When I was young, I loved watching my dad play drums. My uncle would sometimes come over to jam, and I would join them with my cheap electric guitar, struggling to keep up with the beat, not quite sure what note would come next.
I didn’t get serious about music until I got to highschool, but I always wondered how much better I’d be if I’d kept at it from a young age. And I’m not alone - not learning to play an instrument is a common regret.
If your child has shown an interest in music, now is a great time to encourage them to start playing an instrument.
Even if you or your family aren’t musical, there are plenty of reasons to encourage your child to start playing. For starters:
-They’ll gain confidence.
Learning an instrument can give your child a newfound sense of confidence. Every time they learn a new chord, play a piece they were struggling with, or write a song, they’ll realize that improvement is possible if they keep at it. The more they play, the better they’ll feel!
-They’ll learn creativity.
Playing music is a highly creative process that encourages new ways of thinking. After all, notes can be combined in infinite ways to form unique songs. Eventually, they may even decide to write on their own.
-They’ll develop discipline.
Music isn’t always fun - it takes hard to work. Even if your child takes lessons, most of their growth will come from practicing on their own. As they get better, they’ll learn the value of discipline and perseverance.
You can see the benefits, so how do you get your child involved? There’s a lot to consider, including which instrument to play, difficulty level, and price. Even if you have a musical background, it can still be difficult to figure out. Here are a few steps you can take:
-Let them decide.
Your child should pick their instrument, preferably from a genre of music they’re interested in. See if there are any music stores in your area, or maybe a local school, and let them see what they like. Also, don’t forget that they already have an instrument - their voice. You may want to encourage them to sing before deciding on another instrument.
A musical instrument is a big investment, especially if, let’s face it, there’s a possibility your child will quit. Luckily, you have a few options before you shell out for something new.
To start, check with friends and family to see if they have any unused instruments (my first guitar was given to me by my cousin, and my dad gave one of his old drumsets to another cousin).
If that doesn’t work, check your local thrift store, garage sales, or Craigslist. You can even check your local church. Your local school may also provide instruments for free.
Used instruments are pretty common, so you’ll probably be able to find something in your price range. You don’t need the fanciest instrument - something simple should be fine for now.
-Find an affordable instructor.
Lessons can be expensive, but there are a few ways you can save. Instead of going to a professional, full-time instructor, try finding someone younger without as much experience, as they’ll be much more affordable. Your local music store will likely have a bulletin board where people put up ads for lessons. If your local community college has a music program, you may be able to find a student willing to teach your child for cheap, as they may earn college credit. You may also have luck, once again, on Craigslist.
If you don’t play, you could also consider taking joint lessons with your child. This is a great way to bond with them while expanding both of your horizons.
Above all, make sure your child is enjoying themselves. Music can be frustrating at times, but it’s also fun! If it isn’t working out, try not to force them. It took me several attempts and false starts before I stuck with it. And worst case, you’ll probably be able to sell their instrument if they aren’t using it anymore.
Does your child play an instrument? Tell us about them in the comments below!
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