As a parent, you want music lessons to be a positive experience for your child. But sometimes there is a disconnect between that desire and the actual day to day grind of lessons, practice time, and recitals. The good news is that your approach to your child’s music lessons can have a huge impact on his or her ultimate relationship with music in general.

Here’s my recipe for keeping music lessons fun and challenging:

  • Start at the right age.

Many people assume that all children are ready to begin music lessons at age five (or six, or seven). But that’s not necessarily the case. A child should have an attention span long enough to remain engaged through the entire lesson, generally 25 to 30 minutes. He should also show an interest in music and be demonstrating basic reading or pre-reading skills.

  • Set the right expectation for music lessons.

Don’t let your child choose whether or not he wants to take lessons. He most likely won’t. If you believe music lessons are important for your child and you want him to stick with it, then approach them as part of his education, just like math or science. And just like math or science, find ways to make it fun.

  • Choose an exceptional teacher.

A great teacher can make or break your child’s opinion about the value and enjoyment of music lessons. At Tampa Bay Music Academy, your child will learn from someone with more than two decades of experience as a student, teacher, and performer. A positive, upbeat approach to learning helps solidify a love for music that lasts a lifetime.

  • Make practice time rewarding.

Stickers, special treats, and outings for big accomplishments can all make practice time fun rather than a drudgery. Some ideas include a special toy as a reward for a specified number of practice hours, a special outing after the lesson, and going out for ice cream after a recital.

  • Provide opportunities to interact with musicians.

An inspiring role model can help your child see the value of hard work and persistence. Find ways for him to interact with musicians at church or school, take him to concerts, and invite your musical friends over to your house for a sing-a-long.

  • Cultivate appreciation for many types of music.

While certain instruments lend themselves to certain types of music (classical piano or jazz saxophone, for instance) that doesn’t mean your child should listen to and play only those styles. Encourage her to explore many different options and to appreciate not only her preferred style, but also a variety of folk, classical, and other styles in order to broaden her musical experience.

As a parent, you hold the key to your children’s enjoyment of music lessons. By helping them discover the beauty and value of music, you give them a gift that will serve them throughout their lives.