Music Lessons for kids should be started at a young age. Generally, starting kids in elementary school on instrumental lessons provides huge benefits. Kids learn responsibility, grow their creativity, and set themselves up for learning other instruments, such as flute or trumpet, much more easily.
There are many ways to go about getting music lessons for kids. You can use a private teacher or find numerous videos online. One of the best music lesson plans is to teach your own kids. Teaching them builds a lasting relationship between the two of you and allows you to teach in a way they will thrive. However you go about it, music lessons should be a priority for your kids.
Why Music Lessons Are Important
Ever dream of getting a release from the stresses of this world? Want a way to go on an adventure without leaving your home? Have a desire to connect with your kids in a deeper way?
Music. The answer to all these questions. Music.
Music is a great reliever of stress and can actually have other health benefits such as reducing heart rate. When playing music, the experience can take your mind out of this world. If the song is about a great pirate adventure, you aren’t just going playing notes but can experience the great pirate fights and storms at sea. Maybe that sounds crazy, but it’s not. It’s a development of the imagination only music can bring.
Because music is so important in our lives, music lessons are a no brainer. The value in music lessons goes well beyond learning instrumental or vocal music. It’s not about the piano, guitar, flute, sax, or any other instrument. It’s not even about the song. Music lessons are about teaching them to value, experience, and enjoy music itself.
Another benefit of music lessons is your kids learn responsibility as they will have to practice what they are taught. Just like any other subject at school, progress is made through repetition. Lessons will also strengthen the bond between you and your kids. And if you have a music background you have even more opportunities for connections, even if you get them private lessons online or from a teacher. The importance of piano lessons and music lessons can’t be ignored.
Scheduling Time for Lessons
Now it’s time to take the next step. That’s figuring out a lesson schedule. If choosing piano lessons, make sure to find a time you have access to a piano or electric keyboard. This may seem like the “duh” statement of the day but I’ve seen it where people think they can get by without one. That’s just not true.
If you have a piano at home that is the ideal situation. If not, then you will need to find a place that has one you can use for teaching and practicing. Once you have the instrument lined up you can decide on times.
Prioritize your kids’ lessons. It is easy to let life get in the way and put them off. I learned this through experience. Since I don’t have money vested in private lessons for them it’s easy to put it off until tomorrow. But inevitably, tomorrow comes, something comes up and we put it off longer. If I’m not deliberate in scheduling lessons for my kids, they don’t get them at all.
Now, you have the pick of the day and time. Schedule lessons around your activities. Don’t cram them into a night already full of dance or sports. You will likely have to give on something and music lessons will be the first to go. Find a time when you are free. Or at least a little less busy. Then make it a goal to sit down for lessons that same time each week.
Between lessons, schedule practice time. Just like homework from school, they need time to play the piano, guitar, or whatever they are learning. The beauty with teaching your kids, though, is if they learn the material and you have time to move them on before the week is up, go for it!
Instrumental Options: Piano, Flute, Guitar
There are so many different instruments to pick from it’s not funny. But never fear, picking doesn’t have to be difficult or intimidating. So how do you decide? That all depends on age and maturity, for the most part.
Young kids, say early elementary-aged, would be better off starting on piano or guitar. But which one? That is all personal preference. If the child is smaller their hands may not be able to hit the correct spots on the strings of the guitar. However, they may be able to reach the keys on the piano.
If you are a guitar player or know a little about it, start them there. Music lessons for kids should be fun and what better way to have than build that relationship with you. Maybe you are a piano player, then teach them piano to start.
I wouldn’t start them on band instruments when they are little for a couple of reasons. First, they will likely be too small to hold the instrument and reach the keys properly. Second, learning to blow into some instruments, like the flute, can be challenging which might frustrate young kids.
Older elementary kids could start whichever instrument they choose. By that age, they have the size, maturity, and coordination to learn most anything.
I started playing the piano just before I turned seven. It’s the best thing my parents could have done. It wasn’t just about the instrument at that age, but learning the basics of music. Fast forward three years. My parents gave me my first flute for my birthday.
The next fall I started band. Band came easy for me and I attribute that to my piano background. I only had to learn the flute fingerings and how to blow into it. I was one step ahead.
Tips to Make Music Lessons Easy
Music lessons don’t have to be a difficult endeavor. You might be wondering how in the world they are supposed to be easy, especially if you don’t have a creative bone in your body. However, there are several things you can do to make music lessons easier and build the bond between you and your kids.
Set a schedule
I already touched upon this earlier. But one of the most important things you can do is set a schedule for lessons and practice. It will make music lessons smoother if your kids know the expectations ahead of time about when their lessons will be. It also gives you a way to hold them accountable for practicing just as if they were going to a piano teacher outside the home.
I’ve talked about the importance of a schedule and I’m not contradicting that, but flexibility is another key to making piano lessons, or any other music lessons, easy. If something does interfere with the schedule, it’s okay. Just reschedule the lesson and stick to your plan going forward.
Teaching your own kids also allows you to adjust your teaching to meet your kids’ needs. One of my kids learns very quickly. Lately, she has been practicing a lot. In her eagerness, I found she had practiced enough to proficiently play the songs for me days before her next lesson. In fact, her dad was begging me to pass her on one of them so she could play something else.
Because she was ready and I’m her teacher, I listened to what she was doing and was able to pass her early and teach her new stuff. That’s the beauty of teaching your kids. If they learn the material and you have time to move them on before the week is up, go for it!
Don’t be afraid to walk away (temporarily)
Sometimes lessons just aren’t fun for you or your child. Maybe you have had a bad day and just don’t have the patience. Or possibly your kids have just decided they know it all and don’t want to take direction. At times they just can’t handle being told they have to redo a song because they didn’t quite hit the concepts. If meltdown mode occurs, walk away.
It doesn’t mean you are a failure or should quit teaching them. It just means you both need to step back temporarily. Maybe it will take an hour. Sometimes it will be the next day. Just remember the music and pages aren’t going anywhere. The relationship with your kids is the priority. Don’t ruin that relationship, walk away and come back later.
Keeping the peace trumps getting through the lesson every time!
Focus on progress, not time
In between music lessons, practice is required. It’s not something that can be ignored and I know I’ve talked about it before. Practice makes progress. In the beginning, lessons are easy. The songs are short and simple. Good practice habits should be established at this point because eventually, things will get harder.
However, don’t focus so much on making them practice for a certain number of minutes each day. Make sure they can play and understand the musical concept for that week. That may take them five minutes a day or thirty minutes. The quality of time spent is way more important than the quantity.
Incorporate non-traditional methods in
Get them off the bench! If at all possible incorporate games into lessons. That doesn’t have to happen every lesson, but the beauty of teaching your own kids is you can take a day to review concepts by playing games or doing an activity rather than continuing on in the book. Or make lessons a little longer to incorporate both the books and the games.
Games to play can be based on favorite sporting events like the FIFA World Cup, Musical Candyland, or just something you create. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or fancy. There are many games free online that you can use. Kids will just enjoy the variety. Some of the best music lesson plans include non-conventional methods of learning.
Be the teacher, not mom
This is one of the more difficult tips to accomplish and is more of a mindset than anything. But it is doable and oh so important. It’s actually one of the first boundaries I set when I began teaching my oldest piano lessons. She was only four at the time. In my mind, I knew there had to be a separation between lessons and everything else.
Now, we aren’t talking a Jekyll and Hyde type of thing here. Simply make sure you and your kids know during lessons you are the teacher. Yes, you are mom, but at that moment it’s about teaching. This builds the relationship even more and they learn to respect you as the teacher.
Connect by playing music together
Finally, play music together. One of the best music lesson plans is to engage them by playing music with them. During lessons, you teach, during practice help and play with them, especially if you play an instrument or sing.
When I was growing up and began learning the flute, my dad and I played duets all of the time. I started learning to play the flute in 5th grade, by 7th grade I was playing in nursing homes and at church. All because my dad would accompany me.
I would practice my band music, but not every day. Usually, I found myself asking to play with my dad frequently. I loved the music we would make. We could spend an hour playing until my lip was too tired and his hands hurt. Still, to this day, if I get the chance I ask to play duets with him.
Those days built me up as a player more than anything and made a deep and lasting connection between my dad and me. It didn’t matter what I played, the key was I was playing. I was refining my technique which in the end benefited me more than I could have ever imagined.
Time Away from Lessons
As important as music lessons are, it’s equally important to take some time away from them. Don’t sit and hover over your kids to make them play the piano or guitar all the time. Step away from the teacher role and just be their mom.
When lessons are over and they don’t need to practice because it’s done for the day, connect with them through other activities. Play a family game, watch a movie, volunteer as a scout leader, or just sit back and snuggle on the couch with them. The sky is the limit here. But they need mom more than a teacher. And you teach out of love for them because you are their mom. Don’t forget that.
And mama, take time for yourself. Burnout is easy but avoid it. It’s not good for you, your spouse, or your kids. Schedule some free time to recharge. In the end, you will better serve your family if you take the time you need rather than try to be a superwoman.