Music Lessons

Helping your child hit the high notes

Education is about more than reading, writing and arithmetic. Music lessons are a valuable form of enrichment for young minds. Learning to play an instrument has several long-term benefits. The first is obvious: If your child sticks with the lessons long enough, he or she will gain the ability to make music, both for his or her own enjoyment and for that of others. But even if your child never masters an instrument, any lessons taken will not be wasted. Your child will still learn some basic music theory and history that will deepen his or her appreciation of music for the rest of his or her life.

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There are indirect benefits to musical education, as well. Many instruments, such as piano or flute, help to develop manual dexterity. The regular practice necessary to learn an instrument teaches discipline and commitment. Performing in recitals can build self-confidence. If your child joins a band or orchestra, he or she will learn teamwork and cooperation. Furthermore, some studies have even shown that music lessons can lead to an increase in children's IQ scores and school performance. So, even if your son or daughter isn't the next Mozart or Madonna, musical education is rarely a waste.

Choosing an Instrument

There are so many musical instruments to choose from. Your choice will depend partly on your child's preference, but also on your budget and noise tolerance. Here are some quick pros and cons of popular instruments:

Choosing an Instructor

Music teachers advertise in the phone book, at music stores and through community music centers. Guitar lessons and drum lessons are very often offered through the store where you bought your instrument. The best way to find an instructor, though, is through word of mouth.

Ask around to find a good teacher who offers the style of lessons you prefer. Especially in the case of piano and violin, there are many different methods and philosophies of teaching music. Piano lessons are usually given in the instructor's home or at a music school, although some teachers offer the convenience of coming to your home once a week. Your child can take private violin lessons or enroll in a violin class with several other students. The latter option may be cheaper.

Online music lessons may be cheaper still – in fact, many are free. A young child will need help interpreting these lessons, though, and unless you are musical yourself, you may not feel up to the task. In the end, nothing beats having a professional coaching your child in person.

Starting your child in music lessons is not a passing whim. It requires a large financial investment, and a commitment to daily practice which you, the parent, will need to enforce. If you can muster the time and money, however, your child will reap the rewards.