Your self confidence is likely never higher than when you’re a child. In youth, most have yet to truly learn their limitations, so anything seems possible.
But there are still moments when a child falters and finds themselves with a drop in self esteem. It’s in these moments where parents can teach them how to pick themselves up and try again. And when it comes to trial-and-error of learning one’s capabilities and building up a child’s confidence, you’d be hard pressed to find something better than learning how to play a musical instrument. The sense of accomplishment and community that can be created from playing music is a valuable one for children of any age.
But it’s not all immediate self confidence right out of the box – anyone who’s picked up a musical instrument knows that you’ll need to make a few mistakes as you learn. These mistakes can put off a child from learning how to play music altogether. So let’s take a look at how to help your child turn these experiences into moments of confidence in themselves and their musical potential.
Ups and downs
Like many things, music is a skill that one needs to work at in order to excel at it – and patience is a key factor. For a lot of children, patience doesn’t come easily, and it’s something that needs to be instilled at a young age. Teaching your child that patience is the key to perseverance is a lesson that can be learned through studying a musical instrument – depending on the kind of instrument, it can be a slow, steady learning process that gradually makes your child more comfortable and aware of their abilities. Any child growing up in a musical household has no doubt been exposed to various forms of music – imagine their awe when they realize that they, too, can create those amazing sounds!
Yet as with any skill, there will be bumps on the road to learning how to play well. And once self-doubt begins to creep in, it can be a tough thing to banish, and some children find it hard to keep going after they’ve been unsuccessful even once. That’s why it’s important to encourage your child to keep at a musical composition that’s stumping him or her – because their sense of accomplishment when they finally succeed will be huge. Always be sure to provide them with praise and feedback once they’ve succeeded, and only move them to a more complicated piece when they feel ready for it. The cycle of loss and victory may start up again, but this can be a natural progression of learning one’s capabilities.
Overcoming obstacles is a main drive behind gaining confidence in one’s abilities, and the musical learning process is a building block for children to gain self-assurance that they can do this. They may fall down a few times, but this can be a worthwhile experience for the persistence they gain in getting back up again.
Confidence through community
For many children, community is the key to feeling confident. They thrive on being around other kids, using social contact to gauge their limits and learn how to positively interact with others outside of themselves. This is especially true when it comes to the arts – who, as a child, hasn’t proudly held up their latest finger-painting masterpiece? PBS Parents writes positively about the use of arts programs in schools as a building block for a child’s confidence, saying, “When students are working towards a common goal, they appreciate that their “voice” and interests are heard and understood by others. This joint effort creates a sense of secure acceptance that is critical to their self-esteem.” They can also learn how to give and accept criticism from being around their peers, which makes a social environment important to building self-esteem.
All of these points are especially true when it comes to learning music amongst friends. Whether it’s the school band or jamming with some friends in a garage, playing in an ensemble environment is a great experience for kids to learn teamwork and stronger self-assurance. It can be easier for a child to build up confidence in their musical abilities when bolstered by likeminded peers who have the same learning highs and lows as they do.
No matter if your child was born naturally confident or slightly shy, learning how to play a musical instrument can set them up with a skill set that will strengthen their belief in their problem-solving abilities. Even if your child’s tenacity can be easily plagued by self-doubt, be sure to encourage them to keep with it and try again. The persistence and confidence they learn while puzzling their way through piano music or guitar chords could end up serving them well in the years to come.
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