Children love sounds and nothing captures their attention like music does. But, before you send your child for music classes, here are a few things you should know.
By Arun Sharma
Children are born with a natural affinity for music, which is apparent right from the time they are born. Music benefits children in many ways. Listening to music helps them understand and differentiate various sounds, dancing to music helps them gain physical strength and limb coordination, and trying to learn and play music enhances their creativity. However, before your child begins his music lessons, there are some things you should know. Let’s read on to find out what they are.
The right age to start: This is one of the key factors in determining how well a child would do when it comes to learning music. Enrolling a child in a music class earlier than the right age can make her feel overwhelmed and confused, and lose interest. Also, playing different musical instruments requires different levels of physical dexterity, which children acquire only after they achieve certain physical milestones. So, before you enrol your child in a music class, find out if your child is at the right age to begin to learn music or to play the instrument of his choice.
Instructor and curriculum: With the surging interest in music in the recent years, there has been a proliferation of music schools. However, not all of them quite measure up to the expected standards. So, while choosing a music school, enquire about the instructor’s credentials. Seek information about the instructor’s professional experience, teaching style and her ideas about what her students should achieve. Sometimes, learning from a renowned professional can be a double-edged sword. Due to her professional commitments, she may not be able to focus as much on your child as she should. Also, enquire about the curriculum followed by the music school—some curricula focus on refining the creative aspect of the learners while some give preference to teaching marketable music skills.
Group classes or private lessons: Usually group classes work best during the initial days when classes are limited to theory and familiarisation with the instrument. But, once the lessons get tougher, where the child must start taking his lessons seriously, taking private lessons makes more sense. In one-on-one classes, the instructor is able to modify the lessons to suit the student’s skill level. Also, the instructor can vary the pace of learning to suit the student’s learning ability, which is not possible in group classes.
Learn at home or at music school: Due to various reasons like safety and security of the child or distance from the music school, some parents make arrangements for teaching music at home. While the home provides a safe and comfortable environment, and saves the trouble of travel, it is not necessarily the best place to learn. There can be a lack of structure in the way lessons are imparted. Also, factors like the ringing of phones, the sound of TV or music from neighbouring houses, or children playing noisily can prove to be distracting to the child and affect his learning. Learning in a music school has its own set of advantages, like learning from a pool of well-trained teachers, benefitting from the experience of listening to seniors, and deriving motivation from peers. Also, the curriculum in a music school has to be completed within a certain time frame, because of which the lessons are taught in a systematic manner.
Cost versus gain: Gauging this can be very tricky. Most schools next door employ novices as teachers and claim to provide music lessons at a fraction of the price of classes in a reputed school. This might have a bearing on the quality of lessons imparted. On the other hand, sometimes, even after enrolling your child in a reputed music school, you may find that that he is not making much progress. The bottom line is that neither prestigious schools nor reputed teachers come with any guarantees. It depends on your child’s ability to capitalise on the opportunity provided to him.
While learning music can bestow multiple benefits on your child, making a wrong choice with regard to her training can put paid to all the efforts. So, before you enrol your child in music lessons, do ensure that you are making the right choice.
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