Do your kids use your pots and pans as a make-shift drum set or try to make music with whatever random items they can get their hands on? Then it may be time for music lessons. Providing kids an opportunity to learn to play an instrument is a long term investment in your child’s success, not to mention the perfect activity for the creative or musically-inclined. Here are some things to think through before enrolling your kids in music lessons in Des Moines.
Music provides many learning opportunities and benefits to kids. Several studies show that kids who can read music and play musical instruments tend to score higher on tests like the ACT and SAT and also perform better in subjects like math and science. But, learning to play an instrument should be more than just trying to make your kid smarter. Learning a new skill, being part of the music world, handling performances and being part of something you can be proud of gives kids experiences they wouldn’t have if they didn’t take music lessons. My son takes guitar lessons and it always amazes me to see this little introvert rock out enthusiastically for the crowd at recital.
If you are not musically inclined yourself, you may find it challenging to figure out what instrument and type of lessons are appropriate for your child. You may also not know how to go about finding an instructor, especially for a more specialized instrument. Starting around fifth grade most schools offer band as an extra-curricular activity. The band instructor will work with your child to determine what instrument would be appropriate for them. Of course, cost is always a concern. Some instruments are more expensive to play than others. There are several businesses that rent and sell instruments in town. You can also search for used instruments to keep costs down.
Musicians come in all shapes and sizes. Think Yo-Yo Ma vs. Dave Grohol, both are great musicians, but with very different styles. Learning to play an instrument is not easy and takes a high level of concentration and dedication. Each child is different; some will enjoy the solitary aspect of playing and discovering the types of music they enjoy most. Other kids will love the comradery of being part of a band and performing with others. Whatever your child’s motivation, a love of music can’t be forced.
There is always the question, “What age should kids start taking music lessons?” And, there are varying opinions on the subject. However, before you ever enroll your child in a music lesson expose them to music. When your child is very young, play quiet music for them and let them fall asleep to music. Once they’re older, you can watch live or recorded concerts, and point out certain instruments. This will help to foster the love and commitment to music that your child will need to be successful with lessons.
Younger Kids: Kids typically attend a half hour to hour lesson once a week and will need to practice in between sessions. Most music programs also present at least one if not two recitals a year that your child will need to perform at.
Older Kids: Kids typically attend a half hour to hour lesson once or twice a week and will need to practice in between sessions. If they’re part of a band, they will need to attend band practice weekly or daily, depending on their level. They will also have several performances throughout the year.
Obviously, kids will need to purchase or rent the instrument of their choice. They will also need lesson books. In addition, there are many accessories, such as tuners, pics, cases, reeds, etc. that may need to be purchased. Kids will also need to wear appropriate attire to rehearsals and may have uniforms that they will need to wear at performances.
Music lessons typically cost $15.00 to $25.00 per lesson. The costs will vary by organization, the instrument your child is learning to play, type of class (group or individual) your child will be taking and the number of children you are enrolling. You may also be able to receive a discount by paying for a full semester, rather than paying on a monthly or weekly basis. Some music programs offer scholarships, so be sure to ask for one, if you’re in need.
Local Places to Take Music Lessons
In addition to the companies listed below, schools have a number of music programs available for kids to participate in. Also, there are a number of private instructors not listed. A good source of local music instructors is your child’s elementary and secondary music teacher.
What are your experiences with children’s music lessons in Des Moines?