[Music] How to Keep Children Engaged in Music

Came across an article written by Susan Pascale (Director of South Pasadena Strings Program) about tips for developing a life-long interest in music. Below are some key points from the article.

"1. Start them young - on piano. I have found that children who begin with piano, and then come into my violin or other stringed instrument class, ALWAYS do better than children who have not had early piano training. Violin and other stringed instruments are difficult, due to the many aspects one must focus on at once. They are also physically challenging. Piano is a lot easier for pre-K kids to grasp. Once the student has a basic understanding of music, including note-reading, rhythm, and practice, they are freer to focus on the technical challenges of the stringed instrument.

2. Don't go it alone! How many parents enroll their children in private music lessons, only to have them refuse to go because don't know anyone? Yet the same child will participate in almost any activity if at least one friend is present! Group beginning music classes can be a lot of fun for the younger set, and particularly ideal for children age 3½ years through 5 ½, depending on their maturity.

3. Kids who play together like to PLAY together! The more opportunities the children have to play the more they will improve. In addition to private lessons, as soon as the child is eligible, we place him or her in a performing group.
 
4.Keep em' in the spotlight! It is rare that a kid doesn't thrive from the envelopment of warm feelings, positive attention, and sense of accomplishment that they feel after a performance. Whether it's performing in a studio recital, a solo competition; or with their youth orchestra at Carnegie Hall, performances are key to keeping up a child's interest, and improving their playing.
 
5. Stay positive! When in doubt, do not shout, berate, belittle, or threaten to drop the lessons. None of the negative stuff works, and it will just lead to more frustration for you, and your child. Even when it feels like your child is not meeting your or the teacher's expectations, remain positive. Your child may just be going through a rough patch.
 
6. Summer and school breaks are a great time to move ahead! Rather than taking a break from music lessons, vacation is actually a great time to make headway. It's an opportunity for life-changing musical adventures or just plain getting lots accomplished.
 
7. Don't overschedule. Although we want our children to be well-rounded, it's better for their psyche for them to excel in one thing. And if that one thing is playing a musical instrument, it will have tremendous benefits. !
 
8. Stay committed. Music promotes self-esteem, teamwork, and good study habits, and it has shaped the lives of many youngsters in a most profound way."

To read the full article, please go to

http://www.violinist.com/blog/StringsProgram/20109/11590/

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