“You’ll regret it when you’re grown up”. The words my Mum used when I’d begged and begged her to stop my piano lessons, which seemed to go on my entire childhood, yet never once saw me achieve a single grade, and had me in tears, hiding in the kitchen from the two hundred year old guy who came to our house to teach my brother and I each week.
Of course, we won the battle, but boy was Mum right. What I’d give to be able to throw a party trick like pulling up a stool at the piano and knocking out a few singalongs at a social gathering.
Later in life I convinced myself it was never too late to headline glasto, and popped a guitar on my Christmas list. At twenty something I scoured you tube, printed out basic sheet music at work and taught myself the odd Oasis or Snow Patrol number. The day my future hubby moved in I think the novelty wore off and I couldn’t subject his poor ears to my shocking singalongs any more, which have gone down in history with friends as some of the funniest end of a night out moments (why do we think we rock at anything when hammered – not least being a rock god).
So piano and guitar legend I am not. And now I’m a Mum, I’d love to try and get my kids interested in music, in a natural and gentle way. Nathan Holder, musician and new author based in London. He’s just released a book entitled ‘I Wish I Didn’t Quit: Music Lessons’ which is a guide for parents of musical children.
The book centres around the fact that many young people start playing an instrument, become bored, quit and later regret that decision. Parents have a large part to play when it comes to the environment their children are in and their schedules, as well as understanding important aspects such as understanding talent and managing expectations. It’s targeted at parents who have children in between the ages of 5-16.
Nathan has offered us as parents some of these fabulous tips and a copy of his book in the giveaway on my GIVEAWAYS page here.
5 Musical Activities to do with your child.
Listen to music together
Take advantage of the school run or time doing household chores by listening to music together. If your child is playing the violin, listen to musicians playing the violin. Try to find as many different styles as you can to help your child understand that the violin isn’t just an instrument that plays classical music.
Talk about music
Don’t just listen to music, talk about it! There may be some popular music that you don’t like, but your child loves! Instead of ignoring it, listen and discuss with your child. Not only will it help them to express how the music makes them feel, but you might end up liking some of it yourself!
Let them teach you
Teaching is one of the best ways to help consolidate learning. Ask your child to act as a teacher and teach you a few things on their instrument. It will help to give them added confidence and help them to really think about what and how they are practising and learning.
TV is your friend
Commercial breaks often use upbeat and catchy music to help sell products. Encourage your child to clap the rhythms of the songs your hear with you, or learn the melodies on their instrument.
Go to concerts
If you can, try and see as much live music as possible. Listening to music is fun, but the experience of seeing a live band/orchestra or singer-songwriter can be a life changing experience. If you can’t go to any concerts, take the time to watch musicians playing on YouTube and then talk about it!