Music doesn’t lie. If there is something to be changed in this world, then it can only happen through music. - Jimi Hendrix
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What is the point of my child taking a music class before they learn an instrument?
Learning to play an instrument for the first time involves many different learning processes; reading music, keeping a steady beat, interpreting rhythm, holding the instrument as well as technical skill and musical interpretation, among others. For young children, combining all these at once can be difficult. As a result, taking a pre-instrumental music class is the best solution for children aged 4-6 years. In these classes, children learn all the foundations of music including steady beat, rhythm, pitch, dynamics, tempo, reading and writing music through a fun and experiential learning approach. By learning in this way, children learn all the basics of music and become confident and assured performers before picking up an instrument. When they then go onto to learning an instrument they progress much more quickly and with greater grasp of all musical concepts. At Expand, we aim that all children who take part in the music class over a full school year, will then be offered a place in our instrumental programme.
When is the best time for my child to start learning an instrument?
At Expand School of Music, we recommend that the ideal age for children to begin learning an instrument is around the age of 6 or 7. At this age children have the concentration, co-ordination and strength to easily and quickly get to grips with technical and musical aspects of learning an instrument. For children who are younger than this we recommend that they spend a year in our music class to prepare them for learning an instrument.
What instrument would be best for my child to learn?
What instrument you choose for your child really is a personal choice. Learning an instrument takes time, dedication and practice and getting results does not happen over night. With this in mind, the following are a few pointers to bear in mind:
- Begin by giving your child opportunities to listen to the different instruments on offer. Then, ask them questions like; what do you like best? What instrument makes a sound that you really like? What do you want to do with music, i.e. play in a rock band, play in an orchestra, etc. All these questions will help a child to choose the instrument that is right for them. After all, a love of learning music begins with a love of the instrument you play and the sound it makes.
- When choosing an instrument, also remember that no instrument is easier or more difficult to learn than another. Each instrument has its own challenges and more simple aspects, so never allow a child to choose an instrument because they think it will be the ‘easiest to learn’ or ‘take the least effort’.
- Finally, avoid choosing an instrument because it is what you always wanted to play! Sounds simple but your child will be much more likely to practice and persevere with an instrument when it gets challenging if they have chosen it and love the instrument.
Can adults take lessons too?
Absolutely! You’re never too old to begin learning music. Our dedicated staff will help you to learn that instrument that you’ve just always wanted to play or to take a new leap. You simply tell us what you want to learn and what your goals are and we will tailor a programme to suit you. Learning music is the perfect way to learn a new skill, make new friends and to give yourself a breather from the rest of life.
How can I pay for lessons?
At Expand, all lessons and classes are charged by term, so you can either pay for the term as a whole or you can choose our “pay as you go” option. In this case, you pay a €50 non-refundable deposit and then weekly installments of €10 per child, per week, until your balance is cleared. Talk to us today for more info.
How much should my child practice?
Playing an instrument takes time, dedication and practice and it is vital that your child practices on a regular basis to make the most of their lessons each week. When first starting an instrument, we recommend that children practice for about 5 – 10 minutes, five times a week. This little and often approach ensures that your child develops their skill in an effective and long-lasting way. As your child becomes more proficient on their chosen instrument, their teacher will advise them on best methods and time periods for practice.
Should I help my child to practice?
Absolutely! It doesn’t matter if you have a little, a lot or no musical experience yourself, your interest and encouragement makes the world of difference to a child succeeding in learning an instrument. For our youngest students, we recommend that you attend a class from time to time so that you can see what is being done in lessons and see how your child is being asked to practice. This will also allow your child’s teacher to give you pointers as to how you can assist your child in practical ways. For older children, we recommend that you ask them what they have done in lessons and ask them to show you what they are learning and to perform for you on a regular basis. If you are concerned that your child is not practising effectively then please ask your child’s teacher for advice. Remember that your child’s teacher will always be more than happy to give advice to parents on how they can assist their child and to give feedback on your child’s progress.
Above all, remember that learning an instrument takes time and dedication and your child will need your support and encouragement to succeed. There will come times in your child’s journey as a musician when they will find things difficult. It is in these times that your child will need your support more than ever. Keep encouraging your child to keep going, never give up, take things slowly and to take regular breaks in practice to avoid frustration. You are your child’s best supporter and asset in learning to overcome obstacles and achieve their goals.