Article by Gerald Crawford
Music can play a very important part in many people’s lives and while it is enjoyable to listen to and to play, it can also offer theraputic benefits as well. If you can introduce music at an early age, then your children will become more comfortable with the concept of learning to play. Even if you are not musically inclined, it can still be implemented if approached in the correct manner.
Music was always a part of my life when I was growing up. Dad taught me to play the guitar when I was young, and the guitar was always at hand in the living room proudly displayed on its stand. My parents also played music in the home and quite often Dad allowed me to play his records even though he worried about me scratching them. Even at that young age I recognised and respected that.
One important thing is to allow your children to decide for themselves what it is they want to play. There really is no point in choosing the type of instrument you want them to play. It’s got to be their choice, and it’s got to be enjoyable.
Once they can play a few simple tunes they will experience the satisfaction and personal reward that one gets from creating their own music. That’s when they will begin to really look at the variety of instruments available and which one they are drawn towards.
Here are some tips which can help you in teaching music to your children in your homeschool:
1. Keep instruments readily accessible.
There is an old saying which says that if you want to achieve something then you should visualize it. This can apply to teaching music at home as well. If you want your children to have more passion for music, then you should place their musical instruments in places where they will spend most of their time.
Children are inquisitive beings and will pretty much automatically follow their curiousity, and they will spend more and more time on their instruments in their free time. This can be very motivating for them and can help them in developing the art of playing music.
Whenever they are not playing their instruments don’t put them away in their cases or in a cupboard. Invest in a stand for the instrument to be on display and accessible. This can also add a nice feature to the room and creates a talking point for the children when visitors come calling.
I used to put my guitar away in its case when I had finished playing it, but I quickly learned that it was far better to keep it in the room and visible. I was much more likely to pick it up and even if it was for only ten or fifteen minutes at a time, it still added to my playing time.
2. Find a patient music teacher.
One good approach is to find a music teacher even if it’s just for a short time in the early days to get your children up and running. The teacher should be very adjustable, should have patience with kids, and should have a full dedication and passion towards music. A teacher who has respect for his profession can really act as a role model for your children.
Teaching music can be a tedious process at times. The teacher should be innovative in his methods. Each child has different ways of understanding things and it is very important for the teacher to realize this.
Your children will also feel more comfortable adjusting with someone closer to their own age. New teachers who are fresh from music education will be more excited to teach the music lessons they have just qualified to teach. Their rates will be competitive, and they will be more than likely to relate to children. You can inquire about new teachers by looking at the local colleges or community centers.
3. Get help from other homeschoolers.
Trading resources with other homeschoolers can be very cost effective and quite easy. You can trade music lessons from a parent who is musical for something you are good at. Even if they are perhaps only a novice guitarist they should be capable of offering beginner guitar lessons. This will help your children to learn music in a like-minded environment and will also help to increase your relationships within the community. This is a common practice among friends. After I learned the basics of playing the guitar from Dad, he got his friend Andy who played in a band and ran guitar courses for beginners to give me lessons. In return, my dad serviced his car.
4. Give technology a try.
In today’s world, a wealth of information can be found online. There are many music classes available on the internet. Video conferencing has also made learning from a distance very easy and affordable. You can choose the times that you want to practice and so gives you a lot of flexiblity.
5. Give your kids confidence.
If your child is already showing great interest in a particular musical instrument then take the plunge and just buy it for them as long as it’s affordable. Buy an inexpensive model to start with and if he is serious about learnig to play, he will prove it so that he can get the actual model he really wants.
Continually encourage and praise their progress. I don’t mean by continually asking them what new songs they learned this week, but rather allow them the time and space and let them come to you, because once they have learned something new you will be the first to know. Show them how impressed you are when they do.
By showing a child real recognition for his achievements, you are creating the most powerful and positve effect on his self image.
About the Author: Gerald Crawford lives in the small town of Tandragee in Northern Ireland and was taught the basics of how to play by his father. Gerald inspires others to do the same at Guitar Inspired. He realised at a young age that no matter what type of instrument you want to learn to play, the main ingredients are practice, patience, and encouragement. His son Gary now plays guitar, and his daughter Carla reached grade 7 in piano and now plays keyboards in a local band called R51.