We’ve discovered that American parents aren’t the only ones who struggle to get their older kids to play music. We came across an article in the Irish Times that offers parents advice on how to motivate older children to continue with their music making.
While parents see the value of music lessons– from enhanced brain development to better emotional control to improved test-taking skills — teens might not see much benefit as they get older. At this point in their lives, students are pulled in different directions — homework and other extracurricular activities, mixed in with a burgeoning social life.
As their commitments increase, their commitment to music can decrease. This trend, however, baffles Nigel Flegg, head of education at the National Concert Hall.
“It’s very ironic that this fall-off in music in the early teenage years coincides with when most teenagers are becoming passionately interested in music,” says Flegg to the Irish Times. “You have this situation where people are giving up the instruments they played for so long, but suddenly they’re passionate about playing music in bands.”
So, what can do parents and educators do to keep the spark alive?
Make the music they play relevant to their lives and current musical interests, the Irish Times says. Although there is a deep value in learning classical music, encourage your child to play a variety of music including jazz and pop. You also might be surprised to discover how many pop bands have sheet music. Check out Arcade Fire and Beck’s song book (it was mentioned in our holiday gift post).
What do you think? How do you keep your teen engaged in music lessons?
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