When kids start music lessons, they are usually very excited! Everything is fresh and new and the instrument is almost like a special new toy. But then after a while, the child begins to realize that doing this “thing” is hard work and suddenly it doesn’t have the same novelty as it did in the beginning.
Cue the power struggles, frustration, and tantrums that all stem from a disconnection between what the child wants and what the parent wants.
Child-led learning is when we follow our children’s interests and support their passions for optimal self-motivated learning. But of course, there are many things that we want our children to learn like math, science, literacy, and perhaps a musical instrument.
So what are we to do…follow our child’s passions like dinosaurs, minecraft, and legos or teach them the things they need to know?
What if I told you there was a third way…
Perhaps, we could combine the two and create experiences for the child to learn flute (or those core subjects) through the lens of their own unique passion.
Because, as Julie Bogart says in her book The Brave Learner, “You can learn anything through everything!”
Let’s say your 4 or 5 yr old loves princesses and only thinks about that all day. For music practice at home, you might dress up and play flute inside the castle that you built out of cardboard boxes.
Or if your 8yr old is interested in birds, you might find some flute music where the flute represents the bird. You could learn to identify the bird calls of various species and then compose your own birdsongs. You could take your binoculars outside, do some bird watching, and then play to the birds.
Or if your 10 yr old’s passion is video games, maybe you find some music theory apps with note reading and ear training games. Or download Acapella or Soundtrap and your child could record themselves playing and learn about video editing, sound engineering and music production.
When we partner up with children in their education and collaborate with them (instead of forcing our adult agenda on them), the resistance fades and makes way for passion. With this approach, education is more than just things we must learn, it becomes a fulfilling creative endeavor.