Does Your Child Dislike Guitar Practice? Are You Ready To QUIT ?

Guitar Lessons BlogLike you I also have a child learning guitar and like your child she doesn’t always want to practice. In fact most days she doesn’t want to practice but before I go on I should point out that I have been teaching guitar and training guitar teachers for over 30 years. This of course allows me to understand what to expect from my own daughter but despite my experience I will say that being the parent gave me a whole different perspective and appreciation for the parent perspective.

It’s not easy but totally worth it

My 6 year old daughter Mia began learning when she was only 3 and a half years old. In the beginning I started her on a ukulele. Each day we would sit down for 10 to 30 minutes depending on how settled she was. Some days she would happily play along and other days she just flatly refused to participate. Most days she is not overly enthusiastic about practice at first as she would rather watch TV or play games. I get this because guitar practice takes effort and concentration. As an adult I am not overly eager to go and workout but I always feel good afterwards. Mia is the same with guitar. Usually within 5 or 10 minutes she is enjoying the process of practice and at the end she always feels good. 

Kids don’t see the value but they will thank you later

As a parent you will likely take your child’s lack of enthusiasm (and sometime outright resistance) as a sign that it’s not meant to be or that it’s all too hard. The problem is like most things, children don’t yet see the value. It won’t be until many years later that they will truly value the fact that you persisted with their lessons and practice. This is not to say you will want to force your child but you are going to need to be persistent. Mia has tried many times to avoid practice and at times declares that she hates guitar but I respond by saying “I know it’s hard sometimes but remember how well you played yesterday? You are really progressing well. I know you are not in the mood but let’s just do a short practice tonight and then you can have some TV time straight after”. She will agree reluctantly and then a few minutes later she will often be proudly smiling after playing an exercise better than ever.

Life lessons

My approach is not to just quit when the going gets tough but instead help her to process her emotions. I want to stress that it’s not just the fact that she will have the ability to play music as she gets older but also that she will understand how people become talented at anything. This gives her a real example of persistence in the face of adversity. I believe children who learn how to push through situations that are not always comfortable are better equipped to deal with other challenges in life as they get older. If as parents we just let our children quit we are teaching them to give up overtime something gets hard. I am not saying you should push your own goals onto your kids. I actually don’t care if Mia goes on with guitar as an adult or not. That’s her choice. Our job as parents is simply to teach our children life skills and then leave it to them to choose their path as they reach maturity.  

Easy for me to say

It’s easy for me to tell you to persist but you of course are the one who has to deal with your child’s protests every time you mention the word practice. The solution is to talk to your child’s guitar teacher. A good teacher understands and should be able to help you with the challenges you face. The important point is not to give up too easily. Keep looking for solutions by asking questions and seeking advice. If your teacher is not offering solutions then find another teacher.

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