After-School Music Lessons for Children

September is a bit like a second January. There’s a sense of newness about it. A freshness. New beginnings. It’s the time of year when many parents are thinking about new hobbies for their children. And these days there’s so much choice: sport, art, drama, dance and music. For many parents it can be hard to know where to begin.

If you’re wanting to give your children an opportunity to develop a skill that they will have for life then music isn’t a bad place to start. After all, learning a musical instrument is very beneficial as it has been proven to stimulate the brain, improve memory, teach discipline and patience, improve confidence and increase social skills amongst other things.

Not to forget the pure joy that can come from learning and playing an instrument. Of course music isn’t for everyone, but at the same time if you don’t give your children an opportunity to try it for themselves they (and you) will never know.

Music Generation Sligo have plenty of opportunities available on the After School Programme at their centres in Easkey, Gurteen, Ballymote, Grange and Sligo town. But first what do you need to consider when choosing an instrument with your child? Let’s look at four of the main factors: cost, difficulty, transportation and (most importantly) enjoyment.

Cost:

This is a big one. Musical instruments can be expensive and, let’s face it, when your child is just starting out on their musical journey it can be hard to know how long that musical journey is going to be! Understandably most parents do not want to spend a fortune on an instrument that could be cast aside a few months later! However, taking up a new instrument doesn’t need to break the bank!

Music Generation Sligo has rental options available for certain instruments.  Cellos and harps cost €50 and guitars are available to rent at €30 for the academic year, subject to availability.  If traditional music is more your thing Music Generation Sligo are very lucky to have a partnership with Na Poiboiri Uilleann (NPU).  Uilleann pipe lessons are available in the Coleman Centre, Gurteen and Sligo town at Gael Scoil, Chnoc na Ré.   The NPU offer a subsided rate  to Music Generation Sligo students; €100 for rental costs and a €200 deposit.

It’s not only the cost of the instrument that can be of concern to parents but also the cost of the lessons. At Music Generation Sligo there is the option to learn in a group class at a cost of €200 for 25 weeks.  Group classes are ideal for children just starting out as it allows them to begin to learn an instrument without parents having to make a big financial commitment.

Difficulty:

This is a tricky one when starting a child on a musical instrument because everyone learns differently and what one child finds easy another could find difficult and vice versa. The best thing here is for parents and children to be open-minded. Expose your child to lots of different instruments. Find examples of them on YouTube or even better if you can, take your child to a concert when they can see the different instruments in action. Listen to your child and see which instrument they are drawn towards. If a child really wants to play an instrument they will try to work through the difficulties. The important thing is to let your child choose the instrument that they want to play.

Transportation:

Is the instrument big or small? Is it heavy or light? How is it transported? Is it transported at all? Pianos tend not to be as it is often expected that if a piano is needed at a venue one will be provided, but with regards to most other instruments it would be expected that the musician would bring their own instrument to wherever they were playing it.

However, although it’s a concern, don’t let transportation put you off encouraging your child to play a bigger instrument. Take the cello for example. Though you do need to have enough space in your car to transport it, it’s also worth bearing in mind that cellos come in different sizes depending on the size of the child.  Also it’s a fantastic instrument with a beautiful, deep, sonorous sound and it’s versatile too. Traditionally the cello is more likely to be associated with classical music but, as artists such as The 2 Cellos are proving, it can hold its own with more modern pop and rock music too. Music Generation Sligo has a number of cellos for rental and is one of the instruments on offer at the Gurteen centre.

Enjoyment:

This should be the most important consideration when your child chooses the instrument that they want to play. Music should be a source of enjoyment, a bit of fun, a way of relaxing. True, if you want to be good at it you do have to put the effort in but that can still be enjoyable. Music should never become a chore. So give your child the opportunity to play an instrument that they’re going to enjoy. After all, enjoyment is often the key to success at anything.

The great news is that there are still places left on the Music Generation Sligo After School Programme in Easkey, Gurteen, Ballymote and Grange and there’s more programmes starting in Sligo town in October;  so if you have a child who loves to sing, get in touch about the youth choral programme Sligo Youth Voices.  If they dream about becoming a Rockstar, then why not join the teenage band programme in Rumble Rehearsal Studios? (suitable for instrumentalists with 2 years + experience and singers of all abilities).

If you’d like to know more about Music Generation Sligo programmes, there are two open evenings where you can meet some of our Music Generation Sligo professional musicians and tutors.   The first is at Colaiste Iascaigh Easkey on Monday 23rd September  4pm– 6pm and the second is on Tuesday 24th September at the Coleman Centre in Gurteen 4pm – 6pm.

To get in touch email [email protected] or call 071 9138306  (between 9am and 5pm Monday – Friday only).

 

Article written by Music Generation Sligo tutor Colette Brooks