How To Stop Parents Pulling Their Kids Out Of Guitar Lessons

guitar practice kids guitar lessons motivation Apr 15, 2023
How To Stop Parents Pulling Their Kids Out Of Lessons

Children Don’t Quit Guitar Lessons… Their Parents Do!

Most parents enrol their children in guitar lessons with the hope that they'll develop some wonderful musical skills which will create a future hobby for them along with many opportunities and memories.

Like with any venture though, children can lose interest over time due to a variety of reasons.

While most parents see the benefit of investing in lessons long term, the lack of enthusiasm for practice at home that develops after a few months is often enough in their eyes to justify withdrawing their kids from lessons.

In this article, we will explore how you can work with parents to establish fair expectations for keeping students in lessons, the criteria for withdrawal should they really not be enjoying it, and how to motivate your child students to practice the guitar by understanding the challenges they face and creating an encouraging environment for practice.


The Challenge Of Learning New Skills Like Guitar

Children are not really any different to adults when it comes to challenges except adults have the advantage of experience. 

As adults, we understand that it takes time, patience and a healthy dose of persistence to achieve almost any worthwhile goal. 

Children don’t see the challenge from the same point of view and usually give up at the first sign of difficulty or resistance. (This is even more evident with the current generation of children who are addicted to instant gratification).

If it’s not fun they just don’t want to do it. 

Now this isn't a problem that's isolated to guitar students. It really doesn’t matter what new skill or activity a child is learning. They will usually start off inspired but will then have periods of doubt or lose enthusiasm over time.

(I remember hating having to go to football training, but because it was $100 a season to play instead of $30-$100 per week like most music lessons, there was no financial incentive for my parents to pull me out of the football team)

There could be a loss of confidence, frustration, boredom or just some other distraction that is more immediately gratifying. 

Naturally, as parents we don’t want to force our children so we attempt to reason with them. This can help at times with some children but it’s often ineffective because your reasoning is quickly forgotten and overtaken by the immediate gratification of something else.


Motivating Your Child To Want To Practice

For children to want to practice, and for that desire to sustain there needs to be some kind of motivation. 

The best approach to permanent motivation I have found is creating the right environment and circumstances for your student's success. You will need to work closely with their parents in order to set this up for them.

There are an infinite number of ways to achieve this so I will just give you an idea to get you started. 

The way I will do this is to describe two scenarios. One where the environment discourages the child from practising and one where the practice is encouraged.

A Home Environment That Discourages Guitar Practice

In the mornings once little Timmy has finished getting ready for school, he is free to play games on his iPad while his parents prepare for work and take care of his younger siblings. 

His guitar is sitting on its music stand begging to be played, but it doesn't even get a look from Timmy. 

After a busy day at school Timmy might have one of any number of activities that may include swimming, football training, coding club, ninja training or even tutoring (is it just me or do kids have an activity every day of the week these days?). He arrives home sometime around 5 or even 6 pm

He relaxes for a bit by watching his favourite TV shows or Youtube videos until dinner. After dinner, he has to do his homework but then gets rewarded with some game time. 

Around 7.30 pm his parents ask him to do some guitar practice but Charlie is just not in the mood. No matter which way his parents spin it he protests until his parents give up. 

At this point, one of his parents reads him a story and gets him (and his siblings) ready for bed. This process repeats itself each day. 

At his guitar lesson when his teacher asks “So what happen with your practice Timmy” he explains that he was just too busy with his homework and sports training sessions. 

Now while kids these days are busier than they've ever been, the truth is he spent a good part of his available time playing games and watching TV. 


A Home Environment That Encourages Guitar Practice

Natalie knows when she wakes up each day she has a choice. 

She can practice in the morning or the afternoon. 

If she chooses the afternoon there is no computer, games or TV. Her parents made it very clear that these are privileges and only come after she has spent time doing something that is educational. 

Most days Natalia does 20 minutes of guitar practice in the morning because she knows it means 20 minutes of game time after school. 

At first, the motivation for Natalie to practice the guitar came from playing games with her at home which were supervised by her parents.

Once it became a habit, and she became a little more experienced as a student, she was able to become more proactive in her practice and eventually started doing it independently.

Nowadays she really enjoys her guitar practice and the feeling she gets of gradual improvement. 

Most days after school and homework Natalia does another 20 minutes of guitar practice which means after dinner she can do whatever she likes. 

It’s often game time but she also spends time listening to music and exploring new music. 

When Natalia attends her guitar class each week she feels great because her practice routine is leading to constant improvement which she (and her parents) actively notice, which is a real confidence booster. 

This creates a cycle of positive forward momentum!

Put Rewards in the Right Order

Our two students Timmy and Natalie both have the same guitar teacher, the same guitar lessons and the same 168 hours in a week.

Where they differ is the home environment.

One environment has supportive parents who were proactive in creating a positive learning environment conducive to success at home.

The other has parents who wished for a positive outcome but weren't proactive in creating an environment that would lead to a successful outcome, and as a result, have to fight about the practice on a daily basis.

The home environment of your young students plays a crucial role in their guitar learning journey. 

One family has used rewards to motivate the student to work for their reward.

The other gives the students what they want when they want it and now has to fight a losing battle against dopamine addiction in order to get practice to take place.

It may require some effort on your behalf to communicate with parents and get them to buy in, but once set up will have a huge positive influence on the success of their children.

It's just like dinner - if you let your child eat ice cream before dinner, they may lose motivation or appetite for the food that is healthiest for them.



If you can work with your parents towards setting up a positive learning environment at home that encourages guitar practice, not only will your students stay with you for longer, but they will progress faster as well.

The key to keeping your students with you for longer is to have a great relationship and set clear expectations with your parents.

After all, they are the gatekeepers to the lessons.

I encourage you to share this article with the parents of all of your junior guitar students as a means of helping them help their kids.


About The Author

Michael Gumley is a seasoned guitar teacher, musician, and entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience in the industry. As the owner and head teacher at Melbourne Guitar Academy, he has helped countless aspiring guitarists achieve their musical dreams.

Michael's expertise in guitar instruction goes beyond the classroom. He is also the writer of the renowned Guitar Ninjas Curriculum, a comprehensive and innovative approach to guitar education that has gained recognition worldwide. In addition, Michael is a respected mentor for guitar teachers, coaching them through his successful 6-Figure Guitar Teacher Program, where he shares his wealth of knowledge and teaching resources to help them excel in their careers.

What truly sets Michael apart is his unwavering passion and enthusiasm for music and education. He brings an infectious energy to every lesson, inspiring and motivating his students to reach their full potential as guitarists. His mission is to raise the standard of musical education globally by empowering guitar teachers with the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to provide exceptional instruction to their students.

Whether you're a beginner picking up the guitar for the first time or an experienced player looking to hone your skills, Michael Gumley's expertise, experience, and dedication to excellence make him a trusted guide on your musical journey. Join him in his mission to revolutionise guitar education and unlock your full potential as a guitarist.

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