When to start music lessons?
Engage. Encourage. Explore. Experience. Enjoy.
Dear Mum and Dad,
I heard this song and it made my body move. It made me happy and it felt wonderful! I wish I could make those sounds too.
Love From, Your Child.
If our children could express themselves like this, it would make knowing the right time to start learning an instrument much easier. The age-old questions about which instrument, how much practice, at what age and which teacher are all posed by parents. So many of the answers are determined by our circumstances as a family. Is there access to an instrument already? Is there a teacher in town? What are the financial considerations?
What if our children and students could express to us what they needed to have a successful and fulfilling musical education? What would they say? After a heartfelt discussion with my two young children here are some suggestions.
To parents and teachers,
Please encourage me to learn about music. I am curious about sound and want to create and recreate things I hear. Please find people who I can connect with and can learn more from; people who encourage and nurture me; a teacher who can communicate and build a path in music that engages me.
Please encourage me to play. I know we are busy, but can we find time every day to let me have space and time with my instrument? It doesn’t always feel or sound good, but each day I learn a little more and before long I can master things I couldn’t do before. I feel good when I learn how to do something new and you are right there celebrating with me!
I feel good when I play a piece for my grandparents and it makes them smile. It feels like I’ve given them a little present; something valuable that I did all by myself. I feel confident when I show my friends what I can play and I’m able to teach them new things.
Thank you for encouraging me to perform in recitals and exams. I feel proud of myself when I have played, and believe in myself more each time. Even when things don’t go right I learn that it this is okay and it helps me to become a little more resilient.
Please give me space in my practice time to explore and roam around in my imagination. Sometimes I feel sad or angry and know that I can go to my instrument and play. I can explore and make sad songs. I am learning to express my emotions, I can be creative and need to know that there is a safe place to do so. I am also learning to listen and respond to emotions I hear from others.
I like to hear the sounds I am creating. Please can I have an instrument that creates beautiful sound? An instrument that can do the things that my teacher is showing me in my lessons so that I can explore, create and experience the things I am learning properly.
Please talk with my teacher about how I’m going, and if they have any information to help me learn better, can you help me make that happen? Sometimes I don’t remember my books or want to practice. Can you please carry me when this happens? I am still learning to build my self-discipline. I am learning that consistency is long term and I’m not so good at the big picture yet.
Please help me explore music in lots of ways. I love to hear new things and see other people make music. Please share these experiences with me. Please take me to the music shop and let me explore the music and instruments like it is a lolly shop! Let me save up and buy a music book I want just so I can play a song that I like!
Please help me be engaged, let me explore and create, learn to express myself and be receptive to the expression of others. Help me experience and enjoy the world in new ways with sound.
Love From, Your Child.
Music offers children a variety of life skills and it is our responsibility as parents and teachers to provide the environment, guidance and support that fosters musical and personal growth. The when, where and why answers are all guided by your child and your family.
By Carly McDonald, Creative.Piano.Professional