Should my child learn how to play an instrument?
The standard answer to this question is an unqualified yes, most children should learn to play a musical instrument. Children learn discipline from the rehearsal process, self-expression from performance and social interaction from group studies. A child can definitely benefit from learning a musical instrument at an early age, since many professional musicians credit their early experiences with developing a life-long passion for music. Even if a child discovers other interests later in life, the discipline required to maintain and play a musical instrument could prove useful in other situations.
There is one thing that many parents don't discover until it's too late. Allowing a child to learn a musical instrument also means a parent needs to prepare for repetitive scales, loud noises and frequently missed notes. A child's interest in a musical instrument, especially a loud or amplified one, is destined to involve the entire family, whether voluntarily or involuntarily. The rehearsal process is a vital part of learning a musical instrument, but one child's rehearsal room may often be another man's den or basement.
Children should definitely be encouraged to try out different artistic outlets, including music, theater, creative writing and dance. If a young child shows a clear interest in a toy musical instrument, then parents may want to consider taking that interest to the next level. Pressuring a child to take up a musical instrument for other perceived benefits, however, is rarely a good idea. Every child should have the right to pursue a creative outlet based on his or her personal interests and skills, and if it happens to be learning a musical instrument, then parents should understand it takes time and practice to develop solid performance skills. A parent's role in a young musician's life may be to push him or her to a higher level of performance.
Scientific research on the neurological and developmental effects of music has fascinated educators and parents with the possibility of children's learning enhancement. Compared to the long history of research on language, our scientific understanding of music is new. Fortunately for parents, enriching our children's lives with music can be easily and pleasantly accomplished. From soft music in the nursery to musical toys and dance lessons, encouraging music involvement in a fun way strengthens children's educational, physical, and emotional development.
So, does your child show potential?