I have been teaching music lessons for many years, and during this time, I’ve had to explain the importance of consistency when it comes to learning. Perhaps the parents want to do pay-as-you-go lessons or have one or two classes a week. Sometimes they may ask to split a one-hour lesson between two siblings, offering each student just 30 minutes each. When I am asked this, I like to take the time to explain why consistency is essential when studying, practising, and mastering an instrument.
But consistency is not just crucial for learning music; it’s also essential in various other areas of your child’s life. If you teach them the importance and benefits of being consistent in their music practice, they can transfer those skills to academia, develop soft skills, and their future professional career.
Here are just a few of the benefits of learning consistency in musical studies and how it can impact other areas of the child’s life.
They will become better musicians
Simply put, if your child sticks to a consistent practice, playing, and lesson schedule, they will become a better musician. Several studies conducted on the topic found that practice does make perfect, especially when it’s disciplined and deliberate. Those that followed a structured schedule outperformed (quite literally) those that did not. Those that followed the former performed better by some 21% than their counterparts.
Practice makes perfect, but it’s essential that this practice has a structure, a schedule, and is stuck to. This helps the child to establish a routine in their lives. When practice and lessons become a routine, it also reduces the chance of them wanting to quit.
It helps brain development
When you learn a musical instrument and practice, it changes the way your brain works. Children’s brains and neural pathways continue to develop until they are around 25, so getting their skills finely honed before then is always a good idea. Regular and consistent practice can create and reinforce synaptic connections, making them stronger and longer-lasting. The more you practice a piece, or just the instrument in general, the more defined the neural pathways become.
Doing this helps your child make quicker and more efficient decisions, allowing them to automate much of what they are learning. The technique and even passages of music become ingrained in them, and they will progress quicker and more effectively.
Consistent practice has also been shown to help with memory and recall and increase the dexterity of a variety of mental and brain functions.
It trains your muscles
When your child practices their instrument regularly, they will build up muscle memory and strength in the applicable muscles. It will also improve their fine motor skills, such as hand-eye coordination. Remember, when your child reaches a certain level of musical skill, they will be able to play without even looking down at the keyboard (or strings). Their hands will learn pieces by playing them over and over again. This will allow the hands to ‘remember’ the notes and where their fingers are supposed to go. The more they repeat the process, the more automatic the process becomes.
It helps develop good habits
One of the biggest challenges in parenting is getting our children to form good habits instead of bad ones! As we have discussed above, factoring in music practice can help students develop a routine. This, in turn, becomes a good habit. By training them to stick to the habit, come rain or shine, you create good habits that will stand them in good stead for the rest of their life.
Of course, there will be times when it’s not possible to practice or attend lessons, e.g. sickness, holiday etc., but the habit should be picked up immediately once everything is back to normal.
They can apply it to academia
There isn’t a successful academic in the world who has not got where they are through not being committed to their studies. Music is no exception! By learning to be consistent with practising, attending lessons, and playing, the concept can then be exported to their academic studies. Most likely, they will see the results of the way they apply themselves musically and be willing to use the same methods in their other studies.
Being committed to practising, reviewing, improving, self-analysing, and evaluating is essential for studying for exams at school and mastering various other subjects.
It teaches them about commitment
Your child is never too young to learn about the importance of commitment. There will be many instances throughout their life where they may want to quit something without a good reason, skip duties, or not fulfil obligations. In adulthood, this can come with significant consequences for those involved. As parents, it’s a beautiful idea to start teaching them about the importance of commitment and keeping their word.
When they first look to take up an instrument, you should explain that commitment is the one thing that will determine their success. They need to understand that they will not master an instrument without obligation, and you need to get their promise that they will commit. Discussions about the importance of dedication and keeping one’s word can help them understand the gravity of the concept and how it can help them in the future.
The concept of commitment is something that can be instilled and nurtured within your child. Once the seeds have been sown, they can be applied to various other aspects of their lives and strengthen those all-important soft skills and life skills. Giving up at the first hurdle shouldn’t be an option. Instead, aim to motivate, encourage, and reward where appropriate, ensuring your child exceeds all the challenges in their path.
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