The Mistake You're Probably Making When Your Child Asks You For Violin Lessons
Let me tell you why I think that asking for a trial lesson could be a big mistake.
Your child is 3 - 5 years old and you’re considering music lessons.
Maybe you have memories of your childhood where you got to play an instrument, but you didn’t continue for long.
It could be that you don’t really remember much about your lessons or why you quit.
Maybe you just said to your mom one day that you didn’t like it, and just like that, the lessons ended.
Now, years later, you have your own child. And you start to consider all the amazing benefits of music.
You start to wonder what reasons you could have had for quitting your lessons.
You kind of regret it now. And ask yourself, why did my parents let me quit? I wish they would have made me continue.
Think about this!
When you’re a child, you don’t really know for sure what you like.
You might like something one day, and dislike it the next. Even as adults, we change our minds often.
I can tell you that as a musician myself, there are many days when I don’t like practicing!
And on a personal note, I’m also one of those that quit.
I eventually came back to it but when I was about 14 years old, I decided to stop going to my lessons because none of my friends played instruments or had any musical knowledge.
Unfortunately, the school I went to had no musical program and therefore, I was always the outsider. I know that if I would have had a community of friends or a ‘music-buddy’ among my peers, my story would have been different.
The bottom line is that my parents let me quit without really digging into the reasons why.
You don’t ask your child if he’d like to learn math. You expect your child to learn math, like it or not. Why not do the same for music?
The benefits of music are very much like the benefits of math, and they go even further.
Why not make this expectation as part of your commitment to your child’s education?
The road is not an easy road and will definitely be full of ups and downs regarding practicing, challenges, accomplishments, and especially, attitudes.
If you want to be a supportive parent in this musical journey, read about the 6 ways in which you can help your child not want to quit.
1. Make the commitment with yourself first.
a. The first step as the parent of a musical child is to commit to the importance of learning to play an instrument.
b. If you totally believe in the benefits of music and you make the commitment with yourself that you will be there to support the journey no matter what, your child will have a much higher chance to succeed.
c. If you’ve decided that your child will begin lessons, and the first thing you tell your child is that you will observe a lesson to see if he/she likes it first, then you’re establishing an unstable foundation.
2. Decide together on the instrument that your child will play.
a. Suggest an instrument but don’t try to convince your child that your choice is the one that counts. My mom is a clarinetist, and for the longest time she tried to convince me to take clarinet lessons but it just wasn’t my instrument. I loved the piano and the violin instead, and my mom gave me her full support.
3. Research possible teachers.
a. Ask around to see which teacher would fit your child’s personality the best.
b. Ask if you can observe some lessons, hopefully individual and group settings, before deciding on the best fit.
c. Look for a kind, patient teacher that will still demand the best out of your child. I believe that ‘discipline with love’ brings about the best results.
4. Be committed to creating a practice routine.
a. Even if the practice only lasts for a few minutes every day, you will be able to establish the gentle expectation that, as Dr. Suzuki said, you must “Practice only on the days that you eat.”
b. Those few minutes a day, even though sometimes might amount to 5 minutes only, will compound over time, and the fruits of consistency will eventually pay off.
c. You can read 13 things I did with my daughter when she got her 1st violin for ideas on what to do with your child when first starting with violin lessons.
5. Be involved in a music community.
a. Join a Facebook Group or other music communities so that you’ll get to know other parents that are going through the same issues as you are.
b. Help your child become ‘music buddies’ with kids that are doing the same thing.
c. Find a supportive group of parents experiencing the same types of wins and challenges as you will be.
There’s nothing better than to feel that you are part of a community that supports you and cheers you on along the way!
The bottom line is this. If you believe that music should be an integral part of your child’s education, make the commitment right from the start and embark on this journey together.
Be present for all that it takes! Support your child through the challenges, the attitudes, and the struggles.
And don’t forget to celebrate the accomplishments, the discoveries, and the creativity!
Now tell us, what are you doing to support your child’s musical journey?
Write in the comments below and share your experiences with us.
We’d love to hear about your ideas!