As a Parent of a Music Student Should You Also Take Lessons Yourself?

by Cassie Winterhalter on November 20, 2014

 Dr J Clarke

Photo Credit: Dr J Clarke

It’s sure been a chilly few days recently here in the DC area. I know some parts of the country have had it much worse, but 24 degrees fahrenheit has been quite cold for here in November. When I first lived in DC, the cold weather didn’t really bother me having lived previously in Wisconsin, Connecticut, and upstate New York– all places that get extremely cold in the winter. Now that I’ve been here for over 8 years, I’m afraid I’ve turned into a bit more of a wimp with the cold weather, and I don’t like it when it gets below the low 30s. Anyway, I hope you are staying warm and toasty wherever you are and are excited for Thanksgiving next week! As for today’s topic…..

If your son or daughter takes music lessons, is it a good idea for you to also take music lessons yourself?

I believe that in 90% of circumstances this is a really wonderful idea. I wrote an entire blog post on the benefits of taking lessons as an adult, which you can check out here.

The benefits that apply to you specifically if you’re a parent and your child also takes lessons are as follows:

  • It’s an amazing way to bond

Most people share a common bond with their friends. Often the bond stems from having the same interest. While you don’t get to choose your family, family members very often bond the same way. When I was growing up my mom and I bonded over many shared interests including a love of speaking French and experiencing French culture. Anytime there was a French related activity, we’d also have a great time going together.

If both you and your son or daughter take music lessons, you can share musical activities with each other. You can play your pieces for one another, discuss musical concepts, and attend concerts together. If you take lessons right along with your child, I can guarantee that it will bring you closer.

  • Your child will be motivated to practice when they see you practicing

While I’m not a parent (other than to dogs) just yet, I hear that the best way to teach your child something is to show them by example. Children learn by seeing what their parents do not by listening to what they say. If you are devoted and committed to your lessons and show this by practicing often and being prepared for your lessons, your child will want to do the same. Also, if you genuinely love music, and show this love with your kids, they will likely to love music as well.

  • You can help your child when he has trouble in lessons

When I was growing up taking lessons, I could not turn to anyone in my family for help. My parents were both non-musicians. My brother played the trumpet for a month, and my younger sister played piano for a year. If I ever had difficulty with what I was working on for my lessons, I was completely on my own to figure it out or just wait until the next lesson to ask my teacher for help. If you are able to help your son or daughter when they have trouble with their music, it’s truly amazing! They will really appreciate it, and so will their teacher!

As for the 10% of the time when I think it’s not a good idea to take lessons alongside your child, the only time I would not suggest it is if you are unable to fully commit yourself to lessons. If you don’t have enough time to practice and be prepared for each lesson, it is not a good idea. You will not set a good example and can actually end up causing more harm than good, as your child will think that it’s ok to just show up at lessons having not have practiced. If your schedule is very busy and hectic it’s best to find other ways to connect with your child such as listening to classical music in the car and attending concerts together.

Now I want to hear from you. Are you are parent that takes lessons while your child is also taking lessons? What benefits have you noticed from doing this? Leave a comment below with your insights. If you haven’t already, subscribe to the email newsletter and “like us” on Facebook.

Have a warm, soothing day!



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