We all know that learning a musical instrument brings numerous benefits, a well-rounded education, and a lifelong appreciation for music. But how can we help engender these feelings in our kids? We can’t make them want to take lessons, but we can show them how fun music study can be, thereby intrinsically motivating them to enjoy lessons and practicing.
Fun Practice is the BEST Practice
Make it a Game.
Who likes games more than kids? There are so many different ways that practicing can take on the shape of a game, like:
- Variation – Can you play these 8 measures quietly? Let’s see if you play this passage with your eyes closed! Can you play this part reeeeaaaallllllllyyyyyyy ssssslllllooooowwwwlllllyyyy?
- Note Reading Race – Who can identify notes the fastest? Keep track and time who wins!
- Music Flashcards – these are great for accuracy and you can even compete with your musician (or have siblings compete) to see who knows the most!
Discover New Music Together.
Opening up your child to the world of music (and it truly is a world) is a great way to learn what kind of music they like, show them new and different types of music, and develop an overall appreciation.
- Listen to the top 40 (the appropriate ones, anyway); discuss artistry and musicianship
- Introduce your child to music you like
- Take them to concerts, musicals, open mic nights, etc.
- Discover what songs they like from aspects of their daily life (TV, movies, video games, etc.)
- Explore new music together – maybe you both can learn something new!
People want to do things when they feel like they’re successful, or that they’re making someone happy. Here are some ways you can inspire your budding musician:
- Keep them company – being forced to sit and complete a difficult task often feels like punishment, but if they feel like they’re not alone, it might change the way they approach practice. Make it a team effort!
- Compliment and show approval when they play; let them know that it’s ok if they made a mistake.
- Never criticize their work; instead, suggest instead of command (i.e. Have you tried playing it *this* way? I bet your teacher would love that!
Positive interactions with music even at the most basic level can shift your musician’s attitude about practice. While you’re exploring new music and listening, try doing something new and exciting!
- Draw or color what the music sounds like to you, and compare your art to your child’s
- Make up a dance to the beat or rhythm of the song; this helps integrate musical concepts and inner hearing
- Write a story inspired by the song! What does the song say to you?
While many teachers measure practice levels by time (i.e. 30 required minutes of practice per day), another way to approach practice might be to measure practice by musical goals. Divide the assignments into seven equal parts and make sure your child understands each part. Then, they can decide which parts they want to learn; maybe they’ll learn two chunks in one day, giving them a practice-free day, or maybe they’ll need all seven days to get the pieces of the puzzle together. This eliminates the refusal to practice on Monday with the promise of doubled (and somehow always lessened) time on Tuesday. Obviously this takes a lot of parent involvement as you help your child plan, but again, the less alone they feel in their musical journey, the happier they’ll feel about the experience.
Start Your Fun Musical Experience with International School of Music
Ultimately, kids stay in music lessons not because they’re “useful” to later life, or because we want to put our wealth on display, but because they think it’s fun. Maybe they think their teacher is nice, funny, and encouraging. Maybe music provides them with an emotional outlet they might not get during school or home hours. By extending the fun time from the lessons to home, we increase our chances of inspiring life-long music appreciation, and hopefully, music making!
Begin your musical journey with us today! Our teachers know that a huge part of learning a new instrument is having fun with it, which is why we have been voted the #1 music school in Bethesda by Washington families. Our music programs range from Early Childhood Music to Children’s Music Lessons to Teen Music Lessons to Adult Music Lessons. Sign up for your introductory lesson today by contacting us here or by calling us at 301-365-5888.