Senior Instructor at Halifax Guitar Lessons
The great news is that your child has started to learn to play guitar!! That’s excellent.
There is a lot of research that shows learning a musical instrument helps children in many ways and these benefits will help them today and for life.
It was an easy decision because they were asking you to learn guitar for a while now and they seemed inspired to learn once you committed to it and bought them a guitar.
However, you are starting to wonder if it was the right decision. Your child has to constantly be reminded about their guitar and it seems they would rather play video games or do other things than play it.
What went wrong?
How Do You Get Them To Practice?
Finding a way to get your child to practice guitar can be daunting.
If you use the wrong approach you can easily turn them off from guitar and music entirely. That’s definitely not the result we want.
There are too many benefits to learning an instrument so we want them to stick with it.
You can try to force them by threatening to take away their guitar, you can ground them if they do not practice, you can take them out of lessons for not practicing.
Those tactics may work at first but typically only for a short time. I do not recommend any of those.
So, what do you do?
The Beginning Is The Least Fun
It helps to know why they are not practicing their guitar and why video games or other things are seemingly more important to your child.
Think about it this way. We are all wired to avoid pain and seek pleasure. That’s a foundational human characteristic and applies whether you are an adult or a child.
Learning to play guitar can be fun but that usually does not come until a basic skill level has been built up. The very start of learning the instrument is definitely the most difficult.
Naturally, kids will gravitate to activities that are going to give them the biggest rewards and guitar is not going to be at the top of the list. It’s going to be lower.
That does not mean it will stay there. If you give them time and the opportunity children will get the skills they need and guitar will become more fun.
That’s when it can and should overtake other activities and be something the reach for more often and without being reminded.
The key is getting them there in the easiest and most fun way possible so they do not quit before they reach a basic skill level.
Find Them A Great Guitar Teacher
The key to getting your child on the path to success with guitar is to find them a great guitar teacher.
Someone who will find their strengths and help leverage those so they learn to succeed, even with guitar, even when it is harder at the start.
A great guitar teacher will make lessons fun for your child and at the same time challenges them and find innovative ways to help them progress.
Such a teacher will not overwhelm or push your child too far but they will also not let them stagnate.
They will help keep you up to date on your child’s progress and answer any and all of your concerns that you may have about your child’s development.
Support Them Every Step Of The Way
How do you do that? For starters give them genuine praise based on their efforts, not their performance.
What do I mean?
Well, if they go to guitar lessons without being forced to go then praise them for that effort. When they do pickup, their guitar focus your praise more on the fact they made the effort. And if they did it without you reminding them give them even more praise. That’s a pretty grownup thing to do!
Another thing you should do is be on constant communication with their teacher. Find out what they have been learning and how they are putting in the effort in class. Then praise that too!
You can certainly remind them in a nice way that you enjoy when they practice guitar too. If you do it the right way they will see guitar in a positive light instead of negative.
Also make sure to get them the best guitar for their needs, find them a great teacher and then enjoy the process with them!