Is your child into music and talented in what he or she does? Do you think your child is a musical prodigy? Our MyZenmama is a music teacher and shares some insights with us about guiding and supporting musically talented kids.
Pablo Picasso once said: “All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”
Talent may be a gift but to sustain that gift, it ought to come from passion. And this passion will fuel the continual growth into adulthood and beyond. This process goes through three stages. Let’s have a look!
Does your child respond positively to music, live or recorded? Most children would move or sway to the sound of music, but the musically talented will display unique skills like singing in pitch, or playing a tune on the piano without formal instructions.
When your child finds it easy to learn a musical instrument while others struggle at it, chances are great that he or she is probably musically gifted.
A mother shares: “When my son was 1.5 years old, we enrolled him into a music playgroup. The purpose was to let him play with other kids. One day, he suddenly said that he didn’t want to join the group, because it was annoying. So, we quit from the group. At that time, we had a keyboard at home and I would play him simple songs like “Happy Birthday” or “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”. He would watch and listen once or twice, and be able to play the entire song correctly. That shocked me! We later discovered that he had perfect pitch and that he has got a natural talent for music.”
2. The nurturing process
What most parents would do after discovering their child’s talent or interest in music, is to enrol him or her for music classes. This is all very well, because children are quick learners when classes are conducted in a fun and interesting way. But do note that not every child will thrive in a group setting.
Another mum shares: “My child started showing interest in the piano when he was about four years old, so I found him a kind and patient teacher. She never forces my boy to learn pieces which he doesn’t like. Instead, she follows his pace which helps to give him greater freedom and enjoyment in his piano learning.”
Finding the right teacher
And this brings us to the next stage. Finding the right teacher for your child may take a little effort and time, so don’t rush it. It is good to list out what kind of teacher you are looking for and check with parents groups for recommendations. Always make an appointment to meet the teacher for a chat first. Most importantly, does your child feel comfortable with the teacher?
Nurturing the interest of a musical prodigy
Learning a musical instrument entails a commitment to practice for the perfection of skills in order to deliver music that is uplifting. However, it is not exclusive to only the talented. Everyone can benefit from learning and performing!
A mother shares: “I let him set a regular time for his piano practice everyday. Even if it’s just 15 minutes. It has become his daily habit. And now the music he plays is more advanced and more challenging. It makes him even more motivated to practice harder!”
3. The fruits of labour
The maturation process takes time. It cannot be rushed. But in the world of instant gratification, everything is now done for quick results at the expense of depth of substance and beauty. So keep the learning stimulating and challenging enough and your child will be motivated to work at mastering the playing skills one piece at a time, bringing with it the great sense of achievement and satisfaction.
Some Dos and Don’ts
- Don’t be a pushy parent. Teach your child how to organise his work and to practise good time-management. After that, let him take responsibility of his own learning.
- Don’t consider exams or competitions until much later in their study of the instrument. Better to cultivate interest and enjoyment first, that will lead to discipline and consistent work.
- Don’t rush talent. Although a child with musical talent tends to be a fast learner, attention to detail may not be his forte due to his impatience to get things done fast. So help him cultivate patience and a habit of paying attention to small details.
- Practise goal-setting. Events such as music parties and even online recitals are relatively easy to organise. They are often excellent motivation for students to work towards. Just gather a few friends to play to one another in a fun and non-competitive atmosphere.
- Be your child’s best cheerleader. Nothing is more rewarding than having your parents to cheer you on. So be encouraging, supportive and kind!
- Enjoy the journey. Learning is a long-distant journey. Better to enjoy the process than over-fixate on the final results. Establishing a good parent-child relationship through music is the most gratifying thing for a family.
Would you like to read more about the benefits of music for your child? Have a read through our article here!