Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Lack of Engagement in Your Child’s Music Education Is Your Worst Enemy. 5 Ways To Defeat It

Most kids quit music lessons. It’s a fact, and parents don’t just fear it, they expect it. And they should. Children, when presented with a long­term challenge with mixed results and few immediate rewards, will beg to quit. It’s just not fun. And what parent wants to spend years and years dragging their kids around to something that they absolutely hate? Some kids don’t quit though. And research has attempted to find links between talent and engagement, or economic status, or technology. However, the findings from the studies from across North America came back with some rather unexpected results. Simply put, it comes down to engagement and motivation. Parents, teachers, and schools that create numerous and consistent opportunities to engage and reward their students (and their parents), had dramatically higher ‘stick’ rates than those that didn’t. So if you’re a parent who has a son or daughter, and you’re already having problems keeping them interested in music, here are 5 things that research has taught us, that you can put into practice right away. Because finding a way to keep your children in music is vitally important ­ because of course there’s even more research that proves that music dramatically enhances brain development, longevity, and overall cognition levels. There is no better ‘brain boost’ than music, so figuring this out is absolutely worth it. FRIENdS We all take cues from our friends and peers. If we’re doing something that our friends think is cool, or they are also doing it, we feel validated and a sense of belonging. If we’re spending time on an activity that our friends don’t understand, or can’t connect with, most people will disengage. For young children in music lessons, the same principle applies. If they can connect with other people their same age, who are also learning or experiencing music, then it helps them to feel like they are doing something relevant and ‘normal’. Tip: Find local choirs, bands, ensembles, or schools that encourage ensemble­ based performance or learning is a great way to create this social dimension. If they also form friendships with these people, the draw to maintain the music will become even stronger. HEROS Most life­long musicians, whether amateur or professional, will have a story about who inspired them to play. Maybe it was a famous rockstar. Maybe it was an uncle or cousin. But nearly always there is someone who inspired them to play ­ a musical “hero”. We all need heroes, and when you can attach music to some far ­off goal or ideal, its incredibly inspiring. Tip: If there are bands or musicians that both you and your child like, see if a concert or other live event is an option. Or take some time to suggest highly ­regarded musicians that are consistent with your son or daughter’s tastes. PURPOSE One of the biggest disconnections with music lessons and young people is that most teachers and schools don’t give real­ life ways to use the skills they’ve learned. To most kids, an exam, or a recital with a few relatives isn’t enough a good enough reason to learn a very difficult skill. It would be [...]

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