Whether your kid is a brainy introvert or an outgoing social butterfly, learning an instrument and getting involved with a collaborative project could be an amazing outlet for them to express themselves and develop social skills as well as intelligence. As with foreign languages, the earlier somebody starts to learn music, the easier it will be for them to integrate the basic ideas and perform it in a fluid manner. We’ve all read about how the plasticity of the brain is reduced as we get older.
If your kid is a bit introverted, and perhaps more drawn to the likes of Johannes Brahms or Steve Reich than say, a Jimi Hendrix or a Robert Plant, a traditional instrument of classical music, such as a flute or a cello, could be the way to go. If your child has an appetite for destruction and simply wants to shred guitar or bang the drums like Keith Moon, electric guitar or percussion could be the right choice. By the same token, people don’t always fit neatly into stereotypes, and maybe your shy, intelligent child wants to rip wild riffs on a Stratocaster. Maybe your wild child wants to learn how to play Moonlight Sonata and take a moment to slow down.
While many people who learn an instrument are autodidactic learners, children often lack the self discipline and depth of concentration to be able to focus, bear down and put in the work. It might be a good idea to hire a properly trained teacher to help your child work towards mastering a given instrument. While he or she may be enrolled in the music program at their school, these programs are often understaffed and underfunded, so that one-on-one time with a private teacher will help them move forwards in leaps and bounds that might otherwise take ages. The vacation months are an especially good time to encourage your little ones to take up an instrument because they’ll have lots of free time on their hands, if you sign them up to take music lessons this summer holiday, it will also get them out of the house and away from their iPads and videogames.
A good teacher will be attentive to your kid and find a way to make the lessons exciting. Whether the pupil wants to imitate the cello stylings of Yoyo Ma or play a fat beat to their favourite hip-hop track, their teacher should be able to accommodate them. The bottom line is that if it isn’t fun, the student won’t be compelled to practice. The magic of music is that it is simultaneously fun and educational, so that your kid can develop their brain power while having a good time and doing something that will make them feel fulfilled.
Of course, practicing is an issue and in this respect, it’s good to use a light touch; to re-iterate: music is meant to be fun; if you put to much of an emphasis of the importance of hard work and try and force them to practice, it may put them off of it forever, and this would be a shame. Again, languages are a good comparison in the sense that many of us wish we’d been raised speaking more languages rather than being limited to just English. With music, it is very similar: it’s relatively easy to pick it up when your young but becomes more and more difficult as you get older and your brain becomes set in its ways. So don’t delay, get your kid involved in music classes today and help them develop into confident, intelligent adults!