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We all make mistakes. As parents, it’s easy to beat yourself up over any bad choices involving our kids. This can even happen while supporting them in their hobbies. Young musicians often pick up an instrument only to fall out of love with it in a short amount of time. What if you bought your son or daughter the wrong musical instrument? Is there something you should do or should you just let them make their own choices? If you’re feeling like you’ve made a mistake with your child because he doesn’t play his guitar the way he used to, there are a few things you can ask that will help you understand how to respond.
Why Did Your Child Want to Get Into Music in the First Place?
Thinking back on the early days of your teenager’s musical journey, what made them want to get involved in the first place? There are a few ways children pick up an interest in music. First, they may have an inherent thirst for it. Secondly, they might have seen friends learning to play instruments and wanted to be part of the fun. A third way kids choose to play a musical instrument is by their parents encouraging it. There’s nothing wrong with giving your son or daughter a gentle nudge toward music. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time you as a parent made a decision for them, hoping for the best outcome.
If your child doesn’t seem to have an interest in playing their instrument anymore, it could be that they were never really sold on the idea in the beginning. In that case, maybe it’s time to have a conversation about whether or not studying music is still something worth pursuing. There can be plenty of other reasons for this behavior, though.
How Can You Tell If You Choose the Wrong Musical Instrument?
Assuming the young musician in question does have a genuine interest in learning to play, how can we tell whether or not they dislike the instrument currently being taught? Maybe they have been dropping hints to let you know or conveniently “forgetting” to practice. It could be that they are still very interested in continuing to learn about music, but the current instrument has lost its shimmer in their eyes. Unless you spent a small fortune to provide your child with an exquisite piano or violin and they feel too bad to say anything, most kids will tell you how they feel about what they’ve been playing.
Try Different Methods
You may feel as though your daughter still loves her bass guitar, but she’s hit a plateau in her learning that is discouraging her from moving onward. Many kids start to lose interest when they feel their efforts aren’t producing the desired result. Before letting her give up for good, you may want to help her mix things up by scheduling some private lessons or enrolling her in a music camp. These are just two of the ways in which you can creativity and learning a major boost. Sometimes giving up is okay, but don’t let it be over something as simple as a mental block. Help your student find a new approach so she can get back to doing what she loves.
Is Lack of Interest Due to Something Else?
If a teenager isn’t telling you why he has lost interest in his instrument, the answer could be as normal as his interests having changed. On the other hand, you may want to do a little digging to find out if something different or more serious is going on. We don’t want to alarm you, but there could be something like anxiety or a problem with a friend that is causing this drop in your son’s playing frequency. The important thing is to talk through the issue to make sure whatever funk he’s in is being addressed. Music can be a wonderful therapeutic tool if we let it.
What Does Your Son or Daughter Think?
As we’ve briefly mentioned before, you should talk this issue over with your child to make sure you know what’s going on. In all likelihood, the waning time spent on music can be chalked up to a busy schedule or a change in hobbies. If your daughter is looking to pick up a new instrument, though, you may want to discuss how this change is poised to leave her better off than just sticking with the instrument already in hand. You don’t want to fast forward three years and be up to your neck in music accessories.
Find a Different Instrument
Feeling confident that a change of instrument will lead to better results? Then it’s time to get shopping. Does your teenager know what kind of instrument he or she would like to try? Take them to a nearby music store to look at the different options. You don’t have to buy anything here, but be respectful of the staff if you aren’t looking to make a purchase. It’s always wise to do a little discount sleuthing to find the best price, so don’t feel as though you need to settle on the first half decent choice. Talk with your son about how the previous instrument was leaving him unfulfilled and what he wants to do differently. Communication will make this the best transition possible.
Know You Haven’t Wasted Your Time With the Wrong Musical Instrument
Look, it’s tough being a parent. Even if the instrument your child is giving up is one you basically forced them into playing, it’s not like this is the end of the world. There’s no such thing as the wrong musical instrument when it comes to learning about music and life. You can learn so much from taking the time to build discipline and committing to a new art form. Who knows, your daughter may pick the old instrument back up in a year and decide she wants to start her lessons over again. Learning an instrument doesn’t come with an expiration date.
It’s Never Too Late to Try Something New
So your child’s been playing the wrong musical instrument. The beauty of life is that you can always seek a fresh start and pick up something new. Whether your son is eight or 18, he has plenty of time to do something great with the instrument he picks out. Think of his experience with the wrong musical instrument as more of an investment in a greater overall education in music. If a child embraces the discipline and teachability needed to become a great musician, the sky's the limit.
When training up a child in the study of music, it’s good to find hindrances and identify healthy habits. Maybe that means dropping the wrong musical instrument and looking for something better, but it could be that you just need to find a new teacher. We hope these questions and ideas have helped you to better understand the situation so that you can make the necessary decisions to give you your child a better future.
One way to help a young musician improve is by sending her to a summer music camp. At Camp Electric, we bring together hundreds of teenagers and pair them up with instructors from today’s biggest Christian bands. Concerts, classrooms, and community make this an amazing week young musicians won’t want to miss. Find out how to join us next summer by clicking on the banner below.