How To Stop Kids From Quitting Music Lessons
Worried your child or pupil might want to stop learning music? Here are 7 tips on how to stop kids from quitting music lessons.
As any teacher or parent of a child who wants to play a musical instrument will tell you: sometimes, encouraging them to not quit can be an uphill struggle.
In fact, figures released from a study undertaken by guitar-making giants Fender indicated that as many as 90% of all new guitar students quit playing within their first year!
So, what can be done to help stop kids from quitting music lessons?
You can talk to the child about how much money has been invested in their lessons and instrument, how music lessons can be beneficial to their development, and maybe even try to convince them how good they’re getting, but if all they want to do is run off and play Fortnite with their friends this probably won’t help.
Here we have compiled some helpful suggestions for both parents and teachers to consider when they find themselves in this situation. All with the aim to help encourage kids to continue with their music lessons.
1. Open Communication Is The Key
This may sound obvious, but it’s surprising at just how many tutors and parents can be blinded to the actual needs of the student, instead, focusing solely on lesson plans and time limits.
If your child is becoming disinterested in the instrument they’re playing or doesn’t seem too enthusiastic when lesson time is approaching, then approach their tutor for advice.
Communication works both ways too. If you’re a teacher and you’ve noticed your student is a little disinterested in your lessons or a little despondent, then talk to them: it may just be that they are struggling with a particular aspect of their instrument or lessons, but felt too shy to speak up.
Remember what it was like for you at that age if you struggled to play your instrument, and you’ll have a better idea of what’s going through their heads. We’ve actually covered how to retain music students in a previous blog, which is very handy when it comes to creating music lessons that are fun!
2. Make Sure They’re Learning The Correct Instrument
When it comes to a child learning an instrument, their choice can often be influenced by instrument availability, parental preference, or even gender bias – i.e. research has shown that younger male musicians often opt to play guitar, saxophone or drums, whilst younger females edge towards violins, flutes, and vocals.
However, as with all things, children should never feel that they have to conform to any stereotypes when it comes to choosing the right musical instrument for them.
Whilst changing from one instrument to another after several lessons can feel like an avoidable expense, it’s worth remembering that with the correct instrument a child will continue to grow and flourish, and will stick with their lessons for much longer.
3. Keep The Lessons Interesting
As a music teacher you should always ensure that lessons are relevant to each student’s musical and technical goals, but you also need to remember just how much of a chore it could feel when you were in their position.
It often helps if you talk to your student to not only ascertain what kind of music that they like listening to, but also what their favourite movie is or even what video games they like to play.
Learning songs or melody lines from something that they or their friends will recognise can often be the deciding factor in whether a student sticks with their chosen instrument, and can certainly help to build confidence along the way.
You can also make a list of what songs your student responds positively to, and then help them to discover similar-sounding songs that they may have previously been unaware of.
4. Consider A New Teacher
Whilst this is something that most tutors wouldn’t like to consider suggesting, it may be that they’re just not the right fit for the student.
This could be down to a clash of personalities, a dislike of the tutors teaching style, or even down to boredom if the child has worked with that particular teacher for some time.
People change – children especially – so it’s important to make sure you find a teacher who can cater to whatever direction your child’s interests are moving in.
Don’t forget to talk to your child about this: if they seem enthusiastic at the prospect of finding a new teacher, then this may be the best scenario for all involved.
MusicTeacher.com provides a massive database of music teachers local to you, so you always have options if your existing music teacher isn’t suitable.
5. Don’t Be Afraid To Join In
As a parent, if your child is particularly shy they may need a little extra encouragement during practice to keep them going.
In some cases, this may just mean sitting next to the child whilst they practice to show them you are as enthusiastic as they are, or even joining in with the lesson to learn the instrument at the same time so you can both practice together.
6. It’s Ok To Take A Break!
If a child or student tells you that they want to quit, it could just be that the pressure of regular practising is getting too much – especially when they have homework and exams to contend with too.
In fact, researchers in a 2009 UK study suggested that the majority of students dropping out of music lessons at age 10-11 was down to their progression on to high school.
In that case, talk to the child, and try to come to a compromise, such as “You can’t quit your lessons right now, but you don’t have to practice if you don’t want to.”
Whilst this may seem a little counter-productive, the reduced pressure to practice may work out for the better in the long run.
7. If All Else Fails…
…it’s ok for them to quit.
As much as music teachers and parents dislike the idea of their child/student giving up on an instrument, the most important thing to remember is it’s ultimately up to the student themselves whether they continue.
Sometimes all they will need is an extended break before returning to the instrument, maybe even years will pass before this happens, but at least they will be doing it because they want to – which can make all of the difference.
Some students may never pick up an instrument again in their life, but that’s also ok. Just remember: even if they don’t end up playing the instrument for life, they will still have learned valuable lessons along the way.
Are you looking find a music teacher near you? Are you looking for more music students?
Did you know that MusicTeacher.com has generated over 54,000 student inquiries for music teachers? Thousands of students and parents are actively searching for teachers in their area and using musicteacher.com to find the perfect music tutor.
This could be you! MusicTeacher.com puts your profile in front of thousands of potential students.
Creating a profile is simple and FREE. It’s the easiest way for music students to find a music teacher close to them or online!
Create your profile today and join the growing community of professional music teachers expanding their client list through our platform.
If you need a music teacher in your area, MusicTeacher.com is the perfect solution to finding high quality music teachers.
We hope these tips helped you when it comes to understanding why or discouraging children from quitting music lessons. Good luck!