“Nurturing my son’s interest in music..........”

Every Sunday morning turns out to be a blissful one for us.  We get transformed to a musical world of the golden era. It is our son, Abhishek on his keyboard playing RD Burman and Kishore Da numbers.  When I see his fingers swaying between the keys and cords playing those rich musical notes, it makes me feel so proud. I still remember those days when his little fingers would struggle to reach the keys.  It is his interest in music and his sincere practice that has helped him learn this wonderful art.   
It is rightly said that exposing young children to music at home is the most important thing a parent could do to encourage the child’s love for music. Moreover when children get to hear live music band, they will understand that music is not just the sounds that come out of the musical instruments; it is something that human beings make.  When Abhishek was around 5 years, we had taken him for a musical concert and he in spite of being a very hyper child enjoyed the show thoroughly.  This gave us a clue about his interest in music. Once we visited one of our friends over a dinner and when Abhishek saw a synthesizer out there, he refused to do anything else. He kept hitting the keys and did not budge a bit.  To nurture his interest , we gifted him a toy keyboard for his fifth birthday. I can never forget how excited he was. Next day when I reached school to pick him up, I was asked to meet the music instructor. I was dumbfounded when the instructor explained how insistent my son was to learn the notes of happy birthday song.  Later when we came back home, Abhishek  kept playing that notes on his toy keyboard till such time he got it right.  Still with a lot of apprehensions, we decided to enrol him for formal musical lessons.
Initial two years was not very fruitful. In spite of showing a genuine interest in music, he would refuse to sit and practice. It is rightly said that till seven years all their energy gets used to develop their body and organs. It is after this period that this energy can be directed for cognitive learning.  So, the idle age to put our kids for formal learning is after seven years.  Thereafter there was no looking back and these are few things we had followed to nurture his love for keyboard –

  • We made Abhishek listen to variety of music. If we expose our kids to various types of music and tones in their early life, we develop their ear for music. This in turn helps them to play instruments later. 
  • Slow practice is productive practice. We always kept practice session for 30 minutes in a day. This short and slow practice session not only kept him focused but also kept in sense to fix his mistakes and build a better skill circuit. So whenever he had a new song, we would make him do the first five notes over and over and then proceed further. It is like doing it in baby steps until it really clicks.
  • We always praised his efforts rather than his ability. This will certainly aid him to take risks. Therefore he will not get disappointed with mistakes. Instead he will make more and more mistakes and learn to correct them. 
  • We upgraded the keyboard version as and when he moved up in his musical grade rather than buying a high end version from the day one. 

So, if your child also shows interest in music, watch out for that tiny, powerful moments of ignition and ask yourself as to whether you want to produce a prodigy or develop a love for music in your child. This will help to decide your plan of action.

- By Jayanti Ramanath

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