Reading Time: 3 minutes
by Lara Levitan
Maybe it’s been ages since you took music lessons, and a part of you has always longed to tickle those ivories again. Or maybe you’ve never taken music lessons, but are looking for a fun and challenging way to bond with your kid.
If you thought music lessons were *just* for kids, you’re wrong. There’s no better time to start (or restart) lessons for yourself. Here’s why.
1. You’ll inspire each other.
Does seeing your kid tinkering at the piano bring back happy memories of your own childhood, stirring the musician inside? Seize the moment. Even if those memories aren’t so happy (cranky teacher, overly demanding parent), taking music lessons with your own kids now can rewrite the script.
“Watching [my son’s] love for music grow reminded me of my love for music, and I saw opportunities for us to play together in the future,” said parent Preya Tarsney, whose son Jeevun has been studying piano for two years.
Conversely, your kid will love seeing you play, and benefit from knowing that everyone struggles with learning something new— even mom or dad.
“Our kids don’t often see us in that role, typically we’re expected to just know how to do everything,” said parent Cristina Lasko, whose three children have all been in music lessons. “In fact, it was easier for our daughter to learn the instrument than for me, and she quickly surpassed my skills.”
2. It increases accountability.
It’s like having a workout buddy; you’re more likely to complete the task (in this case, practicing) if it’s shared. And your child, like it or not, is likely to keep tabs on your practicing.
“We do practice together at times, and motivate each other,” said parent Andrea Monek, whose daughter Amelia has been in music lessons for three years. “If Amelia had not started taking piano, I may have never started either.”
3. You can share the nerves at recital time.
Not only will you bond over shared recital jitters, but you’ll also increase each other’s confidence. Imagine being a seven-year-old about to play the piano for the first time in front of a group of strangers. Now imagine that seven-year-old knowing her mom or dad is in the same boat.
Your kid might even improve your performance, as was the case for Tarsney. When she played with her son at one recital, he gently reminded her to come in at the first chorus when she forgot.
“I thanked him afterward for being a good partner and love that he wanted to play with me,” she said.
4. You can talk shop together.
If you find yourself amazed by Clementi’s sonatinas or Pachelbel’s fugues, you’ll have your kid to nerd out with.
“I like that Jeevun is taking note of Bach versus Mozart versus pop music and differentiating. Who knew I would be having such discussions with my child?” Tarsney said. “There are often stories behind music that we explore and research together– it is a fun project for us.”
5. You can help your kids get the most out of music lessons.
When you’re taking music lessons, you have more clarity about what your child is experiencing. Consequently, you can better understand and have greater empathy for her challenges or frustrations.
“It can be eye-opening for parents to see what goes into making progress as a musician, and what they can do to help their kids get the most out of their music lessons,” said instructor Dominic German.
For Cristina, taking music lessons with her kids helped to put her in their shoes. “It reminded me of the difficulty of sitting down and practicing, and what it’s like to experience performance anxiety,” she said.
6. Taking music lessons as an adult is just plain smart.
It’s been established that playing music is good for your brain, and that children who take music lessons reap mental benefits that last into adulthood. But even adults taking music lessons for the first time are reshaping their brains for the better.
Jennifer Bugos, an assistant professor of music education at the University of South Florida, Tampa, told National Geographic: “Musical training seems to have a beneficial impact at whatever age you start. It contains all the components of a cognitive training program that sometimes are overlooked, and just as we work out our bodies, we should work out our minds.”
“I felt really good to know that I was using parts of my brain that hadn’t been very engaged before, and it felt good to know that it is possible to learn and develop at any age,” Cristina said.
Regardless of the brain research, if you’re a music lover, adding more music to your life is a great thing.
“[Taking music lessons] also reminds you of the rewards of practicing, and finding a place for music in your life,” Tarsney said. “It keeps me grounded and balanced.”
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About the Author
Lara Levitan is Communications Manager for Piano Power. She is a freelance writer and a professional music-appreciator. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.