Top 7 Things to Consider When Signing Your Child Up for Music Lessons & Classes this September

Sep 5, 2018

If your little one loves music the way most children do, you’ve probably considered signing them up for music lessons. And what better time to start thinking about it again than back-to-school season? Countless studies have shown that the amazing benefits that the study of music can bring to a child’s everyday life are invaluable to their academic life, social life, and self-esteem! So if your child has an interest in learning to sing or play an instrument, music lessons are a fantastic first step!

Of course, there are some important things to consider before you sign your child up for lessons this September.

Benefits of Music Lessons For Children

First and foremost, many parents simply don’t realize just how much of an impact music lessons can have on their children. Learning to play and perform music can help improve their skills in math, memorization, and listening. It also helps the brain develop in incredible ways, while improving fine motor skills and coordination.

But the benefits aren’t all physical. Learning to play music can also build up self-esteem, teach children how to better manage their time, and work as a team. What’s more, singing or playing an instrument is a great emotional outlet for children, helping them to relieve stress, while also giving them a constructive and safe way to express their feelings. As a matter of fact, kids who practice music often do better in school simply because they learn patience and self-discipline and -control.

And what’s more, these benefits don’t disappear as these children age. Adults who learned to perform music as children are also often more successful. They tend to have a better work ethic, and have an understanding of how hard work pays off. These sorts of adults understand that they have to start at the beginning and work their way up to be a success, and they can use their improved social and communication skills to do it!

1) The Best Age to Start Classes

While this is one of the earliest and most important things to consider when signing your child up for music classes, there is no simple answer as to when is appropriate; it will be different from child to child. The best thing to do is to try to find a program that is appropriate for both your child’s age and level of interest. Do they participate when they hear music, with singing, clapping, or dancing? Children as young as two, and sometimes even younger, can be taught to clap along with the beat of their favourite songs, and to identify rhythms. The younger they are, the easier it will be for them to learn, so if they show any interest at all in learning music, that’s when you should find a program for them.

More formal programs in singing and instrument instruction should be started a little later, usually around 5 years old. By then, children are usually able to sit and focus for a bit longer. That being said, a child that has no interest in learning an instrument at this age should not be forced. Forcing your child to learn an instrument will not lead to a love of music, and in fact, may cause the opposite. If they are fighting you on this, it’s probably best to wait until they’re a little older.

2) Choosing the Right Instrument

One of the first things to consider when picking out an instrument for your child is their age and physical limitations. Don’t pick something that is too heavy or too big for them to play correctly. The violin or piano are fantastic beginner instruments, especially for children under 6 years, because they help develop a foundation for learning other instruments later. That being said, if your child already has their heart set on learning a particular instrument, speak with their teacher to see if it’s a good choice for their age.

3) Think About the Noise

There are a few different ways you can get around annoying your neighbours (or the rest of the family) during your child’s practice time. You can DIY soundproof the practice room with thick rugs and heavy curtains, or even start your young musician out on an instrument that can be played through headphones. Good communication can also solve a lot of problems, so don’t be afraid to speak with your neighbours and family to work out the best practice times.

4) How Much Time Do You & Your Child Have?

A lot of school-aged children are involved in all kinds of extra-curricular activities, like sports teams and clubs, that take up a lot of their spare time. When considering signing them up for music classes make sure they can be easily fitted into the routine without being too stressful or taking time away from other important tasks, like schoolwork. If they already have a full schedule you may need to make some tough choices with them about what’s most important to them.

While most of the time commitment that goes into learning to play music will fall on your child, you will still need to be involved as far as making sure they actually practice, and getting them to and from their lessons!

5) Location, Location, Location

Depending on where you live, you may have more than a few options for where your child can take their lessons. There are instructors who teach in their own home or in a studio, and others who actually come to your home. Make sure you keep any travel time in mind, and visit locations to see if they will be a good fit for your child. If there’s a lot of activity going on, think about your child’s personality, and whether or not they would be able to focus in that environment.

6) How Much Space Do You Actually Have?

Space is an important thing for some people. And a large instrument, like a piano or a drum kit, is going to take up a lot more room than a tiny violin or flute – though a digital piano has the advantage of being small and portable, while also having weighted keys for learning piano. The point is to decide where the instrument will be played and stored before you make a purchase and bring it home.

7) Cost

For some people, cost may be the most important factor to consider. Buying an instrument can be a big expense and investment – but there are some options. Think about renting from a music studio, or purchasing a used instrument from Craigslist. Many schools and programs offer “loaners” or rentals as well. Books and sheet music are readily available online, often free or at least less expensive than in stores. The cost of the actual lessons is also something to keep in mind. Online lessons are often cheaper than in-person, but they come with their own set of limitations.

Giving your child the gift of music is something they will carry with them for the rest of their life. With some careful consideration, planning, and creativity, every child that wants to learn to play music should be able to!