When you were a little kid, there’s a good chance that your parent encouraged you to take piano or singing lessons. Lots of children start their training early and for good reason – studies have shown that learning an instrument can improve a child’s capacity for learning new languages, planning and time management, as well as building up their confidence and creativity. It’s also easier to keep up with your training if it becomes second nature. As an adult, making time to practice can be almost impossible. However, by easily scheduling violin, guitar or drum lessons in your children’s itinerary, you can make music a vibrant part of their life.
Start by having a conversation with your child about what instrument they’d like to play. While they’ll eventually be introduced to a whole roster of brass, woodwinds and even an entire rhythm section if they take music in middle school and high school, it’s much more beneficial for them to play something they love. Their enthusiasm will play a valuable role in encouraging them to keep up with their rehearsals and recitals and it will minimize the complaints and arguments too. While your child may not be a prodigy like Mozart (who was already composing his own music and playing for royalty at age five!), they can develop a life-long skill that will serve them well. You can push this forward by encouraging them practice, supporting their choicesand recruiting the best teacher around.
Start by visiting a great music shop in your area. Many of the best music chains will have a children’s section with smaller, more affordable options. Long &McQuade is known as the largest music chain in Canada, with 65 stores across the country. They offer a variety of music lessons in-store at every location with no registration fee. Whether your child wants to be study for their piano exams or just rock out in the garage, their instructors can accommodate them. Furthermore, parents should check out their “Rock Skool” program where kids can actually learn through the process of becoming a real rock n’ roll band. (For more information, head to Long-mcquade.com.)
This summer, instead of sending your daughter to a sleep-away camp, try the Girls Rock Camp where girls aged 8 to 16 can learn how to play guitar, drums or bass, write a song and perform it live at a end of camp concert in front of 200 screaming fans. The tuition is sliding scale and is all set to encourage young women to rock and roll. There’s also the National Music Camp of Canada (featuring courses as diverse as beginning strings, classical/acoustic guitar and junior jazz band). With three months of full immersion, your kid could walk away a fully-fledged musician in no time. Furthermore, it’s something they’ll carry with them for the rest of their life. At the risk of sounding cheesy, learning how to play music is a gift. Share it with your children.