Music and Your Child

Music is a wonderful art that many people love and appreciate for years and years. If handled in the appropriate way children will develop a great love of music that will last them for their lifetime. If you press music on a child who is not interested, you can run the risk of alienating your child from music forever. Most schools have had serious budget cuts in the recent years leaving their music programs almost nonexistent, which leaves the job of introducing music up to the parents. Parents must now decide what type of music to introduce, when, what instructor and what style their child should learn, instead of the schools teaching a good sampling of styles.

Music has been thought to help children develop better academically, with studies showing that students who study music also perform better academically in school. Musical intelligence, as well as a sense of rhythm and tempo are also developed. Music often gives children a creative outlet for their feelings whether positive or negative that can be played to beautiful music. Performing concerts also have the benefit of boosting a child’s confidence and self-esteem. Hand-eye coordination, manual dexterity, fine muscle control, and memorization are also improved.

Other benefits of music include improved poise, posture, concentration skills, listening skills, as well as self-discipline skills. Wind instrument players also reap benefits of improved respiratory strength. While some parents take a more structured approach to music others take a very laid back approach and follow their child’s lead to see how far to push the music issue. Easy, hassle free ways to encourage a love of music are surrounding your child with musical experiences; go to talent shows, concerts, the symphony, even band concerts to give your child a wide variety of musical experience. Listen to music on the radio together, experiment with mixing various types of music using computer software to create interesting effects.

Take a trip to the library to do some research into the lives of their favorite musicians, whether it is Mozart or a hip new band, encourage any interest they have into music. If your child shows an interest in playing in the school band, encourage that and help them select an instrument they enjoy. Children who tend to excel at music and highly enjoy it are typically very open-minded, have long attention spans, a high level of patience, and are quite creative. While talent is not needed, it can help but anyone can learn music with work and dedication, those with natural talent just catch on quicker.

You can start music at any age, allow your baby to listen to different types of music and dance, play with various toy instruments, and start getting a good basic sense of music. As your child gets older, you can channel that into lessons of specific instruments, or styles of music. If you want your child to learn to read the music that is best accomplished after your child is approximately 8 years old, however they can learn to play based on hearing once they are approximately 5 years old.

Music is not something that will penalize your child if they start later than their peers, in fact they tend to be more mature and better able to quickly grasp the concepts if you wait until they are older which will reduce the amount of frustration as well as ensure it is your child who is interested in music and not you forcing your child into music. If your child is very young, consider very short lessons of only 20-30 minutes several times a week for several months so that they are not distracted or bored.

Some children do very well with a style of teaching called Suzuki Method; this style focuses around teaching children to play by ear, rather than reading or even attempting to read the notes. If you start your child in music very young consider heavily this style, as it is often easier for young children who are not old enough to understand how to read the notes. Many students who learn from Suzuki method will be taught to play various variations of familiar songs, such as “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” so that they can learn different musical skills.