Magazine article Working Mother

Music Lessons?

Magazine article Working Mother

Music Lessons?

Article excerpt

If she's lucky enough to go to a school that offers them, your child may get to start music lessons in the third grade. But many parents opt to give their children lessons even earlier, believing this is the way kids realize their full potential. Just how do you know if your child should play an instrument, and what's the right age to begin lessons?

One thing's for sure: "Music enhances a child's life," says Stacy DeBroff, author of Sign Me Up! The Parents' Complete Guide to Sports, Activities, Music Lessons, Dance Classes and Other Extracurriculars and mother of two children. And research suggests that music lessons may improve IQ. "But be careful about starting too early," DeBroff warns. "As with soccer or ballet, you run the risk of burnout if you rush it."

Ask yourself if your child is ready: Is this what she wants, or is it your dream? If the timing seems right, try some lessons to see how they fit your child-and your schedule. Can someone take her to piano lessons while you're at work, or will you have to go on Saturday? Also, an adult may need to monitor practice for a while. Does that mesh with your office hours? Rather than getting a new instrument, buy a used one, rent or borrow. You'll be glad you did if your child wants to stop lessons early, as some do.

If your grade schooler does talk of quitting, ask if something is bothering her. For instance, is she comfortable with the teacher, or discouraged because her friends are teasing her? Also, ask her instructor's opinion about shortening lessons or shifting practice from evenings to mornings. …

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