Playing an instrument is a great way for a child to express himself and discover the joy of music. However, enrolling your child in a music class too early could have a negative effect on your child’s love for music.
Before you decide to commit to a class, take a good look at these factors that might determine your child’s readiness to pick up a musical instrument.
Fine motor skills
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A certain level of fine motor coordination is required to play a musical instrument. If your child can hold and use pencils confidently, and move each of their fingers independently, they might be ready to start playing an instrument.
Instruments that come in smaller sizes, like violins or guitars, may be better suited for tiny hands.
Picking up an instrument is not an easy task at any age, so children need to be able to concentrate for an extended period of time without getting bored or restless. Is your child able to sit still for about 30 minutes, and attempt tasks given to him by his music teacher? Your child will also need to have enough patience and maturity to keep practising until he gets the techniques right.
Desire to learn
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If your child has already expressed a desire for a certain instrument, there’s a higher chance that he will pay more attention during his classes and absorb more. If you want to inculcate a love for music in your child, try to expose him to different genres of music from a young age and let him decide which he likes best.
Once he knows what genre he likes, it’ll be easier for him to pick an instrument that he can envision himself playing.
Level of encouragement at home
Are you willing to constantly encourage your child to remain steadfast in learning his instrument? Children tend to get bored easily and they may quickly tire of their new hobby after the initial excitement dies down.
Instead of forcing your child to continue classes, you will need to inspire him to persevere and organise a schedule for him so that he can fit in time for music practice among his other activities.
What if my child really wants to quit?
It’s always difficult to invest your time and money into something that doesn’t work out. However, it’s important to take your child’s feelings into consideration, so hear him out if he wants to talk to you about quitting.
Ask him why he wants to quit classes; it could be that he finds it too difficult, doesn’t like the learning environment, or simply does not have a passion for music.
If he says that he doesn’t like the learning environment, try to sit in on one of his classes and assess the situation. Does your child appear unhappy and unmotivated in his class?
If he is currently attending one-on-one lessons, transferring him to a group class may help him get more excited about the instrument, because he gets to learn and interact with peers around his age.
If he is currently attending group lessons and seems distracted and unmotivated, enrolling him in a one-on-one class may be the solution. Of course, there’s always the scenario in which your child simply does not want to attend classes because he finds them stressful and uninteresting.
In this case, he may be feeling overwhelmed, so take a hard look at his other extracurricular activities. Does your child have enough free time to play and simply be a kid? Remember that it’s okay to admit that your child isn’t ready for music lessons because he can always try again when he is older or find another creative hobby that he prefers.