Best Ideas for Helping Kids Focus During Ukulele Lessons

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Category: Parenting Tips

Kids as young as 4 years old can start playing ukulele, but it’s often best to wait until a child turns 7 to start with formal lessons. Teaching a child to play the ukulele can be very challenging, especially if you’re teaching very young children who have a short attention span. Their minds would often wander or they’re full of so much energy it’s hard to get them to sit still for 5 minutes.

So how do you get kids to focus on learning ukulele skills without resorting to threats of taking gadget time away? Here are some great ideas.

Don’t play the uke – yet

It’s easy for parents to get excited about their kid learning an instrument, but if the child is not really into it, lessons can simply feel like a chore. To help a child focus on ukulele lessons later on, it’s important to develop a sense of appreciation for music and the instrument itself first.

Expose your child to music early on by going to concerts, watching buskers and visiting music stores and studios. Live performances can be very inspiring to children, and seeing artists play can spark their imagination. They may imagine playing the instrument themselves.

Aside from exposure to music, another preparatory thing you can do is signing your child up to a music-centered playschool, where they can learn the basics of rhythm, movement and singing while having fun.

Play a game or two

Children learn a lot through fun games and activities that challenge their skills. A straight up, sit-down lecture won’t do young kids any good, so if you’re going to be giving ukulele lessons, you need to present them in a fun way. Clapping out rhythms, singing and making a ditty about musical notes go a long way in teaching music to a child without it becoming boring. There are lots of ukulele games you can play and adapt to a child’s age, concentration and skill level.

Stick to familiar music

Another way to keep kids engaged during ukulele lessons is by teaching music they are already familiar with. This will keep them focused on playing because they won’t be clueless about the music. You can also ask them about their favorite nursery rhymes or popular songs, and tell them that you can show them how to play it if they practice and work really hard.

Encourage exploration

Children have an inquisitive nature and learn a lot through exploration. Let them “discover” notes on the uke and how the pitch changes when the strings are fretted in a certain way. Because this is something they learned themselves (rather than you telling them exactly where to place their finger), they would be more invested in knowing the hows and whys of it, and this is where you as the instructor comes in to offer an explanation about string length, intonation, and the like. You’ll find an attentive audience hanging on to your every word!

Those are just some of the things you can do to prepare children for ukulele lessons and help them stay focused. Make sure to consider a child’s personality and interests when giving lessons to make these more fulfilling, fun and something they look forward to every day.