Mastering a musical instrument takes time, dedication, discipline and concentration. So it’s no wonder getting a child interested in playing — and practicing — an instrument is no easy task.
This is especially true today, with seemingly unlimited distractions to take up attention spans. Learning a musical instrument is just not at the top of many children’s priority list of preferred activities. In order for a child to truly become interested in playing an instrument they need to be engaged, they need to be motivated and they need to have fun!
Not only is learning to play an instrument a rewarding experience, but research from Brown University shows that children who play an instrument perform better on standardized tests and have overall higher IQ scores than their nonmusical counterparts. This is because learning music stimulates brain function used to understand math, science and engineering.
So how do you get your child excited about learning music?
Choosing the right instrument is perhaps the most important way of getting children interested in playing music. If possible, have your child test out a few instruments before they choose a final one. While your child may think a certain instrument looks cool, a difficult instrument might intimidate them at first, so try something more basic when first starting out.
Be actively engaged in your child’s music lessons. Ask to hear what piece your child is working on, if they learned any new skills recently or if they know facts about the composer they are playing. Make sure they are staying committed to their practice time and reassure them that their hard work will pay off!
Enroll an expert
Choose a teacher that encourages and inspires your musician-in-training. A good music teacher will get kids even more interested in playing and practicing, as well as make sure that your child is receiving proper instruction needed to master their craft.
Select the right songs
Choose music that your child will enjoy playing. Yes, the classics are vital, but let’s face it — your child would rather play the latest chart-topping pop song. The more they relate to a piece of music the more likely they will be driven to perfect playing that piece. JoyTunes’ two piano apps, Piano Dust Buster and Piano Mania, both feature a wide variety of songs ranging from Beethoven to One Direction — and everything in between.
Be their biggest fan
Set aside special times for your child’s performances — even if it’s just for one song in the living room. Create a system of rewards to encourage your child. Anything to encourage more practicing will help your child improve his or her skills, which in turn will make them more excited to continue to learn.
Investing time and energy into your child’s music education takes effort and patience but is most certainly worthwhile. Sticking to their lessons, improving their skills and mastering an instrument will be something your children will thank you for in the future. Even during the frustrating times, don’t let your child give up. Imagine if Mozart’s parents let him throw in the towel, we may have lost one of the greatest talents the world has ever known!
Let us know — how do you encourage your child to practice their instrument?
About the author
Yuval Kaminka is the founder of JoyTunes, the developers of award-winning interactive apps that help children and adults alike discover and enhance their love of music.