Just before COVID-19 confined us to our homes, my family and my friend’s family went out to the beach for a barbeque party. On our way back, my friend’s son told us he was interested in learning drums. Immediately my friend replied that learning a guitar would be better. He was of the opinion that a guitarist had more stage presence than a drummer, thus learning a guitar was better. That lead me to question myself, is it correct to compare instruments under this premise? How do we introduce kids to music?
Have you ever thought of introducing your kid(s) to music? The next phase most certainly would have been to face a barrage of questions. The right age to introduce, the right instrument, which music school, total cost to be incurred, interest of the kid, etc. These decisions are tough, and more so, if you have no background in music.
But no matter how tough the decisions are, it is absolutely necessary that one must be introduced to music, either singing or playing an instrument. Music is important on many levels. It elevates the soul and alleviates the pain. It designs emotions which we have never before experienced. These vibrations have in them the power to take you places you have never been. Introducing kids to music at an early age gives them a unique perspective and understanding to enjoy music deeper.
As a parent, forcing kids to learn an instrument of our choice may not be the right approach. I have seen parents forcing a particular instrument on their kids which may adversely affect them in the long run. If he/she is interested in guitar, we need to let them choose it provided they are of the right age. (E.g. a 3 year old kid may not be able to play guitar as he needs strength to hold the guitar.)
Also, we should restrain from judging our kids abilities. Some may be prodigies and others may need some time. How quickly they master an instrument is not important. What’s really important is to check if they practice and whether they really enjoy music and their instruments.
We need to give our kids ample time and space to learn music. Expecting them to perform on stage or in any other form may not be necessary for the kid. With lots of love and support from our side, our kids will bloom beautifully.
Over the period of time, once they are mature enough to take their own decisions, they may choose a different instrument or a different genre. But having learnt the original instrument is in no way a waste. Early introduction to music will be of great help for them. No instrument or style is bad. Everything has a place of its own.
There are many apps like Garage band, Geoshred and similar apps which provide a simulated version of instruments such as drums, drum pads, keyboard, synths, mics and even arrange tracks. Showing the kids how each instrument sounds may be helpful in introducing them to the instruments and to music. Also, playing videos of musical performances on YouTube where kids can see various instruments playing is a great way to kindle their interest towards the instruments.
It is my opinion to first introduce children to classical music, and from there onwards allow them to pick up a genre of their choice.
This blog was written in collaboration with my friend Navaneeth Shetty.
Photo – my son Bhagath exploring the keyboard.