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Should You Make Your Child Play A Musical Instrument?

Should You Make Your Child Play A Musical Instrument?

I personally the desire to want the best for our children. We want them to excel academically, socially, and emotionally. One question that often arises is whether or not to make our children learn a musical instrument.

A child's hand hovers over a selection of musical instruments, contemplating whether to pick one up. A parent looks on, considering the benefits of encouraging their child to learn music

There are many benefits to learning a musical instrument, such as improved hand-eye coordination, increased social and academic growth, and even improved math skills. However, it’s important to consider whether or not forcing our children to learn an instrument is the best approach. It’s important to strike a balance between encouraging our children to try new things and allowing them to pursue their own interests.

Benefits of Musical Education

A child sits surrounded by musical instruments, absorbed in playing a melody. Books on music education and benefits are scattered nearby

As a music lover, I believe that learning to play a musical instrument is beneficial for children. In this section, I will explain the cognitive, emotional, social, and behavioral benefits of musical education.

Cognitive Development

Playing a musical instrument requires a lot of focus and concentration. Children who learn to play an instrument have better memory and can retain information better than those who don’t. It also improves their spatial-temporal skills, which are essential for understanding math and science concepts. According to a study by the University of Zurich, playing an instrument can increase the size of the brain’s corpus callosum, which connects the two hemispheres of the brain.

Emotional and Social Skills

Playing an instrument can be a great way for children to express their emotions. It can also help them develop empathy and compassion, as they learn to interpret and convey emotions through music. Learning to play an instrument can also improve social skills. Children who play in a band or orchestra learn to work together as a team, communicate effectively, and develop leadership skills. They also learn to appreciate different cultures and styles of music.

Discipline and Patience

Learning to play an instrument requires discipline and patience. Children who learn to play an instrument learn to set goals, practice regularly, and persevere through challenges. They also learn to manage their time effectively, as they balance their music practice with other activities. According to a study by the University of Kansas, children who learn to play an instrument have better self-control and are less likely to engage in risky behaviors.

Choosing the Right Instrument

A variety of musical instruments displayed on a shelf, with a child's hand reaching out to pick one

It is crucial to choose the right musical instrument for your child. The right instrument can help your child to enjoy playing music, develop their skills, and foster a lifelong love of music. Here are some factors to consider when choosing the right instrument for your child.

Child’s Interest and Aptitude

When choosing a musical instrument for your child, it is essential to consider their interests and aptitude. If your child is interested in a particular instrument, they are more likely to enjoy playing it and be motivated to practice. Additionally, it is important to consider your child’s aptitude for the instrument. Some instruments may be more challenging for beginners than others, and it is essential to choose an instrument that matches your child’s skill level.

Physical Considerations

Physical considerations are also important when choosing a musical instrument for your child. Some instruments may be too large or heavy for young children to handle comfortably. For example, a cello or double bass may be too large for a young child to play comfortably. Additionally, some instruments may require significant physical exertion, such as the trumpet or trombone, which require strong breath control.

Financial Implications

Finally, it is essential to consider the financial implications of choosing a musical instrument for your child. Some instruments may be more expensive than others, and it is important to choose an instrument that fits within your budget. Additionally, some instruments may require ongoing maintenance or repairs, which can add to the overall cost of ownership. It is important to factor in these costs when choosing an instrument for your child.

Age Considerations for Starting

A child's hand reaching for a musical instrument, surrounded by a variety of instruments and sheet music, with a parent looking on with a mix of encouragement and concern

As a music teacher, I am often asked about the best age to start learning a musical instrument. While there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, there are some age considerations to keep in mind.

Early Childhood

For children in early childhood, the emphasis should be on musical play and exploration. Children at this age are not yet ready for formal instruction, but they can benefit greatly from exposure to music. Singing, dancing, and playing simple percussion instruments like shakers and drums can help to develop a child’s sense of rhythm and pitch.

School Age

School-age children are generally ready to start learning a musical instrument. According to, the best age to start is around 5 years old, when children can sit and pay attention for half an hour. However, every child is different, and some may be ready to start earlier or later than this.

When choosing an instrument for a school-age child, it’s important to consider their interests, personality, and skill level. Some instruments, like the piano and violin, are good choices for beginners, while others, like the guitar and drums, may require more coordination and physical strength.


Adolescence can be a challenging time for learning a new instrument, as many teenagers are busy with school, extracurricular activities, and socializing. However, for those who are committed to learning, it’s never too late to start. In fact, ABC News notes that there is no age too young for children to begin learning music.

For teenagers who are just starting out, it’s important to choose an instrument that they are passionate about and that fits their personality and interests. It’s also important to find a teacher who can provide guidance and support as they learn. With dedication and practice, teenagers can develop their musical skills and enjoy the many benefits that come with playing an instrument.

Practice and Participation

A child sits in a well-lit room, surrounded by various musical instruments. They hold a sheet of music, their eyes focused and determined as they practice playing their chosen instrument

As a parent, I understand the importance of encouraging my child to play a musical instrument. However, the question arises, should I make my child practice an instrument? While there is no one-size-fits-all answer, I believe that setting a practice schedule, parental involvement, and balancing other activities are essential for encouraging your child to participate in music.

Setting a Practice Schedule

One way to encourage your child to practice is by setting a practice schedule. By setting a regular time for practice, your child will know what is expected of them and will be more likely to stick to it. It is important to make sure that the schedule is realistic and achievable, so your child does not feel overwhelmed.

Parental Involvement

Parental involvement is also crucial in encouraging your child to practice an instrument. By showing an interest in your child’s progress, you can motivate them to keep going. It is essential to provide positive reinforcement and praise your child’s achievements. You can also get involved in practicing with your child, which can make the experience more enjoyable for both of you.

Balancing Other Activities

While it is important to encourage your child to practice an instrument, it is equally important to balance other activities. It is not healthy for a child to focus solely on music and neglect other areas of their life. Encourage your child to participate in other activities they enjoy, such as sports or art. By doing so, you can help your child develop a well-rounded set of skills and interests.

Challenges and Solutions

Lack of Interest Over Time

One of the biggest challenges when it comes to making your child learn a musical instrument is the lack of interest over time. At first, your child might be excited to learn a new instrument, but as time goes on, they may lose interest and motivation. As a parent, it’s important to recognize this and find ways to keep your child engaged. One solution is to find music that your child enjoys playing and practicing. This could be anything from pop songs to classical pieces. It’s also important to encourage your child to set goals and celebrate their achievements along the way.

Frustration and Difficulty Levels

Learning a musical instrument can be frustrating, especially when your child is just starting out. It’s important to acknowledge that your child may struggle and experience difficulty levels. One solution is to break down the learning process into smaller, more manageable steps. This could involve practicing one section of a song at a time, or focusing on mastering a particular technique. It’s also important to encourage your child to take breaks and not become too discouraged. By taking a step back and coming back to the instrument with a fresh perspective, your child may find that they are able to overcome the challenges they were facing.

Time Management

Another challenge that parents often face when it comes to making their child learn a musical instrument is time management. Between school, homework, and extracurricular activities, finding time to practice can be difficult. One solution is to create a consistent practice schedule that works for both you and your child. This could involve practicing for a set amount of time each day, or setting aside specific days of the week for practice. It’s also important to make sure that your child has a designated practice space that is free from distractions. By creating a routine and a dedicated practice space, your child may find it easier to stay motivated and on track with their musical studies.

Educational Approaches

As a parent, I know that choosing the right educational approach for your child can be a daunting task. When it comes to learning a musical instrument, there are several different approaches to consider.

Traditional Lessons

Traditional lessons involve one-on-one instruction with a teacher. This approach can be beneficial for children who thrive in a structured environment and prefer individual attention. In traditional lessons, children learn to read sheet music and play songs on their chosen instrument. This approach can be more expensive than other methods, but it can also be more effective for children who are serious about pursuing music.

Suzuki Method

The Suzuki method is a popular approach to teaching music developed by Japanese violinist Shinichi Suzuki. This method emphasizes learning by ear and repetition, with a focus on developing a child’s listening and playing skills before introducing sheet music. The Suzuki method is often taught in group classes and can be a good fit for children who learn best through hands-on experience and social interaction.

Group Classes vs. Private Lessons

Another consideration when choosing an educational approach for your child is whether to enroll them in group classes or private lessons. Group classes can be a great way for children to learn in a social setting, develop teamwork skills, and make new friends who share their interests. Private lessons, on the other hand, can provide more individualized attention and allow children to progress at their own pace.

Performance Opportunities

As a parent, I want my child to have opportunities to showcase their musical skills and gain confidence in their abilities. Here are some performance opportunities that your child can consider:

Recitals and Competitions

Recitals and competitions are great ways for children to gain experience performing in front of an audience. They allow children to showcase their skills and receive feedback from judges or teachers. Some competitions may even offer scholarships or other awards to winners. As a parent, I would encourage my child to participate in recitals and competitions if they are interested and feel comfortable doing so.

School Bands and Orchestras

Joining a school band or orchestra is a great way for children to develop their musical skills and perform with other students. These groups often perform at school events, such as football games or concerts, and may even have the opportunity to perform at other venues in the community. As a parent, I would encourage my child to join a school band or orchestra if they are interested in playing with others and want to improve their skills.

Community Events

Community events, such as festivals or fairs, often offer opportunities for children to perform in front of a larger audience. These events can be a great way for children to gain exposure and build their confidence as performers. As a parent, I would look for community events that offer opportunities for my child to perform and encourage them to participate if they are interested.