Looking for ways to encourage your reluctant musician without begging and pleading? Learning a new instrument is challenging, and many parents struggle to help motivate and inspire their kids.
We recently conducted an experiment to help us better understand our new students. We asked our beginners what they think of when they about learning a musical instrument:
“It’s a lot of hard work.”
“My mom makes me do it.”
But when we asked our instructors a similar question, “what does music mean to you?” we heard an entirely different response. Many teachers teared up immediately. They described music as a source of light, hope, identify, freedom, healing, and love. For these musicians, their music was everything.
When we enroll our students in music lessons, we want them to feel that same passion. We want learning music to be a joyful and rewarding experience. But so often, our kids get lost in the mundane and can’t see the big picture.
How can parents help? If you want to instill a love of music and passion for learning in your children, start today. Here’s three ways to help your new musician connect their heart to their art.
Let their Goosebumps be their Guide. (Feelings)
We recently asked a new student what made them want to start taking piano lessons. She told us about a school field trip to hear the Utah Symphony, and remembers feeling “chills” the moment she heard the piano.
There’s power in that memory, and each child needs their own “chills” experience to fall back on when practicing gets hard, or skills come slowly.
As parents, we need to identify what excites our child’s soul, and follow it. Fortunately, we can let the music do the hard work of conversion for us. Take your child to events and performances whenever possible, and give them a chance to talk about what they felt. Make these experiences and conversations a regular part of your family culture, and give them every opportunity to feel those chills.
The more memorable experiences we provide, the more our children will feel connected to their music.
Connect them Where it Counts (Relationships)
Our kids need a team of supporters when it comes to learning an instrument. Find the champions in their life that can appreciate them and act as positive role models. Once you’ve found your champions, invite them to be a bigger part of your child’s life.
How do you find a champion? Look for the following people.
When it Doubt, Point Arrows Out (Experiences)
Help break kids out of a learning rut with special moments that allow them to truly experience their art. The best way to accomplish this is through performance opportunities focused on service rather than recognition.
My own Dad helped me learn this lesson when I was asked to play the piano at my Grandpa’s funeral, and I spent the days before the service feeling extremely nervous and unfocused. After a few long and anxious days, my Dad gently reminded me that my performance wasn’t about me, it was about honoring my Grandpa.
I learned to use my abilities, (my arrows) to point out into the world and away from myself, and to let my talent help and encourage others. If you can create these meaningful experiences for your own kids, you’ll help them bond the joy of learning with a joy of serving. From playing hymns during a worship service, to volunteering to provide the music in a care-center or hospital, learning to perform is a chance to learn how to serve.
Want to get kids excited about practicing on their own and accepting the challenging parts of learning a new instrument? Start by teaching them how to feel those goosebumps, connect with their team, and point their arrows out. We promise you’ll help them become a great musician, and so much more.
About the Author:
Sarah Davies is the founder of The Piano Place, mother of three, and a life-long music-lover. You can learn more about helping your child connect heart to art by watching her recent segment on Studio 5.