How To Help Kids Not Give Up On Music Lessons

You can introduce your child to music lessons at literally any age, with schools accepting students from infant to 6 years old and upward.

As your little one grows older, you notice his/her lack of interest or you don’t see the instrument being picked up as often. A question that might pop into your head is Should I let my child quit music lessons?

  • But know you’re not alone ...

    In fact, a study conducted by King’s College London in 2009 suggested many students drop out of music school from 11 years old. 

    The main reasons included lack of motivation, not sensing any progress, a dislike of practice, and not having any friends who also played.

    On the other hand, 39 percent of children expressed they wanted to continue lessons. A couple of the inhibiting factors include not being able to afford the lessons and not being able to juggle it alongside schoolwork.

    Giving up on music lessons sends an important and lasting message to your child -- it’s OK to stop something if it’s difficult and not worth pursuing. Encouraging your little one that music is fun can develop perseverance and persistence.

    Here are some of the ways you can help your child keep up with music lessons.

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  • 1. Find out how your child feels about continuing with music lessons.

    There could be all sorts of reasons why your child doesn’t want to continue. Whether it’s stage fright, a disdain for exams (who doesn’t hate being tested?), or an inferiority complex, you won’t know until you speak to him/her.

    The good news is all of these issues can be managed together with proper encouragement and support. Maybe a change of teacher, joining a different music group, or getting more exposure in front of others can help bolster your little one’s resolve to keep practicing and honing his/her craft.

  • 2. Find an instrument your child wants to play.

    The violin, piano, and drums are the most common instruments taught to children in Singapore

    But if your child is learning an instrument he/she has no interest in, the chances of losing motivation and stopping lessons altogether increases.

    Speak with your little ones about preference.

    Ron Chenoweth, band and orchestra division manager for Ken Stanton Music, believes personality and body type play big roles in guiding children when choosing an instrument.

    For example, kids who love center stage might choose the flute, whereas kids who are extremely smart may enjoy the oboe due to its intricate nature.

    Whichever instrument your kids choose, remember that they don’t need to conform to any stereotype.

  • 3. Make practice less troublesome.

    Nearly 70% of children 5 to 14 years old practice their instrument for two hours or less each week.

    But many parents aren’t sure why their children don’t want to practice and don’t know how to motivate them to continue.

    On the other hand, many kids don’t want to let their parents down, so they will practice out of obligation. But this can lead to resentment and make music lessons and practice a burden.

    To help your child turn practice into less of a chore, try these tips:

    - Attend practice with your child and engage with him/her to see how it’s going.

    - Create a routine that includes practice in your child’s weekly or daily schedule.

    - Be realistic how long your child can practice.

    - Learn to be fluid and work practice around your little one’s mood or energy levels.

    - Encourage your child to start practicing instead of focusing on completing a full session.

    - Celebrate each practice, even if it’s only a short session. Doing so sows a sense of accomplishment.

  • 4. Help your child learn how to be in charge.

    Regular practice sessions can become a chore, especially if your child feels like he/she is just told what to do. Instead, parents can encourage their little ones to be in control of their own progression as a musician.

    Lack of progress is cited as one of the biggest reasons for not continuing with learning an instrument.

    By empowering your child to be independent, you will help him/her to learn a valuable life lesson to persevere in difficulty.

    Some of the ways you can do so include:

    - Encourage your child to play music he/she enjoys.

    - Suggest composing his/her own songs.

    - Propose learning lots of different styles rather than focusing on getting better at playing harder pieces.

    - Let your child be responsible for his/her own learning.

  • 5. Compromise if your child doesn’t want to continue.

    If your child is experiencing burnout, you may want to consider a break. Suggest a break for three months or longer to see if your child really doesn’t want to continue.

    However, if your little one doesn’t seem to change his/her mind after the break, that’s all right, too.

    Instead of seeing the situation as your child giving up, talk about moving on and praise him/her for the achievement of reaching as far as he/she did.

    Musical talent can be nurtured through practice, hard work, and dedication. However, many children give up their lessons after 11 years old. Try these tips to help your child stay the course and develop into an excellent musician.

    This article was republished with permission from theAsianParent.

    theAsianparent is a publication under Tickled Media Pte Ltd. Started in September 2009, it is the largest parenting website in Southeast Asia, targeted at urban parents and parents-to-be who live in Asia or are of Asian heritage. theAsianparent speaks to every stage and priority of an Asian mom’s journey – from pre-conception to pregnancy, to breastfeeding, and even how to raise smart, strong and kind children.