By now, many of us have heard of at least one study confirming that children who play a
musical instrument tend to have a higher Intelligence Quotient (IQ) and ultimately score better on standardized tests. Additionally, research suggests that learning a musical instrument engages the same areas of the brain used for doing math and science.
If you want to introduce an instrument, be prepared for a lifelong commitment. First, start with a few conversations to figure out if your child has a genuine interest in picking up an instrument. If so, you can support them by providing the foundation for a lifetime love of music:
• Pay attention to what type of music they most enjoy. Do you have a country kiddo who likes the sound of a fiddle and guitar, or are they more interested in the bass line of the latest pop beat? Set them up so there are future opportunities to play the music they love.
• Help them choose their first instrument. Find out if your local music store lends or rents instruments, and let them try out a few different instruments so you can gauge their level of engagement and ability.
• If your child decides after just a few lessons they want to try a different instrument, let them. They might find the one they most enjoy or gravitate back to their original after realizing all music takes work.
• Find age-appropriate activities for them to enjoy music that have nothing to do with their own instrument. For example, give a piano player a mental break by letting them have an impromptu afternoon where they simply rattle on a tambourine or sing at top volume to a few favorite songs. They’ll return to their instrument at the next practice session feeling refreshed.
• Stay involved. Your commitment is just as important as your child’s. Help them stay motivated to practice daily by having them play something for you, which gives them a chance to show off what they are learning. You’ll be their biggest fan and mentor. Spend time listening to music together, and expose them to artists they might not know about.
• Most of all, remember to keep things upbeat and fun!
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