Believe it or not, rock music lessons offer some perks you might not find with other instruments. And kids who participate can do more than rattle your windows. Here, some experts share a few surprising reasons why it’s good for kids to rock out.
By Kathy Teel and Heather Shade
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when parents hear the words “rock band”? Most likely, lots of noise coming from your garage on the weekends. You might wonder, “Wouldn’t it be better for my child to focus on something that has a little more grace than the electric guitar or a drum set? Violin, perhaps?” It would certainly be more peaceful.
But what works for one kid doesn’t always work for another. While one may lean more toward a cello or piano, another may prefer the sounds that come from a bass guitar.
And here’s the good news: The experts we interviewed for this article say that’s okay! It may come as a shock to a lot of parents, but there are many similarities between the benefits of learning to play rock music and learning to play classical music. And there’s at least one surprising perk that you may not have previously imagined.
From practical, everyday skills….
Cheri Norton is general manager of Hoover Music Company in Springfield, Missouri, which provides music lessons for many different instruments and styles of music, from electric guitar and drum kit to strings and brass. “Rock lessons,” she says, “like other music lessons, help develop skills of responsibility, commitment, critical thinking, and more.”
As with any other type of music lessons, what your child gets out of the activity depends largely upon what’s required of them — and what their teacher brings to the table. “It completely depends on the content of the lessons, the instructor, and the amount of practice a student puts in throughout the week outside of the lesson,” says Norton. That’s why, when interviewing different music instructors for your child, it’s important to find out their policies on practice, the types of skills they highlight, and what their goals are for the students they teach.This is true whether you decide to enroll your child in private lessons on the bass guitar or the piccolo.
Mike Winchel, guitarist since 2012 for the hard rock/heavy metal band Last Contact, agrees. Winchel has been playing the guitar for the last 16 years. One of the first things kids learn in rock music lessons, says Winchel: There are no shortcuts to success. “A lot of kids want to learn how to play their favorite songs before learning the basics,” he says. Music instructors, however, know that’s not the road to success in any type of music. “So you have to learn patience.”
“Laying a musical foundation is hard work, and it takes practice,” Norton adds. “There is no fast track to rocking out on the guitar and being successful in music. Although playing music is absolutely fun, the fun is a reward for all of the work.”
To previously unappreciated musical territories…
Winchel also brings up a point that many parents may not have considered: By taking rock-style lessons, kids can begin to explore previously unappreciated musical territories.
“Rock bands of every genre have their roots in blues and jazz, which are rooted in both folk and classical music,” he says. “The more kids learn about playing rock music, they more they learn about other styles. Then they end up expanding their taste and appreciation, as well as their skills.”
In fact, kids who would normally be resistant to listening to or learning about other types of music may find that rock music lessons open the door to a love of different styles later in life. What’s more, adds Winchel, learning classical instrumentation, country chords, blues scales, jazz drums, bass funk, etc., “will only make rock music easier to learn. So your budding musician will be proficient not only in rock ’n’ roll, but in other genres as well.”
Learning to play rock music can also open doors to many other activities, besides being in a rock band, Winchel says. “If you can play guitar, you can translate those skills to orchestra,” he explains. Likewise, kids who learn drum set can find a role on the bass drum, timpani, snare, or drum set in a concert band, jazz band, or marching band. “And kids can use the dedication, practice, and patience in every aspect of their adult life,” Winchel says “Being able to struggle, learn, grow, and still express what’s inside you is what being in a rock band is about.”
But in the end, it’s all about the music.
While there may be distinct differences between the rock-band world of wailing guitar riffs and the orchestra world of soaring violin solos, it’s safe to say that both require discipline — a skill that offers lifelong benefits to every child.
As parents, one of the most important things we teach our children is about the rewards of persistence. “With consistency and hard work,” Norton says encouragingly, “their dreams can become more than just dreams. They can be reality.”
Enroll Your Child in Music Lessons: It’s as Easy as One, Two, Three …
Ready to turn the garage (or basement) into your kids’ all-new rock band practice room? First, find local schedules for music lessons for your child by visiting ActivityHero.