Parents looking for lessons often ask me this question:
How do I know my child will like it?
Especially if your child isn’t sure which instrument they want to play
or are too young to really make that decision, you may struggle with this idea too.
You may know the research that having parents who are committed to their child playing an instrument long term is a huge factor in student success (you can read more about that HERE)
So, how do I know my child will like this?
Here is the honest answer . . .
There is no way to guarantee your child will like any activity you try long term.
Your child may become a professional musician, they may play through high school with music playing a huge role in their development, or they may study for a few years and develop other time consuming interests.
So what do we do if we’re not sure our child will love this?
I would argue the best way to ensure they do love it later is to treat it as if they already do.
What would you do now if you knew this was something your child would love and still be serious about in their high school years and beyond?
Find the best teacher you can.
Get the best instrument you can afford.
Practice with them in a way that sets them up for success.
Keep them inspired by taking them to concerts and playing great music around the house and in the car.
Be an enthusiastic supporter of your child and provide them with the best instruction and equipment you can.
We wouldn’t give shoes that don’t fit and give callouses to a child trying out soccer for the first time. We wouldn’t let them skip going to practice when they didn’t feel like it. How will they love it if they never gain enough skills to make an educated decision about it?
Dr. Rebekah Hanson and I ran a parent talk at the Oregon Suzuki Institute last summer where we brought in a panel of teens to talk with parents. One of the questions we asked them was “at what point did you feel like you played your instrument well enough to really enjoy playing it?”
The panel of students was unanimous – it was around the book 4 or 5 level that they felt solid enough in their skills that they even knew if they liked playing. I think that’s fascinating!
So often students (and parents) give up before this point because it’s hard or they don’t like it. That would be like deciding you don’t like reading before you’re past the stage of haltingly sounding out words and before you can read a great story with ease.
The likelihood is that if you can get past the stages where everything feels challenging and start to make music with ease the love of playing will develop.
This is where you come in . . .
What would you do now if you knew your child would love this activity for the rest of their life?
Go ahead and do it.
It is never a waste to strive towards something and work towards developing our skills.
Those skills carry over into other things we will do in life and sometimes they carry us over from what we’re doing now as a beginner to a life long passion for something we love.
Act as if they will love it.
Put the time and resources into it as if it is something they love (or will love)
As a teacher I thank you for giving them that gift.