Most public school students will begin playing an instrument if there is a music program to facilitate this. However, one or two years down the line, more than half of them quit. As a result, they do not gain the full benefits that music education has to offer.
There are typical answers you will get when you ask parents or students about the reasons why kids quit their musical instruments, as Tony Mazzocchi shares:
- The student is not musically talented (or at least thought they weren’t).
- The student is too busy with other activities.
- The student hates practicing (or the parents grow weary of begging the child to practice).
- The student doesn’t like their teacher.
…and there’s more… Via Music Parents Guide (MPG)
However, as Tony argues, most students are unable to fully understand the actual reasons why they quit playing their instruments. He believes that the blame lies largely with the parents and teachers of these students. It’s their job to create the ‘magical moments’ in the early years of study that will keep the students coming back in subsequent years.
Here are the eight major reasons why students quit their instruments and what parents and teachers can do to prevent them:
- Parents treat music as less important than other subjects
Even when school administrators and non-music teachers don’t find music to be of equal important with other subjects, parents should not make this mistake.
Besides, you wouldn’t let your child quit math, would you? Many kids would jump at that opportunity! Music is a core subject…period. The more parents treat it as such, the less students will quit. Via MPG
- Students don’t get the help they need to get better
Students don’t know how to get better, and without proper guidance, they become frustrated and want to quit.
It is the role of music educators and parents to give students ownership over their learning. Teachers must teach students why, how, where, and when to practice, and parents must obtain minimal knowledge about how students learn music in order to properly support them at home. Via MPG
- Parents think their kids, like them, aren’t musically talented
Parents need to understand that playing a musical instrument is a craft that demands more practice than it does talent.
As long as students know how to practice and that it needs to be done regularly, they will get better. Many parents who speak to me and claim that they aren’t “musically talented” simply had bad teachers and little home support with music practice. Via MPG
- Parents don’t encourage their kids to keep playing during their summer break
Just like reading, students that don’t play their instruments over the summer will really struggle once schools open.
A year of musical instruction can quickly go down the tubes over the summer vacation if students do not find small ways to play once in a while. Picking up an instrument for the first time after a long layoff can be so frustrating that a student will not want to continue into the next school year. Via MPG
- Instruments are not attended to
It’s important to always be on top of repairs whenever they are needed, as this could have a serious effect on a child’s playing ability.
Sometimes the malfunction is so subtle that the student thinks they are doing something wrong, and frustration mounts. Via MPG
- Teachers don’t provide enough opportunities for students to perform
Giving kids the opportunity to perform during the year provides a major motivation boost that can’t quite be replaced by anything else.
Weeks or even months on end of practicing without performing for an audience gets old very quick, and students will definitely quit. Teachers should schedule performances every six weeks or so in order for students to stay engaged and practicing. Parents can help by creating small performance opportunities at home — a Friday night dinner concert or a planned performance for visiting family members are great ideas. Via MPG
- Kids are not encouraged to practice the music they actually like
It’s very important for parents to be aware of music that interests their child, because it exists in sheet music form for download or purchase. It’s important that all students play music that is aligned to their interests in addition to other pieces that are worked on in school. Via MPG
- Other activities are prioritized over music
There’s just too many things that kids are involved in, and parents often get tired of having one more thing to add to their schedule.
Parents need to understand that the enduring social and psychological benefits of music are as enormous as those of sports — in the same and different ways. Also, if music is a class in school, then school obligations should be priorities. Budget time accordingly and children will have 10 minutes a day to practice an instrument, for sure. Via MPG
Featured Image: Image Credit
Tyler Joseph is completely self taught. On his own, he learned to play the piano (keyboard), keytar, accordion, ukulele, and bass guitar.
— Tyler Joseph Archive (@tylerrarchive) January 14, 2016
How to stop students from quitting music lessons?
“Do I have to?”
Parents hear this question countless times from their kids. Parents who have children in music lessons might hear it the most. Although many people pursue music well into their adult lives, it is sometimes tricky getting students to stick with their music education.
Music comes naturally to some. When I was in first grade, my parents started me out on the piano. No matter how hard I tried, I could not progress as quickly as the other students enrolled in the program. My mother told me that I had to be able to look at the sheet music and have the notes flow out of my fingers. After five years of lessons, I never got to that point. I got frustrated with the effort, and I quit. Once I started playing the viola, I progressed much more quickly. Sometimes, students just need to find the instrument that speaks to them. Via CMUSE
10 Reasons Why People Give up Learning Musical Instruments Too Easily
I was lucky. I was able to learn the piano and organ as a child and teenager. Sixty years on, I still manage to play. But I know loads of people who start to learn to play a musical instrument and give up far too quickly and easily. The main reason seems to be that they have little idea of what is actually involved, the commitment it takes and, above all, their expectations are far too high. The result is that they blame themselves and wonder what went wrong. Whether they are learning woodwind, strings or keyboard instruments, the reasons why people give up are remarkably similar. Here are the top 10 reasons. Via LifeHack
Quit or carry on: When should you let your child give up?
Your 10-year-old daughter decides she doesn’t want to take ballet anymore after you’ve invested in years of lessons and the spring recital is right around the corner. Your 12-year-old son wants to quit the cello but begs to take up the guitar. And you’re wondering when is it right to push your child to press on or agree to let him quit?
While there’s no one answer that’s right for every child, there are several factors to consider regardless of your child’s activity. Our experts — a music education professor, a physical education specialist, a swim school director and a ballet school director — all agree: When your child begins an activity, create a supportive environment at home. This may help to keep his interest from lagging. Via Great Schools