Congratulations! You've taken a huge step by getting your child music lessons. Now it's time to buckle up and enjoy the ride. There will be twists and turns but the destination will be worth it! Let's learn how you can be a great support for your child as they learn.
There is a tremendous reward that comes from learning an instrument and childhood is the BEST time to start learning. But, at times it can be challenging for kids to stick with their practice routines, especially over the long term. But, as parents we can be there to support our kids, to help them through the tough times in order to reap the rewards that come with being able to make music on an instrument.
Here are some ways you can help and support your child as they learn an instrument.
1. Help your child be consistent with their practice. One of the most important things when learning an instrument is to practice consistently. This can be 15 minutes each day, 30 minutes three or four times a week. When beginning an instrument consistency is more important than the total time spent There will be times it’s not convenient to practice. There will be times kids don’t want to practice, but establishing this consistent practice routine is the key. Fifteen minutes each day, four days a week is better than 60 minutes one day a week. Shorter, regular practice sessions are better than longer sessions that are done inconsistently.
2. Encourage your children. Learning to play an instrument can be fun and exciting at first but can become more difficult as time passes. Learning new skills on their instrument will take time and focus. Encourage your kids, to keep them focused and to push through when things get challenging. The challenge is what makes it fun! When we, as musicians, accomplish something new after working on it, it is sooo exciting and worth every second of the effort we put in. Kids don’t always realize this, and they’ll need you to help them succeed. Some great and encouraging words for kids are:
a. I believe in you
b. Tell me about what you are learning
c. You must be so proud
d. I can see you are really trying
e. You’re getting the hang of it
3. Get your child a good instrument. Playing a quality instrument that is built well and sounds good can make practicing way more fun! You don’t need to buy a top of the line instrument, but it’s also best not to sacrifice too much on quality. We have some instrument recommendations on our Kids Instruments page that won’t break the bank. You can see those here. We know it’s tempting to buy an inexpensive instrument to make sure your child sticks with it before investing in something more expensive, but this can also be the reason kids don’t want to keep learning. Nice instruments are fun to play and will help encourage kids to come back and play.
4. Give your child a dedicated practice space. Practice requires concentration. Having a place where your kids can concentrate and dedicate their attention to learning and practicing is key to productive practice. Make sure the area is semi-private, not cluttered, bright and that your child isn’t interrupted by siblings, technology, loud sounds or otherwise while they are learning. Putting on headphones while practicing can be a helpful way to quiet the sounds around them while they practice.
5. Get them good lessons. There are many great ways to start learning an instrument! My Music Workshop’s lessons are built just for kids and are taught by teachers who have many years of experience teaching music to kids. The lessons are broken down into small parts so kids can work on one thing at a time. If your child works with any other teachers we suggest that you make sure they have spent time working with kids. It’s not always the musical skill that makes a good teacher, it’s the ability to communicate, encourage AND know what to teach. You can try My Music Workshop for FREE for 7-days by clicking HERE!
6. Listen to music with your kids. If your kids are learning an instrument they should also be listening to music. If you don’t already, it’s time to start incorporating more music into your families' life. If you can replace just one session of watching TV each week with spending time together listening music it will be a huge victory. The more you listen to the music your kids like, in the car, while kids clean their room (if you can ever get them to do this 😊), while hanging and whenever else you can think of it can be great for your kids, as they learn to play an instrument. Learning an instrument has a physical component, but it also has a listening component. To be a great musician you have to have a developed ear for music. The beginnings of developing their ear comes from just listening to music [a lot].
7. Get involved. Check in with your child, either as they are practicing or after their practice session is over. Some great things to ask your child are:
a. What did practice today?
b. Was it challenging for you?
c. Are you excited about being able to play what you were practicing?
d. Were you able to stay focused?
e. Was it fun?
f. How do you think you did?
8. Learn a few basics of their instrument. If you, as their parent (grandparent, guardian or friend), can learn a few of the fundamentals of the instrument (how to hold the drum sticks properly, how to place the hands on the piano, how to hold and strum the ukulele, for example), you can help your child remember to implement these good habits as they practice.
9. Show them other kids who play their instrument. YouTube is rabbit hole of people playing their instrument really well! There are tons of videos of kids playing the same instrument as your child. My son loves watching other kids play the instruments that he is learning. It makes him feel like he can accomplish what he is working on. It gets him excited to learn because he feels that when he learns something new he’ll be able to show it off to his friends and to us, his parents!
10. Remember that most people who play an instrument are NOT professionals. Being a musician does not mean being a professional musician. Playing an instrument is joyous in its own right, one does not have to take it on as a career. Whatever career path your child ultimately chooses, being able to play an instrument will be an enhancement to their life. Some kids may pursue music in college or as a career choice but they certainly do not have to in order to get the full benefits of being able to make music.
Having a child who is learning an instrument is no small feat! You should congratulate yourself for being there for your child as they begin their journey down their musical path. Remember that you play a part in their musical education and you'll make huge difference in the level of success and enjoyment they have.
If you're looking for a fun and affordable way for your kids to start learning to play an instrument try out our program, My Music Workshop. We offer 7-days of full access for free to make sure your family loves it!