. Books and sheet music can often be found online, too.
The cost of the lessons themselves is another consideration. Online lessons are often cheaper than in-person lessons, so be sure to look into that option. Perhaps your music school or tutor offer cheaper shared or group lessons, rather than 1-to-1.
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How Can I Be Supportive?
There is a simple answer to this question – just be there for your child. Like in other times in life, your child may struggle with practicing, patience and sticking to what they’ve started. Find time to talk to their music teacher and try to get to the bottom of it. Is it just a temporary situation, or there’s an ongoing problem? Feel free to talk to your child about how they see their music teacher, their instrument and even their progress.
Your job is to remind your child that it will all pay off eventually and that it’s worth all the time and effort.
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Do your children take part in music lessons? What advice would you offer other parents? Leave a comment below and let us know – we’d love to hear from you!