Summer is quickly approaching, which means you’re probably lining up activities to keep your child occupied — and learning — during the extended school recess.
While you may be partly excited about filling their schedules with sleepaway camp, Girl Scout troops, and art classes, you may also feel like you’re missing out on valuable time with your favorite kiddo. What if there was a way to combine an enriching summer experience with quality time together? Through music lessons, you can do just that!
Types of parent-child music classes
Regardless of your musical background, enrolling in lessons with your child gives you a chance to learn a skill from their point of view and model behaviors like commitment, perseverance, and patience. But most importantly, it gives you an opportunity to have fun together! Just as this experience may bring out something new in you, it also gives you a chance to see a different side of your child as they embrace the successes (and stumbles) of learning an instrument.
There are a number of common parent-child music classes out there, ranging in age from infants to teens. A few of these common programs include:
‘Mommy and Me’ Classes
Babies and toddlers are natural explorers. As their little brains and bodies grow, they crave opportunities for stimulation and activation. ‘Mommy and me’ music classes offer sensory-rich environments for young children to explore, play with different colors and textures, react to new sounds, and socialize with others. It’s also a chance to expose young kids to other languages and cultures through different types of music or instruments.
Parent-Child Piano Lessons
There’s a reason why piano is among the easiest instruments for children to learn. Size aside, the piano provides visuals to learn pitch, fundamentals of theory, and how to read sheet music — in other words, a great overall foundation for learning the fundamentals of music! For parents of children aged 6 and up, taking joint piano lessons offers a great opportunity to start with the basics and perhaps even progress to playing an ensemble piece together.
Mixed Age Classes
These lessons may refer to classes where children of different ages learn together or, in this case, where children have the opportunity to connect with grandparents (playing an instrument in retirement does offer benefits!) or elders in their community over the joy of music. Whether they are teaming up with a beloved grandparent or participating as a form of community service, teenagers may find this opportunity especially rewarding as they discover music’s wonderful power to transcend generations and bring a smile to all.
What Role Should Parents Play in Their Child’s Music Lessons?
While a teacher’s role is to guide their student in learning and practicing an instrument, parents play a vital part in keeping their child motivated to learn. Just as you may do when your child takes up a new sport, carving out consistent practice time at home goes a long way in helping students reach their music goals.
Parents and teachers should work closely together in these efforts, regularly checking in to understand what’s going well and where the child may be struggling.
The beauty of taking a lesson with your child is that you get to see this progression firsthand — and understand how and when to best supplement their learning at home. Plus, you can extend the quality time you’re spending together in lessons at home by setting up a regular, joint practice schedule.
Benefits of Parent-Child Music Lessons
It’s hard to overstate the benefits of music education for people of all ages. From babies to retirees, music has the ability to exercise our brains and challenge us to think creatively while pursuing a new skill. Taking music lessons together with your child brings these benefits to a new level — here’s how:
- Boosts self-esteem: Learning a musical instrument is one of the many things you can do to develop your self-confidence. For kids and adults, music lessons require you to persevere through moments of triumph and difficulty. Adopting and modeling a “growth mindset” for your child — whereby you lean into hard work, practice, and feedback from others — helps both of you progress in your music education and apply the same attitude to other aspects of your life.
- Enhances your bond and trust: There’s nothing like quality time with your child! Enrolling in music lessons together codifies this into your weekly routine, so you know that no matter how hectic your lives get, you can always count on this distraction-free time together. Additionally, it gives you a chance to be a bit more vulnerable than usual with your child, which shows them it’s okay to make mistakes! Learning and growing alongside each other will enhance your parent-child bond and deepen trust.
- Builds academic and social-emotional skills: They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but beginners of any age are always welcome in music lessons! Learning an instrument challenges adults and children alike to think abstractly and creatively about math and art. Playing in a small group (or even in front of a private instructor) will further probe your social skills and push you to gain comfort interacting with and performing around others.
- Improves listening skills: In both attentiveness and finding pitch, listening to music requires students to hone in on specific sounds and tune out background noise. This focus requirement is beneficial for children (and adults) with learning differences, as it necessitates a high degree of concentration. Taking time to separate your mind from the daily stressors of work, grocery lists, and carpool schedules via music lessons allows you and your child to pause and focus your attention on one thing, together.
Frequently Asked Questions About Parent and Child Music Lessons
Author: Megan Walcek
Megan brings nearly a decade of nonprofit and for-profit marketing and communications experience to her role of Staff Writer at Ensemble Music Schools. She has dedicated her professional career — first at the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and presently at GreatSchools.org — to advancing children’s health and education. Megan graduated with honors from Harvard University with a degree in Human Evolutionary Biology and Global Health & Health Policy and currently resides in New York.
Last concert attended: P!nk at Madison Square Garden