It happens more often than you think that all of a sudden a child wants to stop learning their musical instrument. But rather than accepting their change of heart it is really important to understand WHY they have suddenly changed their mind and to support them through their doubts.
Consider why they have started thinking that they want to stop. Perhaps they’ve got a new tutor and the new relationship isn’t clicking. Maybe they are playing large instruments and it’s just too heavy to carry around or perhaps they’ve started to have a hard time at school, maybe they get teased for playing a certain instrument. Any of these will naturally make the child dispirited, making them not want to practice and feel they aren’t playing as well, gradually creating a domino effect leading to them wanting to give up.
So it is really important to try and spot these signs or discuss with your child if there are reasons for wanting to give up. If it’s to do with teasing, try showing them inspirational musicians that play the same instrument as them – show what they do in a new light. If the instrument is too heavy, think of ways to avoid them carrying it too much and try and get lightweight cases to make life easier. Setting up a practice session for a child, with instrument, seat, music stand, music on stand, rosin, reeds etc can help alleviate those particular pains.
I am always available to discuss any issues, especially if the child isn’t getting on with the tutor. There are options to try a new tutor or even to have a free consultation lesson with me to get them motivated again.
It is really important not to just give up straight away – set a time limit and try to get through the bumps. Anyone that knows me understands that I will not take on ‘tiger parents’ – the wish to learn an instrument has to come from the child, but undoubtedly there will be ‘challenges’ in the practice road, I had them myself as a child, and as a parent it is sometimes necessary to guide them through those tough times, when the easiest solution is to stop playing. I have many adult friends who regret stopping music lessons when they were a child and wish their parents had encouraged them a little bit more.
If however after 3 months they still feel the same then stop and go onto something else they enjoy. I am a firm believer that all children are good at something, whilst I would like it to be music, if it isn’t, go off and be stonkingly good at something else!