3 Ways to Keep Music In Your Child’s Life
Solutions to Keep Your Child On the Cutting Edge of Creativity
by Paul Sokol
“My kids school cut the music program…”
You, like me, are aware of how arts programs in public schools are being defunded. Even worse, the music programs are being hit the hardest because equipment is expensive and easiest to cut from the budgets. Unfortunately, by removing arts programs we are unintentionally stunting the creative growth of the next generation. Think about it for a second: if we only teach children the “hard” skills like math and science, they will be deficient in the “soft” skills of creative expression (such as drawing, journaling or music). Only one half of the brain is being stimulated.
You ever see those jocks who have a giant torso but little bird legs because they never work out their lower half? That is exactly what cutting arts in public school does to your child’s brain. It develops out of proportion which, surely, will only hinder them when they mature into adults. So, what can YOU do as a parent who wants their child to develop a healthy brain capable of creativity?
Great question 😉
As founder of the non-profit Keep Children Rockin, our mission is to provide music equipment donations to these school programs and continue the musical tradition. That’s my commitment to you and your child. But what if music is completely removed from your child’s school? My donations aren’t going to matter. True, but you can STILL have music in your child’s life.
Step 1: Find A Cheap Used Instrument
Listen, I get it. You think instruments are expensive. New instruments are for sure. However, lots of places sell used instruments for cheap. For less than $100 you can find SOMETHING for your child. You might even find something on a site like Craigslist (my girlfriend actually found her bass guitar with an amp on Craigslist for like $80).
Worse case, go find a recorder online for cheap. Or a cheap harmonica. Or ocarina. Or a $5 tambourine.
The point is to make music and express creatively you have to have some kind of functioning instrument.
Any instrument. Bonus points if it’s your child’s instrument of choice.
Step 2: Take Free Lessons Online and Block Out Time For Practicing.
Chances are you aren’t a music teacher. So how can you empower your child to use their “new” instrument? Leverage the expertise of others!
Go onto YouTube and search for lessons on your instrument. I guarantee you’ll find a plethora of instructors with lessons you can follow along with your child.
This is relevant for ALL ages. You can even find simple music lessons for preschoolers.
This is where your commitment to your child is going to be tested. For this to work you HAVE to go through the lessons together and encourage them to practice. Similar to a classroom, set a specific day/time each week to go through a lesson or two and practice. If the child is older, they may be self motivated. Young children will need this guidance and leadership from you as their parent. Step up for them!
Step 3: Invest Further If Needed
When I was growing up (you too) everybody took music class but not everyone grows up to be any kind of musician. As long as your child has a basic understanding of music to the point they can express themselves by singing or blowing a tune on a open soda bottle, you’ll have done your job as a parent. Creative expression. Developing that skill is the entire point.
However, if your child does show promise as a serious musician, start lean. The kid wants to play guitar? Find a cheap acoustic. Once they get more skilled, there may be a desire for a better guitar. Or maybe a desire for formal in-person guitar lessons.
The point is to begin with something used and cheap so it’s not a massively risky investment. This includes the instrument. If your kid wants to play clarinet, that might be too much of a risk initially. But if you get them a cheap recorder and they stick with it and still have the desire to play clarinet, then maybe it’s worth investing in a used one. That’d be a killer birthday present 😉
Take Ownership Of Your Child’s Creative Education
In summary, if your child’s school cuts the music program, find a cheap used instrument and commit to going through free online lessons with them.
Does this force you to play a bigger game as a parent? Absolutely!
Will your child’s brain develop in a well-rounded way by keeping creative expression with music in their lives? Totally!
To close out, please share or leave a comment below and here is a list of resources that might help on you empower your child with critical creative skills. Play on!
Free Music Lessons for Kids:
9 Ways to Save Money on Music:
First Piano Lessons:
For younger children, you might consider a program like Preschool Prodigies. Look around as there are many kinds of programs like this:
About the Author Paul Sokol- Surrounded by music his entire life, Paul has a deep respect and appreciation for all types of music. As a musician himself, he understands how critical it is for children to feel comfortable expressing themselves through music. Any form of music. One day, he couldn’t stand reading another headline about how ANOTHER school was losing its arts programs. So he took a stand and formed Keep Children Rockin with the vision of local music communities taking a stand for their neighborhood school music