Parents often ask me how I can get my son to play his instrument. I usually reply with surprise: “Don’t try.”
Face it. You already have enough fights with your son about getting up each morning to get him to school, get homework done, and eat healthy food. There is no need to add another issue to your relationship. Pushing your son to practice music can lead to a breakdown in his relationship with music. Music will become a chore and a burden. If he does not practice, you aren’t failing your parental duties. You should be proud that he is learning to play a musical instrument.
It can be frustrating to pay for music lessons and have your son stop practicing because he didn’t get his money’s worth. It might be tempting to ask, “Why not cancel all lessons?” This would prevent any fights. However, there are important reasons why lessons should be continued. There is increasing scientific evidence that music can be beneficial for brain development. Research has shown that playing a musical instrument can improve attention, working memory, impulse control, emotion regulation, and other aspects of executive function. The most difficult boys are those with poor executive functioning, concentration, and emotion regulation. A child with ADHD/EF needs training through music lessons.
I recommend that you keep the lessons going. The brains of children are sponges. Children absorb language more quicker than adults. They also learn music skills faster than adults. Your child can learn valuable stimulation by playing music during lessons, even if it is only once weekly.
Your son may not be prepared for lessons, and this will be a complaint that some music teachers might make. If this is the case, explain to the teacher that you are focusing on your son’s love of music and that your primary concern is his learning. The teacher should know that your son wants the lessons to be enjoyable and that you don’t care if he practices. Teachers can adapt to meet the needs of children. If your teacher cannot adapt, you should consider hiring a teacher who can understand ADHD/EF children and make lessons enjoyable. The most important thing to encourage your son’s passion for music is his music teacher’s personality and skill.
These are some suggestions to help your child learn to play his instrument without fighting or forcing him to.
Make sure that he plays an instrument that he enjoys.