Children learning to play an instrument need all the help they can get. While there are numerous benefits to learning an instrument such as a guitar, there are challenges too. Children can feel pressured into practicing, become frustrated over what they think is lack of progress, become demotivated or be too exhausted after school to even pick up their instrument.
Parents play a crucial role in influencing how their child learns and the quality of the learning experience. This is why it’s important to encourage children to keep going and make learning the child’s choice. Nagging or pressuring a child to practice may have a negative effect on the child and could make them quit playing altogether.
It all seems like a delicate balance – how do you encourage a child to learn and practice their instrument without the activity feeling like a chore?
Appreciate and praise their hard work.
Children are more likely to look forward to practicing when they know you put value in their effort. Move away from the mindset that a child’s talent is what makes them good at what they do. Instead, recognize that it’s hard work that leads to mastery – practice makes better. Praise your child for the effort and commitment they put into learning, and you may see them playing even when the going gets tough.
Make music a part of life at home.
Another way to encourage children to learn to play an instrument is to make music a part of your home life. Being in a music-rich environment is beneficial for children and adults alike, and it helps in nurturing a deeper love for music. You can play your own instrument (or learn a new one), set up small family concerts, listen to music or watch concerts together, practice together – by making music a normal part of life at home, a love for music would always stay with your child, motivating them to keep learning.
Work out a practice schedule.
Help your child work out a practice schedule they can commit to. Consider factors such as school, homework, extracurricular activities and their ‘me’ time. If your child is too tired at the end of the school day to absorb anything related to their music lessons, ask if they would be willing to practice in the morning before they go to school. By letting your child make the choice and identify the time of day they would like to practice their instrument, you are empowering them and helping them develop an internal motivation to learn.
Listen to their needs.
Last but not the least, listen to your child when they talk about their music lessons. Pay attention to how they might be feeling toward a particular piece, their teacher or even their instrument. Perhaps they’d like to try a different piece, something that resonates with them, something that really makes them interested in the music. Perhaps their teacher makes them dread going to lessons. Perhaps they would like to play a different, but similar instrument.
Be open to what your child says and talk through any issues that may come up. Try to understand where these issues are coming from so you can address them. Let your child feel that you’re always there to listen and support them every step of the way.
We hope you find these tips useful when motivating your child to learn, practice and become better at playing their instrument. What other helpful advice would you like to share? Let us know!
Post Guest Written by: Rebecca Marlow – knowyourinstrument.com