Is there more to games than just having fun?

 There is something about the word “game” that motivates children and adults alike. When you say  “lets do some work now” how does that compare to “lets play a game now” – I’m sure you’ll agree the differences in enthusiasm are enormous.

If you’ve ever wondered:

  • Why your child is playing games in their music class instead of learning their instrument
  • what benefit a game may have on your child
  • If there is more to a game than just having fun
  • How to make and use your own games
  • How you can get your child practicing without playing

Then I have found an excellent article called ” Come Play” which  explains step by step how and why games can help your child to learn and retain more. The article is written for educators and business leaders in inspiring them to make their events more meaningful to their participants and explains that games are not just “time Fillers”, but can play a more meaningful role in helping to motivate and to problem solve.

The article also tells us that games are not just about fun despite what they look like from the outside. To a parent sitting on the sideline watching their child playing a game instead of playing their instrument this may be hard to believe, but games are actually linked to positive emotions and that is why games  are so impactive.  

 “Students who are having fun generate positive emotions, exhibit reduced stress levels and are more willing to pay attention and participate”.

The article also states:

“Games challenge our curiosity, invention and creativity and often bring intense enjoyment and laughter. Laughter is tied to strong positive emotions that allow the brain to make better perceptual maps”

So there you have it – next time you see your child having fun playing games instead of playing their instrument, instead of saying to yourself why am I paying all this money to see my child play games perhaps ask how can I get my child to play games like this in their home practice. Perhaps practice will become less of a chore and will become much more meaningful!

What instrument should my child learn?

That is a question that is not asked often enough!

Often parents are pushed into choosing an instrument based on the child’s choice – rather than what is the right instrument for their age.

At our music school we were often asked if children could play the drums or guitar at an early age (say around 4 or 5 years of age).

At this age children simply don’t have the co-ordination developed or the physical characteristics required to play those instruments. Certainly they can have toy guitars and drums, and encouraging their enthusiasm for the instrument is the right thing to do, but…

You should definitley not consider private tuition in anything but these two instruments under the age of around ten years old…..

Those two instruments are the Piano and the Violin.

musical clipartViolin

The piano and the Violin are the only two instruments that children have the physical size and ability to cope with at an early age. All the research I’ve read, every other music teacher I’ve talked to and my personal experiences as a music teacher back up this opinion.

If they do attempt an instrument that they don’t yet have the co-ordination or the physical strength for they’ll quickly get discouraged, as they wont be able to progress fast enough to enjoy playing.

The net effect of learning these instruments at an early age, and THEN going on to play drums, guitar, bagpipes or whatever the child wants to learn when they have the physical ability will result in a much greater musician in the end.

Now of course you can ignore this advice, and go and get private guitar or drum lessons – however if you are really interested in them playing long term then I suggest you find a specialist early learning piano course, such as found in a Yamaha Music School.. This is what our daughter will be doing when she turns four!

Parents Ask your music questions here!

Parents – this page is for you!

 At the Fun Music Company we created this page so that we can help you help your child with their music lessons. We have created resource pages which tell you about the different note types, and we have questions and answers which help explain everything about music, hopefully in a way which you can understand – even if you’ve never read a note of music in your life!

 What do you need to know to help your child with their music lessons?

Do you need to know what instrument to buy them?

Do you need to know how much they should practice?

Here is the place to ask. This Blog is in a question and answer format – send your questions to parentsguide@funmusicco.com and we’ll answer them and post the answers on this blog as soon as possible