Your child tells you one day that they would like to learn to play a musical instrument. Hooray! So you sit down and discuss together which musical instrument they would like to learn, you do your research, find a suitable teacher, somehow managing to put aside the costs within your family budget, and off we go…
However, there comes a time when your child will say ” I’m bored”, or “It’s harder than I thought”, or woe of woes, “I hate practice!”
So how do we motivate our child to fall in love over and over with their playing, where they feel the need to play, practise and get better and better at mastering their music instrument?
There is no one fix approach. Some music teachers create an incentive program, physical and visual, where a child can get rewards (stamps, points, stickers, small toys) when they reach a certain goal.
However, there are two long-term motivational factors that us parents need to keep in mind, which for me, are far more important, especially as your child advances into teenage and young adult years:
- Giving them choice – children want to learn the music that they love, perhaps something they love to sing and dance to, with musical pieces that are at their level of mastery so that they feel emotionally connected to the piece.
- Social settings – learning any instrument, away from the 45-minute weekly lesson, can be a lonely experience (although you do need that time alone someplace quiet where you can focus on your music). But people are social beings, children all the more so. Giving children the opportunity to play with others (as a duet with teacher & student, or two students as a pair, or in group classes), or playing for others (monthly recitals, family gatherings, Christmas specials), do wonders to a child’s confidence, elevates the fun factor, and motivates your child to learn even more!
In our Kindermusik classes, these two factors are always at play:
We love it when children come up with their own imaginative ideas on how to dance, move or play along to a piece of music. We strive to create an atmosphere of non-criticism, affirmation and emotional pleasure in learning new activities, where sharing musical experiences with family and friends are at the forefront, so that a child grows up developing a natural affinity and fondness to all things musical.