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My child wants to learn a musical instrument – help!

When my daughter said she wanted to learn the violin, as a violinist myself I had very little doubt that one way or another she would have her wish fulfilled.

But, as a parent, not having the musical experience can make it a difficult decision. So what might your child gain if you say ‘yes’?

Of course learning to play a musical instrument has so many benefits in and of itself but remember that apart from acquiring knowledge of a musical instrument they acquire so much more. Through musical performance they develop personal self-confidence and determination. They become instant problem-solvers because when ‘the show must go on’ they have to make quick, practical decisions.

They will also meet many other like-minded young people with whom they often remain friends for the rest of their lives. They learn to respond with great sensitivity towards each other. Playing in a band is an enormous team effort and they know when it’s their time to step forward ‘to play the tune’ and when it’s time to be supportive.

So do you say ‘yes’ or ‘no’? With my daughter I waited a while to see if she kept asking – which she did. It was obvious she had a strong feeling about it. Having the desire and a belief that it’s something they want to do is a very important thing to recognise. They may never become rich and famous but there are many levels of achievement that make learning a musical instrument so very satisfying.

Then you can find a teacher with whom they can get on. The teacher will also be able to give you advice on buying an instrument at a price you can afford. Then start the lessons and see just how well your child takes to it over the next few weeks.

By the way, my daughter eventually learned the violin to a very high standard, played with Ealing Youth Orchestra in London, toured across Europe on a number of occasions, studied music at York University, is a wonderful jazz singer and now teaches music in West London.

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