Raising Musicians: How to Prepare Them for the Future?3 min read
In an editorial on “The Impact of Music on Human Development and Well-Being”, researchers highlight the ways music enables people of all ages to express and communicate. Music has a great impact on our development as people. For children and adolescents, musical training can help improve reading skills, increase a sense of agency, and help regulate a person’s mood or emotional well-being. This may be why learning to play music has always remained a popular activity for the youth.
While mastering basic music skills is already a feat, some teens like to take this further by actively pursuing a career in music. As parents, it’s important to guide your child through their endeavors and set realistic expectations. Many people underestimate how difficult a music career can be. However, it is not impossible, especially if your child has talent. Here, we’ll take a look at how you can help nurture your child’s musical gifts and consider music as a legitimate career in the future:
Share different kinds of music with them
Young musicians should be exposed to all types of music and ideas. Play different music genres at home or in your car, so your teen can absorb a diverse range of sounds. You can even accompany your child to local music events, which are often hosted for free during warmer seasons. Ask them plenty of questions about their favorite artists, plus their opinions on whatever music they hear — like their interpretation of the songs. A study on empathy and music from Southern Methodist University highlights how music is a powerful teaching tool for empathy, as it is a form of social communication that can convey meaning and elicit an emotional response. Music helps us engage with one another and manage our social environment, so it can be a good way to show how you value your child’s thoughts.
Encourage them to practice
Aspiring musicians must practice often in order to improve their craft. Encourage your child to set aside at least 30 minutes per day to practice, preferably when they’re rested and alert. It’s not easy to become good at playing an instrument, considering how our culture endorses immediate gratification. Do praise them whenever they rehearse so they focus on the process and the hard work, rather than the product. Plus, regular music practice can be a deterrent to teenage mood swings. We mentioned in our post “Music Therapy and its Merits” how playing instruments can release bottled-up emotions, reduce feelings of isolation, and improve the overall mood of a person. Just be sure to set up an ideal practice environment for you and your child.
Teach them about the gig economy
Creatives like artists and musicians have more opportunities thanks to freelancing. A feature on the gig economy by LHH notes that there are approximately 1.6 million freelance workers in the US, while other estimates claim more than 25% of all workers (or 60 million people) engage with short-term contracts in some way. Nearly all musicians starting out will work freelance, which is why it is smart to nudge your teen into practical experiences such as performing in front of crowds as soon as possible. If your child is old enough you can even encourage them to busk. However, they must also be warned that the gig economy can be difficult. The Conversation highlights how many musicians have to take on a wide range of arts-related and non-arts activities to maintain their financial income. Your child needs to understand that they will likely have to take on extra work to supplement their music career.
Support them through the creative process
An article on songs written by teenagers from Insider illustrates how stars like Olivia Rodrigo, Billie Eilish, and Chance the Rapper had a lot of important things to say, even before they hit 20 years old. If your teen has a similar creative streak in writing lyrics or composing music, support them through their endeavors. Make sure they have the resources and tools available to them. More importantly, cheer them through bad days. It can be frustrating to pursue a career in music, but it does bring color to our daily lives.