How to Make Learning Music Fun For Your Child
(Hint: Strapping Him/Her to the Piano Bench Rarely Works)
You love music. You are exuberant about music. And you would like to teach your child to create and share his or her own music. But even if your kid loves to practice piano (or other instrument of choice), disciplined practice rarely comes naturally all the time. So how do you create a routine that will make learning music fun for your child… as opposed to a chore for him and a disciplinary task for you?
Typically, the answer to this question comes in the form of a “shopping list” of strategies and tactics to try. For instance, experts will recommend:
- Give the child flexibility over what instrument to play;
- Introduce your child to a variety of musical styles;
- Create an easy, fun, “reward at the end” practice routine;
- Avoid making harsh critical comments;
- Avoid overly encouraging the child – that is, let the child discover his or her own passions and support those passions with appropriate guidance – schooling, coaching etc.
Look: different tactics can work for different folks under different circumstances.
But the real keys are two-fold:
1. Know your child – listen to him or her, and EMPATHIZE.
2. Be more scientific in your training. This advice sounds strange at first. But being scientific will lead to more fun. That’s often the case with complicated problems. Structure and form give rise to creativity – just like structure, in the form of predictable instruments, gives rise to musical creativity. If you never knew that, by pressing the middle C, you would hear a middle C sound, playing the piano would be no fun.
Using science-like thinking to make practice more fun
Practicing an instrument is a process. Whether you have already articulated that process, or you’re just simply developing one, you need to understand the purpose and structure of your “practice system” if you want to make positive changes to it!
This means breaking the system down into its components – just like you break down music into ncomponents that we can measure (e.g. musical and rhythmic notation). Once you notice what aspects of the practice your student likes or doesn’t like – or which aspects of the practice prove productive or prove unproductive – you can make alterations to this system. This way, you will not only enhance the child’s progress, but you will also make things more fun. For instance, maybe your child hates playing scales and loves improvising. But you want him to learn how to play scales, since he needs to know the basics. Once you understand this fact about him, you can make alterations. Maybe you reduce the amount of “scale playing” per practice.