Each year, a vast majority of students try to learn to play instruments with their school’s music program. However, only a year or two later, more than half of those students quit their musical studies. Parents believe that there are many reasons why a child might quit learning to play an instrument, such as:
- Hating having to practice / refusing to practice when parents ask them too
- Being too busy with unrelated activities
- Disliking their music teacher, among many other reasons
Despite these popular reasons given by parents, the reality is often very different. Learning to play an instrument as an adult can be very difficult without the proper motivation, and that goes double for students and young children.
Here are some of the lesser-known but very real reasons why students quit, and how to deal with them:
- Students aren’t taught how to improve.
Learning to play a musical instrument should begin with the right foundation. Without the right practice habits or tools needed to improve, students end up frustrated with their progress and quit learning. This is where parents and music educators need to step up and give students ownership over their music studies. Students should know how, when, where and why they need to practice. Parents should also gain some knowledge on how to properly support learners.
- Students stop practicing over the summer.
Music is one of the few subjects where learning should be continued throughout the summer. Many studies revealed that those who don’t study any subject during summer months tend to fall far behind once school begins, and this also applies to musical instruments. One full year of learning how to play can go to waste if students don’t set aside time to practice now and then.
- A faulty instrument hinders musical learning.
If a musical instrument needs repairing or tuning up, it negatively affects a student’s musical ability. A broken reed, untuned stings or a dent in the instrument can seem subtle, but it often makes a student think they’re not progressing or they’re playing the instrument wrong. This brings about a mounting frustration that results in quitting. Both students and parents should know the basics when it comes to maintaining an instrument so they’ll know when they need to have it repaired.
- Students or parents don’t believe they’re talented enough.
While there is a lot of talk about being “born” musically talented, the truth is that these prodigies all eventually hit a wall and have to work hard to break through a plateau. No one becomes the best at anything just because they’re born with a talent. While the majority of students don’t play instruments well at all, they steadily become decent with practice. As long as a learner knows the right way to practice and does it regularly, they will definitely see musical success. Parents should provide encouragement and proper support at home during times when practice is needed most.