With so many other things competing for our time, there are some simple and effective ways to make sure your children stay involved in musical training. We have already discussed the many important reasons why kids need to study music. However, it can be a challenge to maintain that interest. Most children are already curious about playing an instrument, but, as with many activities, that interest can start to wane soon. Here are some easy, but effective ways to keep them involved in their musical education.
First, you need to find a quality teacher. This is pretty simple really. Ask your friends if their children take lessons from anyone and find out how to contact this person. If you need additional help, contacting the music department of a local college or university is a good way to find a teacher. If the professors do not already teach privately, they can usually point you in the right direction.
Although most experts agree that piano is almost always a great first instrument, do not force your child into taking piano lessons. All instruments are based on the piano. Therefore, having a good understanding of the instrument will provide a firm foundation in any other instrument they may choose to pursue later. If your child absolutely does not want to play piano, take him to a local music store to see and handle the different instruments. Then he can make a fairly educated decision in what he wants to play.
Since practice is essential to growth in any area, children need to practice regularly. You can gently encourage them to practice by making it a part of their schedule. Also, keep the practice sessions short, 15-20 minutes five days weekly for kids under ten. If they are older, 20-30 minutes five days a week will be sufficient. If you are truly fortunate, you will not have to nudge them too much. Many kids find that they enjoy music and will practice on their own initiative. Never hover over them when they are practicing, but instead point out what they are doing right. Tell them how good their playing sounds. The Dallas Symphony Orchestra has a great incentive program to encourage practicing. Ask your child’s teacher to enroll your student in the program to earn free tickets to symphony concerts. The Dallas Opera, the Dallas Symphony, and the Fine Arts Chamber Players all have educational programs targeted at elementary and middle schools. Talk to your child’s music teacher at school about these opportunities. Let it be known that you would love to see these programs come to your child’s school. Be willing to help if the music teacher needs volunteers to make these happen.
Another highly effective technique is to take them to concerts. There are many free performances in the area. Prepare your child of what to expect, but sit near the exit doors. Plan on staying for the whole performance, but do not try to make them stay if they are having trouble sitting still and quiet. Remember, a child’s attention span is typically one minute per age. If you must leave early, never leave while the performer is playing; wait until the end of the individual work, then make a bee line for the door. It is considered rude and disruptive to leave during the music.
With just a few easy methods, you can ensure your child’s interest in music will remain strong. Music requires dedication from your child and the parents, but the benefits that your family will reap will be worth the effort that you put into your kids.