April 09, 2015
How to Get Your Child Excited to Play an Instrument
Mastering an instrument takes time, dedication, and discipline, and sometimes getting your child excited to play that instrument in the first place is no different. According to the Public Attitudes Towards Music study, 85 percent of those who don’t play an instrument say they wished they had learned to play. If you’re worried about your child becoming part of that statistic, there are a few tings you can do to get your child excited about playing an instrument. From constructing homemade instruments to taking your child to live performance, here are a few ways to get them excited. Have more ideas? Leave them in the comments!
Construct Homemade Instruments
If your child is very young, or just loves arts and crafts, constructing musical instruments in the comfort of your own home may be a good first step in getting them interested in learning an instrument. For example, if you make drums from old coffee cans and play them along to music on the radio, this could spark their interest in learning percussion. Maracas can be made by gluing two paper plates together and placing uncooked rice in between, and tambourines can be made by gluing small bells to a sturdy plastic plate. When it comes to constructing instruments, the sky’s the limit. Be creative, and most of all, be present and active. If your child associates music with “fun”, they may be more interested in learning an instrument later in life.
Lead By Example
If you play an instrument yourself, pull it out of the closet, dust it off, and start nonchalantly running through scales or songs while your child plays in the other room. Chances are, they’ll be so intrigued by the new sound in the home that they’ll come out of their room and start asking you a bunch of questions about what you’re playing and why. They may even want to hold or play the instrument themselves. If you used to play an instrument but no longer have it in your possession, look through old photos and videos for tangible evidence. Once the photographs are gathered, show your child and let them know how much you enjoyed your time as a musician. Many children strive to be like their parents, especially at certain ages, so just showing them that you know how to play an instrument may convince them to try and learn, too.
Show Your Admiration
When attending a live concert or coming across street performers in your city, take a moment to enjoy the music and don’t be shy. Share your admiration for music and musicians with your child, by saying things like “wow, knowing how to play an instrument seems so cool” or “I’ve always wanted to learn how to play the guitar.” By showing your child that you approve of the lifestyle, they’ll be more likely to make the decision to play an instrument on their own. Always be encouraging and surround your child with all types of music- listen to classical music on the way to school, Top 40 on the weekends, and jazz or blues while you’re performing household chores. That way, they’ll be able to find their favorite genre and can move forward from there.
Last, but not least, always be supportive of your child and their interests. It’s one thing to finally get your child signed up for music lessons, but don’t forget about everything that comes after. Make sure to attend all their performances and recitals, and take an active approach in their studies. Get to know their teacher by name, set up a practice schedule where you reward them for time spent practicing, and keep your communication open. If they don’t seem to be enjoying the instrument or are having difficulty with one aspect of it, ask them what’s going on and see if there’s something you can do to help. Anything you can do to encourage playing and practicing will help them improve their skills. In turn, they’ll be more and more excited to learn.
For more tips especially for parents, check out How to Motivate Your Child to Practice, Why Your Child Should Learn to Play an Instrument, and How to Choose a Music Teacher.