It's a battle at times. You want your child to play an instrument, you think it will be good for them, you want them to experience it, you think it is a good idea. Problem is, Little Johnny or Jane do not think it is such a hot idea. They would rather be outside playing, gaming, sleeping, anything but practicing that instrument. So what do you do?
There are many schools of thought on this so I can only give you the thoughts of a retired guitar teacher who have taught them both, the kids that want to learn and the kids that have no desire to learn but are being made to sit there and try. It's an interesting problem.
There are children that with a little encouragement will get over their reluctance to learn and do half way decent. Perhaps it is the interaction with the teacher, the knowledge that the instrument is actually fun or they just give up the fight and play to satisfy mom and dad. I have found that these kids tend to do okay but never really excel.
There are kids who go down screaming and yelling. I have spent full lessons watching the child and their mom (usually) fight about why I was there in the first place. Not a very comfortable position and in one instance I left them their fighting.
There is a love, a desire to learn that is very important for the child to have in order to be successful. So perhaps the trick or the starting point is to help your child fall in love with music. This would include an early introduction to music and instruments. I firmly believe that access to music and instruments at a young age is very helpful.
I never once doubted that I would play an instrument. I was introduced to piano at a very young age by a mother who was an accomplished pianist. I learned to love the music by sitting next to her as she played. And when we both discovered that I had no aptitude at all for piano she did a very smart thing; she let me quit and asked me what other instrument I would like to try. And at nine years of age I was allowed to choose for myself what instrument I was going to learn. I picked guitar. The key word is "I".
I have never taught a child successfully that was forced to play. I do not believe it is productive or beneficial. I do think early exposure will allow the child to want to play or sing. I think that love of music will allow you and your child to decide what they might be interested in learning. And if they are interested in learning they have a heck of a better shot at being successful than being forced to look at the keys on a piano for an hour hating every minute of it.
I understand the need for parental guidance and I support it. However, there comes a point when the benefit of learning is considerably outweighed by the stress of the fight. If you can jointly agree to the best course of action to take when it comes to music or the arts, your child will probably get much more benefit and enjoyment from it since they took part in the decision.
Support your child's musical desire. If they want to learn tuba and you have no idea why, that's okay. If they want to play violin and they are horrible at it let them keep trying if it is giving them pleasure. If your child would rather dance or paint or sing, that's okay too they get the same benefits from all the arts as they do from learning an instrument. So find their passion, with their input, and then let them pursue it with your support. (and in some cases, some good earplugs)
The author is a former guitar teacher and life long musician. For more about music, guitar, learning music and other musings about music and its relationship to body, soul, mind and spirit go to http://www.AcousticPleasure.com
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