It is very common for parents to send their children to extracurricular activities, and to sign them up for enrichment classes such as music lessons. But after a while they may find that their children are not willing to attend these activities and classes. Sometimes this results in tiring weekend mornings, trying to convince your child to go for the classes, or frustrating weekdays when you have to motivate him or her to practice or do the homework. Is this scenario familiar to you?
If you are a parent and you’re thinking of sending your child to music lessons, it is important to consider some factors before deciding. Read on for helpful tips to determine whether to start music lessons!
Suss out your child’s interest
Before sending your child to music lessons, check that he or she actually has some interest in it! Otherwise, it could end up being a waste of your time, money, and effort. There are some ways to see if your child has interest in music. Firstly, try asking them directly whether they would like to learn a music instrument. If they can give a solid answer ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, it’ll be good to respect their decision. If they said ‘No’, you can try again in a few years’ time while at the same time exposing him or her to more music in general to try and pique their interest.
If they did not answer you convincingly, find out if they have interest in other ways, such as showing them videos of young children playing music instruments like the piano and violin. Does you child enjoy listening to music, and do they try to hum along or imitate the sounds that they hear. Do they stop and look at instruments when they walk past them or even try to play on them? These are some signs that could mean that your child is rather interested in music. Since they did not answer convincingly but seem to have some interest, what you can do is to send him or her for trial lessons and then ask if they enjoy the lessons!
Your own commitment to support your child
It is definitely a commitment when you sign your child up for lessons, and you should ask yourself whether you are ready for it! It is not just commitment in terms of money and time spent fetching your child to lessons, but also commitment in motivating and guiding your child when he or she practices. This is especially so in the beginning period and also when your child is young, as they may require more guidance and push from parents to practice their instrument.
Therefore, it is also very important that you, as a parent, have a very clear idea of why you are sending your child for these additional music lessons. How committed and how strongly you believe in the reason will also likely determine how committed you will be in supporting your child in this journey of music-making!
Location and fees
This is a very common factor that parents consider and it is rightly so. Location is important because it affects the travelling time. Are you able to commit to sending your child to class every week, and also taking on the burden of the lesson fees for at least a few years? Though it may seem like a small issue now, but it does add up to quite substantial amount of time, effort and money. So be sure that you can commit to these before sending your child to lessons, lest you disappoint your child if he or she can’t continue on with lessons halfway through.
Research on the schools/teachers
This is an important area to consider when you’re thinking of signing up for music lessons. Generally, try and ask around for recommendations from people you know as you’ll be able to trust their opinions and if you can see their child’s progress for yourself that will be even better! A teacher’s ability to teach is very important, and so is his or her ability to motivate and sustain interest in your child. It is not easy to keep a child interested and engaged during lessons so a teacher who is able to click well and has good chemistry with your child will be a great match!
Another main factor to consider is the teacher’s teaching objectives. Some teachers are more performance-focused, while some are exams-focused, and there are also others who are more focused on different ares of music-making. Ask yourself if these objectives are aligned with the teaching style that you prefer for your child. This will usually help you narrow down the pool of teachers or schools that you want to consider and make your decision-making process is easier!
Go for trial lessons
Trial lessons are good because they allow you to see whether the teacher and your child is suited for each other in terms of teaching style and the chemistry between them. It also gives you a good idea of the teacher’s ability in teaching and you can then decide if you want to engage him or her. Most importantly, remember to ask your little one whether he or she enjoyed the lesson! That will be a good indication to help you in your decision.
Practice is a trill!
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