Help Your Child Love Music Lessons 4 Ways You Can Influence Your Child's Success in Lessons
When families start music lessons, parents often feel stress in trying to determine if their child will have an enjoyable experience. This can often put a cloud of uncertainty around the first few months (or longer) of lessons – potentially undermining the efforts of the students and teachers.
After working with several families and students over the years, I’ve found there is one common thread between the students who really love their lessons and progress into passionate music makers. It’s not always going to be rainbows and flowers, but students who sense the “big picture” always survive the low points and maintain the peaks.
The common thread is that there is a musical culture in their home from a very early age. Even children with non-musician parents excel when this “musical culture” exists in the home.
So what does this “musical culture” entail? Here are a few elements I’ve picked up on over the years…
- Music is Alive – If a music student’s first in-depth exposure to music is off the pages of their first lesson book they are already fighting an uphill battle. This is a lifeless way to get your first taste. Kids should be developing their favorite artists from a very young age – even if it’s pop music. They should know the stories, be able to sing along, be able to dance to THEIR music.
- Exposure – I don’t know an exact number of minutes or hours, but I feel that what we perceive as “talent” is directly related to exposure. I don’t even know if I believe in the word talent, but students I have taught and musicians I have played with over the years who would be considered very talented were surrounded by music their entire lives. It seems my “talented” students have listened to music for several hours daily from a very young age. Music lessons were merely an extension of their established musical experience.
- Active Participation – We all love story lines. Kids love to be engaged in the life stories of artists, composers, performers and producers. When a child loves something they hear, help them find some more information about the process that went into creating it, the people who created it or the motivation behind the art.
- Heroes – We all need heroes. Kids should have musical heroes that inspire them to reach beyond their lesson experiences, their peers and their family musical history. They should be put in contact with these heroes at live concerts/performances, concert videos, music videos, articles, blogs, social media, etc.
As parents and teachers, the last thing we need to do is influence or sway a child in their tastes. It is their experience and their art. Embrace and love the process of them finding their own inspirations. We just need the provide the culture and expose them to as much music as possible.
Music lessons cannot be their lone, isolated musical experience of the week – even at a very young age. Once music is part of their lives, it’s really just a matter of finding the right lessons to match their inspirations and developing practice routines.
What external (outside of lessons) inspirations have helped your kids or students develop musicianship or “talent”?