Music is fun!
Well, it's supposed to be. Six weeks in, when you find yourself yelling at your kid to practice (or feeling guilty for not even trying), it's no fun at all.
How does this happen? Why do we drift away from something that we were once excited about?
The truth is, we have fun doing things we're good at (or that we believe we can be good at).
And if we can't find a way to be good at playing an instrument, we're never going to have any fun.
Often, the deck is stacked against fun from the very start, with an overwhelming first lesson that is mostly about setting up, tuning up, holding the instrument, and trying over and over again to make a note that sounds good.
At home, it's even harder. Now the student, who was dutiful in the lesson in order to please the teacher, has no motivation to go through that ordeal again.
The student can't see how the lesson material connects to the goal of actually learning to play the instrument. It's like zooming in so close on a JPEG that you see pixels instead of a picture.
What is the solution?
First, we've got to scale things down a bit. Kid-friendly instruments (bells, uke, xylophone, hand percussion) are going to lead much faster to fun than traditional instruments.
Next, for beginners, the teacher's job in each lesson is to present things that are manageable and doable within that lesson. That way, the child goes home knowing exactly how to play their new song or demonstrate their new skill (meaning that they are much more likely to do it).
But even if everyone is having fun, we've got to have reasonable expectations. We can't expect small children to understand that consistent effort over time leads to success when so few of us adults are able to grasp that concept. And following through on that understanding with a daily practice plan is a whole 'nother level.
The vast majority of kids (and adults) will not practice on their own without a set schedule, reminders, and support from a fellow human being. In other words, failure to practice isn't a moral failing. It's not a musical one, either (i.e., it's not proof of a lack of talent). It's a normal part of the process that can be gently worked through over time.
Here at Eclectic Music, we've developed an innovative program, Playground, that eliminates the burden of practice completely, allows the child to see their own progress immediately, and offers a variety of different kid-friendly instruments.
Likewise, our summer program is designed to be an encouraging, inspiring, and yes, fun atmosphere for kids age three to eleven. We'd love to have your family join us.
Music is fun!