Keep Your Kids Motivated to Play Their Instruments

In our current era, there are plenty of distractions and a variety of activities, electronic games, sports, social events, school work and general living circumstances that contribute to our success in learning new skills.

But what can we do to keep our kids engaged and interested when they are learning a new instrument?

Let’s look at some out-of-the-box ideas to make this happen.

Small group lessons are an excellent way of also meeting other young beginner child musicians.

Regularly stop by a music shop

The highlight of my week was a quick visit to the music shop. Exploring various instruments and gear was a very motivating activity for me.

In fact, my music lessons took place at the back of an instrument store. Every week I had the chance to walk past all the new cool gear and I also started to befriend most of the staff members.

Give your child the chance to try out some of the gear on display and ask if any demo models are available. Also, request that some of the helpful employees perform a demonstration of the features of new amps and pedals. You might even score a nice and colourful plectrum in the process.

Our goal is to keep inspiring by bringing the reality of being a rounded musician closer to home.

Allow them to practice music of their own choice

We all grew up having to play ridiculous old or traditional songs that were uninspiring and didn’t really motivate us to perform them.

A better and more modern idea is to simplify the challenging parts of modern music and make it easier for the students to play and perform.

They will start singing these tracks immediately since they are familiar with them.

Show them videos of great concerts

Don’t we all like watching a breathtaking performance?

Remember that people feed off of each other’s enthusiasm and by you sharing your interests might infect your child as well.

Why not show a few classic guitar solos, or how Ed Sheeran’s loop pedal works during his live performances as seen below?
A great acoustic classic

Practice or play with them

It is essential to notice that kids don’t like being alone. They feel like they are missing out and feel left alone really quickly.

A great way of dealing with this is to be with them. Take part in their practice and tap the rhythm out for them. This makes them feel your interest and involvement in their activities.

Just don’t forget that it’s their practice time. Motivate progress, without forcing perfection.

Motivate your kids to befriend kids with similar interests

This is easy to achieve if they make friends at their music schools and play together regularly.

The challenge comes in when there’s no one else of their age playing an instrument. Especially when everyone is busy participating in team sports or other social activities.

A suggestion would be to look around in your neighbourhood or other music institutions around the area to find friends to visit and play with. As long as there’s another interest as well, the kids would be interested to continue.

Attend music concerts together

This could be seen as a fun family outing over weekends. Good places like this are acoustic venues or bigger music concerts of popular artists that might interest your young ones as well.

I suggest that you also take some over-the-ear sound protectors as sound can be sensitive and harmful to their ears in some circumstances.

Celebrate the little victories

As your child is either practising or performing, the small goals that you set and revisit regularly should be celebrated once they are reached. Go out for ice cream or somewhere fun, depending on how big the achievement was. There should always be space to go bigger for a bigger achievement.

This will keep your child practising and monitoring their own growth and achievements on a weekly basis. They will feel invested in it and that they are not alone in this. Show how proud you are of their achievements and think of little goals to work for next.

Love, praise and patience are all the ingredients your child will need to blossom while learning their instrument.

Praise them regularly

Above all the rest, this one is the most valuable.

Just to put things into perspective: The only thing kids want to do is please their parents (and/or adults in their life). No child wakes up in the morning excited to disappoint the adults in their lives. It might happen that they have made a bad choice or two, but that’s why we reflect on things.

If you are interested in kids, their school work, and learning an instrument, you might like a post I wrote about whether Kids That Plays Music Do Better in School. I based the facts on my own experiences and regular exchanges with their parents, teachers and music teachers.

Back to the music: No matter how badly they have done or performed, there’s always a reason to be positive. The fact that they practice and have the guts to get up the stage is already in my books a great achievement.

Praise them for their progress during practice. Praise them for their willingness and perseverance. Praise them for doing things that others are afraid to do at their age.

Our kids need to feel valued and supported and only by letting them feel the love, they will not give up, but instead keep on practising regularly, working to reach their goals

Give them space

We as adults have our dreams, and we should also allow our kids to have their own dreams as well. There will be days when there are way too many other interesting things to do instead of practising.

Reflect and ask your child when they think would be a good time to practice and give them your trust. Once they have set this goal, they can be reminded. You will be surprised by their willingness with such a “deadline” they set for themselves.

Remember that kids need time warnings. If they are busy with a different activity and you would like them to practice immediately, that might explode into conflict. But asking how much time they need before practice might offer a more peaceful and cooperative solution.

We want our kids to fall in love with music, not let be an obligation.

They are not forced to play video games or draw. They use it to relax and to switch off from their busy days. Once something becomes a must, they will start to lose interest.

I also wrote a post with reasons Why Kids Quit Music which would be a great read for you to know what to look out for.

Let me know below if you need any other advice that I can be of assistance.

Let’s keep making music 😉

De Wet

The dream started during a school tour at the age of 15 years old. One that might take a long time to reach. De Wet was 16 years old when he got his first bass guitar as a gift from his dad. The guitar was found, hidden under boxes. As if it was waiting for its owner to come by and pick him up. He practiced every day to improve and to teach his fingers to dance to the music. After finishing high school, he played in various bands where he collected valuable experience, before being signed by a record label as an upcoming band. He reached success at age 22 when he released two albums with his band, which also included televised music videos for publicity. By age 24, he co-started management, artist promotion, and booking agency for successful and upcoming musical acts.

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