If your child doesn’t want to practice or you want to know how to get your kid started in music, there’s one thing you can do. This one thing is so simple but unknown to most people. And it’s a secret that a huge number of music teachers don’t know about either.
I’ve done a ton of research on how to raise musical kids, and I’ve worked with hundreds of parents and music teachers as well. You see, when kids don’t want to practice, it doesn’t mean they lack innate talent for music or that they are not meant to play an instrument. Usually, what has happened is that too much emphasis is placed on practice. Yes, kids need to practice in order to get better at their instrument. But music is a language and languages are never learned in isolation. We learn to speak in communities. That’s how our kids learn to speak their mother tongue. They hear it all around them. Hours and hours of it and for many months and years before uttering their first word. Likewise, kids must hear music all around them. They must be soaking in music day and night. So here’s the secret: bathe your child in music.
Often, our kids spend 30-60 minutes in a music lesson and then come home to practice alone. If they were learning Italian and only spent 30-60 minutes a week with their Italian teacher, would we expect them to practice Italian all by themselves? I hardly think so. We know that they must listen to others speak Italian and be engaged with Italian speakers throughout the week in order to learn that language. But what often ends up happening when kids learn music is that they are suddenly expected to make music alone or have so little musical input that they hardly know how the music they are playing is supposed to sound.
Remember this secret: Surround your child with music. Lots of it. Hours and hours of it. Every day. Eventually, you will see a huge difference. I promise. If you do this, your child will want to make music.
Here’s a simple way to think about it:
The more your child hears music, sees people making music, and is making music with other people, the easier it will be to get them to practice. In fact, kids who are saturated with music often don’t even think that practice is hard and instead run happily to their instruments.
If you’re trying to figure out how to get your kid started with music, begin with a daily musical bath. Play music around the house, sing to your child, have dance parties, and watch videos of musicians.
I work with parents on how to bathe their children in music and how to support music practice, and this process can be quite fun. In fact, a lot of parents talk about how much more connected they feel with their kids after taking my class “How to Raise a Musical Child.” We are, after all, looking for deeper connections with our children. The love we feel for them makes us do all that we can, and one of the best things we can do is give them the gift of music. Start today and watch the magic unfold. 🎶