What To Do When Your Child Wants To Quit Music Lessons
It's not uncommon for children to get to a point where they want to quit music lessons. Let's be honest, learning to play can be very rewarding, but it requires putting in the practice time to see improvement. For today's children, there are lots of activities: school, sports, video games, and many others. When the initial excitement of music lessons turns into "I want to quit," what should you do?
What's a parent to do?
Your next step should be to get to the root of the problem. It could be that your child doesn't understand how to practice. Or maybe that they are on the cusp of a breakthrough, but can't see the other side of it yet, and it's a difficult step forward. Maybe their teacher is not a good match for them, or fails to keep them excited about what they are learning. It's even possible that they might like a different instrument, or a different type of music. Young children may not be able to tell you this, but with some sleuthing skills you can figure it out.
Try These Solutions
Help your child learn to practice:
You can ask your music teacher for some tips on this. If they haven't explained what it means to practice, this might do the trick. Children can be taught practice techniques that will help them progress, and a good teacher will be able to get students to understand what to do during practice time. Here's an article with some ideas you can try.
"A good teacher will be able to get students to understand what to do during practice time."
Every music student struggles at some point:
Every accomplished musician has overcome some hurdles along the way. Learning new skills, especially the more difficult ones, takes perseverance. This is a great life skill to learn. You can help them by sharing a time when you struggled and overcame the hard part, and got the reward of mastering the skill. Ask your teacher to relate a similar story, or if you know a musician or music student, ask them about their struggles. It will help your child learn that it won't always be this hard. As new skills are learned and practiced, they become much easier. And when they finally master the skill, when the light finally goes on, your struggle makes the victory even sweeter. Click here for some perseverance quotes for inspiration.
Maybe it's the teacher:
Not all teachers are the same. They have different styles and teaching techniques, so finding one that's a good match on your own isn't easy. One way to be sure you're getting a qualified teacher is to enroll at a music school that screens teachers before hiring them, and trains them to make sure that keeping students excited about learning is always at the top of their list. They often have more than one teacher for each instrument, so if you're not connecting with one teacher, you can try another. Your child's interest in learning music is a valuable, fragile thing. Don't waste it on a teacher that's not a good fit.
"Your child's interest in learning music is a valuable, fragile thing. Don't waste it on a teacher that's not a good fit."
Try a different instrument or style of music:
If your child has been playing piano for a while, but is losing interest, it might be time to try a different instrument or a different type of music. Many of the lessons learned on one instrument will apply to another, so the time hasn't been wasted. Maybe guitar, drums, or bass will reignite their passion. If they love to sing, try voice lessons. Changing to a new style of music can help too. Let them try learning pop or rock songs. You can learn a lot about music when you play songs you love because you are more into it.
Connect with a music community:
Go to a private lesson, come home to practice by yourself, repeat. If this is what's happening at your house, it can get old. Performances? One recital a year won't do it. To make music lessons and classes more engaging, connect with a music community. A music school, with lots of teachers and students to interact with, can be a very nurturing place. You can also try changing from private lessons to group classes. Adding a social element to learning music can keep students engaged. Been playing a while? See if you can join a band. Playing with other musicians could be the spark you need to amp up your game. Perform often. There's nothing like playing in front of an audience to make you want to do your best. The reward of applause will keep you going through many practice sessions.
"Go to a private lesson, come home to practice by yourself, repeat. If this is what's happening at your house, it can get old.
These ideas will help you have an answer ready for when your child says, "I want to quit." Try to find out why, then see if one of these ideas will help guide them through this stage.
Want to connect with a music community? Try Music House.