Should we push our child to stick with music lessons?

Should we push our child to stick with music lessons?

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Sometimes yes...and sometimes no. The key to knowing whether to push is to determine the underlying problem. Is it really that your child hates the instrument, or is it that he's finding a particular technique or piece difficult to master? Frequently, when a child wants to quit lessons, it's because he's hit a stumbling block.

If you've been hearing the refrain, "I hate the piano," you should talk with your child's music teacher. As a team, you can more easily determine what is going on. Perhaps your child is having a hard time reading the music or difficulty coordinating finger movements. Very often, a little extra focus and encouragement from you and the teacher — and possibly some adjustments in teaching technique — can help your child overcome a hurdle. By speaking with the teacher, you might also find that there's a personality conflict between the teacher (and possibly his or her methodology) and your child. A different instructor may make all the difference.

Finally, perhaps your child doesn't dislike all music and all instruments — just this one. Keep in mind that it's more common to see a child unhappy with music lessons if the parent initiates the lessons and chooses the instrument without considering the child's preferences. If that's the case, ask your child if he'd prefer to switch instruments.

On the other hand, if none of the preceding applies and your child is still groaning, it might be time to back off the lessons. You don't want to force the issue and possibly end up with a child who says, "I don't ever want to play music again." At this point, a less structured approach may be in order. Also, a child does not have to take private lessons at an early age to build a strong foundation for later musical study and enjoyment. Seeing musicals or concerts, taking a playful, general music class, or participating in church or community choirs could be a much more positive, effective, and fun way for your child to enjoy music.

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