A lot of parents sign their children up for several lessons a week, hoping the kids are on the way to become the next piano virtuoso, all the while paying upwards of $75 an hour for music lessons. How can they afford that?
When I was about 13, I wanted to learn how to play the drums. So, since drums are loud, my nice parents shelled out a big chunk of cash to buy me an electronic set, where I could plug my headphones in to listen instead of angering every neighbor in a 2 mile radius.
I didn’t start out with lessons – I just played along to my CD player. But eventually, I hit a ceiling and needed help. So my parents signed me up for a drum teacher.
We started meeting once a week, and I learned how to read sheet music and learn different rhythms. After, say…3-4 months, I was exponentially better. Then, I stopped going to lessons, and went back to my CD player. I never took drum lessons again!
Honing in On Musical Motivation
Every parents knows that children can completely lose all interest in the activities a child does every day. A lot of money can be wasted in this process if parents aren’t careful – music lessons are a great example of this.
Let’s say your kid expresses this massive, never-ending desire to learn the electric guitar. They want everything – a shiny new rockstar guitar, a huge amp, an expensive case, new guitar strings, guitar lessons, the whole 9 yards. Then, after, say, 2 months, you find yourself blowing off the dust of the $1000 you spent on the equipment. Don’t be that parent!
Hone in on what your children really want. There comes a point when you really should devote your time, effort, and money into a child’s passion (boy scouts, soccer camps, music lessons, etc), but you need to really know that you’re not spending a ton of money that’s going to go to waste.
Alternative Music Lesson Ideas
When talking about music lessons, you can probably tell in the first few weeks or months if this is the right fit. You don’t even have to put down any extra money on instruments or equipment: just pay for the lessons. Most studios and tutoring centers have their own equipment, so let your child play there. If they like it, great – start thinking about how much money you want to spend. If they don’t, good. Bask in your acclaimed foresight that saved you hundred of unnecessary dollars.
There are some instruments that you really shouldn’t just “buy,” though. For instance, if your child wants to learn the violin and he has proven he’s serious, I’d suggest looking into renting one (you might do the same for the saxophone, a cello, a flute – these are pretty pricey) from a music store or simply signing your child up for the school’s band, if they have one.
Don’t spend a fortune on simple parenting issues like making sure they eat healthy or when they go back to school. Make sure you know what you’re buying first.