Help! My Child Wants to Play a Musical Instrument – Now What?
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Has your child come home from school and said they want to play a musical instrument? As a parent of many years in music lessons I wanted to help parents know where to start on their child’s musical instrument adventure!
At the age of 4 years old I begged and begged my mom to let me play the piano. She finally gave in and I went on to spend decades accompanying for traveling choirs, playing for weddings, aiding worship bands, and assisting vocalists for international competitions. Not only was it a great side income as a college student but it also helped land me a few scholarships.
But what you don’t hear in that story is the bewildered parent who knows nothing about instruments. Or the child who says they want to play everything under the sun but never actually practices. How much money does it cost to start playing an instrument? How do you know where to even start? I’m so excited to partner with Music & Arts store on this post. They have some of the largest instrumental and repair networks in the country and have been around since 1952!
Here are some tips and ideas for you when your child asks to take music lessons:
Tips for Choosing & Learning a New Musical Instrument:
- Visit a music store in person! You can talk about instruments and even research them online, but until your child gets the opportunity to hold and play an instrument in person, you won’t know if it’s right for them! Maybe they can’t stand how you need to hold a flute or the spit from a brass instrument or clarinet grosses them out. Maybe they just aren’t sure what they want to start with! Visit your local music store with instruments your child can see, touch and try out.
2. Rent your instrument. Unless of course your child wants to learn to play the piano, I highly recommend renting the instrument you have decided on for several reasons. For pianos I recommend starting with a keyboard unless you can invest in the moving and tuning costs of a piano.
- Ask your school’s music teacher! Many schools have access to instrument rental programs through Music & Arts. That means free delivery to participating schools, online and in store rentals, home delivery, free exchanges, etc.
- A good instrument can be costly and run upwards of thousands of dollars depending on what is chosen. And that’s if you even know what it is you actually need! You definitely don’t want to put that kind of money out unless you are certain your child will be dedicated to learning and using that instrument. Renting an instrument is simply the most affordable option for many families.
- Flexibility is key here – especially when it comes to kids! Chances are, over their childhood, they will want to try a variety of instruments. This allows you to swap out instruments without worrying about reselling them. A good music store like Music & Arts will allow you to put the cost of your instrument rental towards the purchase of that instrument. They will also have a variety of instruments on hand to test out and see which is the best fit for your child.
- Rentals typically come with included benefits! That means you might not be responsible for a broken string, repairing the instrument, etc. Music & Arts not only has the largest instrument rental program in the county but it also has the nation’s largest instrument repair network! You can easily have your child’s instrument and be back practicing in no time!
3. Make a commitment & set a schedule. Any time one of my children have asked to take instrumental lessons I sit down with them and require a commitment to practice. Practicing can be hard and boring sometimes so make sure your child understands up front what is required of them. This also means a commitment from the parent to drive their child to music lessons each week!
I recommend setting a specific time each day that your child knows about that is set aside to practice their music lessons. Then have them mark off a chart so they can monitor their progress through the month. You can print our free music practice schedule chart here! Scheduling a day off each week is not a bad idea!
4. Choose a good music teacher. This one can be tough for parents new to the music world! If you don’t know anything about music lessons, how do you know a good music teacher? Some schools offer their students lessons and others recommend them to in store lessons at their local music store. Ask about their experience, what instruments specifically they have experience in, and any other questions you have.
5. Learn & maintain proper instrument care. Ensure that your child knows how to properly care for their instrument! Whether they are oiling valves, moistening reeds, or tuning strings – doing routine maintenance on your musical instrument will go a long way in helping to prevent unnecessary accidents and repair.
6. Reward with music! One of my most exciting rewards as a musician was being able to go into my local music store and buy any one piece of sheet music I wanted! Usually I would pick up a movie theme song, Broadway musical or hit song and learn how to play something new! It will be investment in your young musician’s journey as well as an encouragement for a job well done!
JUST FOR MUSIC TEACHERS! Music & Arts has amazing educator resources on their blog! Read more about Band Fundraisers, Organization for Music Teachers, Raising Money for an Ensemble Trip, and more! You can also read more about how to set up various music labs in your school!
As always feel free to shoot me a message if you have any specific questions on music lessons or instruments – or leave a comment below! I’d be happy to help!
PRINT this FREE Music Practice Sheet!
About Music & Arts:
Established in 1952, Music & Arts is a retail music store than has an extensive network of musical instruments, instrument repair, music books, instrument accessories, and educational school programs. With over 130,000 products and 180+ stores, you’ll find the best products for your classroom and student at home. Register for in-store lesson studios, find school music lab resources, and even nominate your favorite full-time educator for a Music Educator of the Year award.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Music & Arts. The opinions and text are all mine.
It shouldn`t be too early that your child starts, but also not too late. In any case, it is a great way of having your child develop some skills and other perspectives which music brings into life.
I just randomly saw this and wondered if you guys have tried Play Piano in 30 Days? Been hearing a lot of good about it but was wondering if you guys had heard anything… ????
I have not! I’ve been playing for so long and teach more “old school” method (not Suzuki) so I’m unfamiliar with the quick learn-to-play methods.
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