If your child wants to learn to play the piano, then it’s important to give them encouragement. But there is a fine line between encouraging your child, and pushing them into something they don’t want to do.
The difficulty however with children is that they don’t always know what’s best for them, and as a parent you may need to make the difficult choice of giving them a little nudge in the right direction; especially when it comes to education. And although learning the piano isn’t necessarily on the top of the list when there are a million and one other subjects out there that your child is studying, it’s important to remember that learning to play a musical instrument will help improve other skills. For example, memory, maths, languages; and many more.
So even though your child may not be showing any noticeable signs of natural musical ability, or any interest in learning to play an instrument; it’s still important to consider trying piano lessons to see how they take to it. If your child is clearly interested, and is showing signs of a natural ear for music, then this decision to send them for lessons is an easy one.
Unless your child is literally kicking and screaming not to go, then I think it’s important to push them into it as early as possible. It would be extremely rare if you came across a child that didn’t want to learn music, so if they put up a little resistance, I feel it’s important to try and push past that and see how it goes. Some children may find it exciting, and others may find it very daunting and scary at first, but after a few lessons it should quickly become second nature to them – like going to a lesson at school.
There may however come a point when you are pushing your child too much, and this is when you need to take a step back and give them some breathing space. Although children thrive on learning new things, it’s important to remember that learning to play the piano must be fun, no matter how hard work it may be. My advice would be to check on their progress a few times a week, and see how they are getting on. If they don’t seem to be progressing very far, then now is the time to see if they are taking to it or not. Most children will easily take to learning music, and learn very quickly. But now and again you may find that it just isn’t for them. This is the point at which you need to decide whether or not to continue with the lessons. If you feel your child is clearly enjoying learning music, but just needs a push in the right direction now and again; then so be it.
There are however lots of other things for your child to learn and take part in. Like sports, singing, drama, painting etc. So although I may be extremely biased in suggesting that learning to play the piano is important, there is a world of subjects to look into.
Learning the piano can also be expensive in the short term, and it’s understandable that you may be worried that buying a piano and investing in lessons might prove to be a waste of time and money if they want to quit after a few weeks or months. But the best way to get around this is not to buy a piano at all! You may think I’ve gone mad, but my advice would be to consider spending much less on a keyboard to begin with. Pianos can cost hundreds, if not thousands of pounds, but keyboards however can be picked up for less than £100. And if your child doesn’t take to it, then selling the keyboard means you recuperate a fair chunk of the cost anyway. Or you may just decide to keep it in case they change their mind.
If your child is still playing a year down the line, and is clearly passionate about learning music, then you can consider buying a piano for them. And don’t forget that a piano can literally last a whole lifetime if looked after properly, so it will be money well spent.