For parents of children who have been playing an instrument for years, when your child announces that they would like to pursue a different instrument it can feel like a gut punch. The desire to learn a new instrument can conjure up all sorts of emotions and questions. After all, it’s a big investment financially and timewise. For many children, this topic comes up after years of learning the piano with their piano teacher. The piano is often the gateway instrument for many young children, so the decision of whether or not to switch is a common one amongst parents of young pianists.
For young kids, piano teachers often instill in their young subjects the foundations of what it means to be a musician in the first place. In order to master the piano, students can undergo piano lessons for kids and develop dexterity by using both hands and reading both clefs of music simultaneously. The benefits of learning piano are many- it’s typically an easily accessible instrument. It’s great for impromptu entertaining at parties! But, it can also be an isolating instrument if children are not playing as part of a band. So, when considering whether or not to switch your child to a different instrument, you need to understand if you’re completely switching, or you’re simply adding a new instrument? Understanding this and more will help you make the right decision for your child’s unique circumstances. To help guide you in your decision-making, here are 4 helpful questions to ask before switching instruments:
1. How much time has my child already spent on this instrument?
This is an important first question to ask. No one likes doing something they’re not good at, and this especially applies to a child learning an instrument for the first time. They might think they’ll love it at first and they just don’t. Or, they might perceive the initial learning curve to be too much and they want to quit. If your child hasn’t spent that much time with the instrument initially, you might want to encourage them to hold out – it can take time to develop a love of playing an instrument. However, if your child has been playing the same instrument for years, has mastered the fundamentals, and still wants to switch, it seems worthwhile to entertain the topic.
2. What is the reason for wanting to switch?
Similar to the first question, it’s important to get to the heart of the issue. Is your child bored of their current instrument? In need of a new piano teacher? Intimidated by the learning curve of truly mastering their instrument? Getting to the bottom of this desire to switch may take some time, but it’s important to understand what is at the root cause of the urge to switch. If not for the right reasons, your child will likely find themselves in a similar situation again.
3. Is it the music or the instrument?
Often children will think that they don’t enjoy playing an instrument because they’re not enjoying the types of music they’re playing! For children, learning the skills of playing the piano from skilled piano teachers might involve playing well-known classical pieces. The best way to test if it is the music or the instrument is to have them play the music they enjoy.
4. Have they enjoyed their current instrument?
Perhaps your child has been learning the fundamentals of playing the piano from their piano teacher, but has never performed in front of a crowd. Or, perhaps your child has never played with other musicians their age in a group or band setting. There are many aspects to playing music that can be enjoyable, and not every child reacts positively to the same scenarios. Even if your child does enjoy playing their instrument by themselves, experiencing the joy of playing music in some capacity should be a barometer with which you decide whether or not your child would enjoy an additional or new instrument.
As you can see, deciding whether or not to switch instruments can be a big decision worthy of some intentional dialogue between you and your child. Every child’s situation is unique, but if your child is eager to switch instruments, Lessons in Your Home offers a wide variety of piano teachers, violin teachers, voice instructors- and more. They can either come to your home to teach or can also provide online music lessons. Our virtual music lessons are taught by local music teachers who plan their lessons to suit your child. Contact us today to find an instructor near you who will help your child master their skills.