We have all been there. We start something and it seems exciting then three months into it, it just isn’t as much fun as it used to be. As an instructor, I have found that most students who will quit an instrument, will quit around three months. If they push past three months, they will stick with it. Why is that? Well, most of the time it takes three months to get all the basics learned. These basics may not be the most fun things to learn, but they are important if you want to be good at your instrument. If you are able to get those basics learned, then you can start learning all the fun stuff that made you want to learn the instrument in the first place. So, how do we get there? What can we do to keep the interest level up?
1. Make sure your teacher gives you at least one thing you enjoy doing.
Every person is different, and as such, every person is going to enjoy one thing more than another. When I teach my students, I typically give them three different things to work on. Majority of the time, they will like at least one of those things. The three things are: Music theory/sight reading, Instrument skills/exercises, and song/simple melodies. For students who are visual learners, music theory and sight reading is typically where they will excel and learn. Tactile and auditory learners, both tend to enjoy the exercises and melodies. Depending on their personality, they may like more the exercises because it is straight forward and repetitive and they can see obvious results, or they may enjoy the creativity in improvisation and creating melodies and music. All of these things are very important when becoming a well-rounded musician. But, if you enjoy one over the other, make sure you give yourself ample time to practice what you enjoy to keep your interest in your instrument alive.
2. Communicate with your teacher if you are starting to get bored; don’t just quit.
I appreciate my students who are honest with me about whether they are or are not enjoying their lessons. It is frustrating and disappointing to me when I find out a student quit their music lessons and they never gave me any indication that they weren’t enjoying them. Most every music teacher will not be offended if you tell them that you do not enjoy something or another that they are teaching. We recognize that not all things we teach are exciting, but there should be something you enjoy in your lessons. If there isn’t, than something needs to change.
I had a student who was taking piano lessons who always practiced, worked hard, and seemed excited about her lessons. One week her mother pulled me aside and told me that she was not as excited about practicing as she used to be. I appreciated the mother telling me this, so that I could inquire further and ask the student what she wanted me to change. It turned out that this student really enjoyed everything I was teaching her, but wanted to incorporate more pop music into her learning. Once I added this change, her practicing improved and she was excited about piano again.
3. Find the right teacher.
Every teacher has a different style, personality, and focus. Before quitting your lessons, ask yourself if you still desire to learn your instrument and if maybe it is the teacher that is making you lose interest. If you have already communicated your desire for change in your lessons and your teacher hasn’t made any modifications, then maybe it is time to change teachers. Every instructor at Sessions Music primary desire is to have their students learn and love music. I have had many times where I had a student that I was teaching that I felt they would mesh better with a different instructor. I would rather switch the student to a different instructor and have them thrive then for them to lose interest in their instrument because of my teaching style or personality. I have had many times where students came to me having had lessons elsewhere with a different instructor and left because of the instructor’s teaching style. When I find out they have had lessons previously, I always ask them what they liked and didn’t like about their previous lessons. Make sure you communicate with your instructor what you want and don’t want to learn. We will enjoy teaching you a whole lot more if you enjoy your lessons.
So, before you quit your lessons, make sure you ask yourself if you still want to learn your instrument. Because if you do, then maybe there is another reason why you want to quit that can be solved with some communication.