How Much Say Should Your Child Have In Picking An Instrument To Play?

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For many kids, music lessons are a favorite part of their academic routine. This enjoyment directly stems from their engagement and interest in music. As instructors and parents, our focus should be on maintaining their interest and engagement in music lessons. Music is not just fun; it also teaches countless valuable skills.

The Big Question: How Much Say Should Your Child Have?

When the time comes to choose what they’re going to play, you may be wondering, “How much say should I let my child have?” The short answer is—most of the say!

The Epidemic of Short-lived Musical Interests

In my experience, there’s an ongoing issue of kids joining music programs and them quitting a couple of years later. Sure, music can be difficult to stick with in the short term…however, many of them regret leaving that part of their lives behind. I believe this is due to a lack of genuine interest in music when they are actually involved in it.

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Guiding Your Child’s Choice

Here’s my idea on how to prevent this quick burnout: guide your children in making an informed decision about what instrument they will play. Yes, the clarinet looks like black licorice, and yes, the trombone can make ridiculous sliding sounds. But are those compelling reasons for choosing these instruments for their music lessons? Likely not.

Personal Experience and Its Impact

To cite a personal example, I chose the clarinet for a specific reason. I loved playing the recorder in 4th grade and missed it dearly when we discontinued it in 5th grade. When the time came to choose an instrument in 6th grade band, the clarinet most resembled the recorder. And here I am, 16 years later, still loving it. Why? Because I had the choice, and that choice led to strong engagement in music where I now teach clarinet lessons for kids!

How to Gauge Your Child’s Interest

Sometimes, the answer won’t be as clear-cut as in my personal story. If that’s the case, turn to music for the answer. Listen to Yo-Yo Ma playing some Bach on the cello, or Martin Frost playing Mozart on his clarinet. More often than not, your child will click with one of them, and the choice will be easy! If not, take some time to think it over. Listen to lots of different examples and let the sound of the instrument speak for itself.

Avoiding the Trap of Difficulty Level

NEVER choose an instrument based on how easy or hard you think it might be! Even if it ends up being challenging, your child’s interest in music is far more important. With that interest, they are more willing to put in the effort to overcome challenges. Enrolling in music lessons will help set your child on the right path in their journey to become excellent musicians.

Parental Guidance and Final Say

Of course, you are the parent, and you have the ultimate final say. If you don’t think they can reliably hold up a tuba or you can’t afford a certain instrument, have a dialogue with your child about it. The key is to help them understand the practicality of their choice, not to outright deny it without discussion. This way, you’re also helping them develop into reasonable, logical adults.

Get Started with Lessons In Your Home

Contact us today to find out more about our teachers and lessons. We provide lessons for many different types of instruments, and we’re happy to talk with you and to discuss what instrument you and your child should pick up!