How to Help Your Child Achieve Their Musical Goals

From orchestra to marching band, playing a musical instrument can help your child hone their mental acuity and develop a unique and useful set of skills. Alongside the already-impressive ability to read and create music, playing a musical instrument can help improve academic performance, sharpen memory, improve coordination and collaboration, refine motor skills, and practice public presentation. And, believe it or not, that’s not all! 

Playing a musical instrument also helps your child cultivate the invaluable and transferable skills of patience and perseverance. Kids who play music tangibly learn that goals and the satisfaction they bring are only achieved through focus, a willingness to embrace new challenges, and, of course, practice, practice, practice!  

If your child or teen has their eye on the prize of first chair, the right support can help them move more than a few measures ahead. Here are 6 ways you can help your favorite band nerd make first chair (and enjoy the crescendo of getting there).  

1. Choose Invisalign (because wind instruments and braces don’t mix).  

Traditional braces are an effective way to help your child achieve a straighter smile for life. However, metal braces and playing a wind instrument are not often a harmonious duet. Braces have protruding metal pieces that can quickly irritate or injure the mouth’s delicate tissues when combined with the pressure of maintaining good embouchure against an instrument’s hard mouthpiece. 

Though dental wax or orthodontic silicone can offer temporary protection and relief from sharp or pokey orthodontic appliances, each one comes with limitations. In addition to looking like a blob is stuck to the front of one’s teeth, dental wax is a breeding ground for oral bacteria and has to be replaced at least twice daily. Orthodontic silicone offers a cleaner appearance, although it must be applied to teeth that are completely dry in order to stick. In both cases, this extra effort and planning demand awareness and energy, which could be better spent on actual practice.

Whether your child plays a woodwind or brass instrument, Invisalign can help them straighten their teeth without compromising their comfort, time, energy, or focus. Though Invisalign’s clear aligners can be easily removed and stored for up to four hours a day, many students find that they can comfortably wear their aligners with carefree confidence during rehearsals and performances.     

2. Motivate, not suffocate. 

Wanting your child to succeed and achieve their dreams is normal, positive, and healthy. Though setting clear expectations (like practicing for 30 minutes before screen time) can help your child stay focused, pressure and criticism can actually squander your child’s motivation, increase stress, and diminish mental well-being

Instead of pushing performance, you can motivate your child by empowering them to set their own goals and supporting their ability to conquer challenges. Studies have shown that when people are independently driven by activities they enjoy (versus outcomes), they’re more likely to offer their genuine effort and achieve higher quality results. 

3. Invest in private lessons. 

Though your personal or professional expertise may be able to help your child prepare for a math quiz or devise a science experiment, unless you’re a trained musician, you may not be able to supply your child with the guidance they need to refine their tone and technique. Alongside giving your child one-on-one attention, private music lessons can allow your child to explore their unique musical interests, build confidence, and perfect the skills they need to take their abilities to a higher level.  

4. Make practice dates with fellow bandmates. 

Just like going to the gym with a friend can help you stick to your workout routine, practicing music with a fellow bandmate can help your child experience the benefits of camaraderie, which includes fun, discipline, and a shared sense of purpose and commitment.     

5. Customize their practice area. 

Dedicating and customizing a space in your home for your child to practice music can provide an array of positive benefits. On one hand, your child can benefit from having a space where she or he won’t be interrupted by siblings or distracted by outside stimulation. On the other hand, having a dedicated space can help your child make regular practice a habit instead of an obligation. Last but not least, adding some soundproofing to your child’s practice area can allow them to hear sounds more clearly while keeping the rest of your home noise-free. 

Though you may not be ready to install a full-blown music studio into your house, here are a few easy and affordable tips you can use to partner with your child in creating a practice space:

  1. Hang soundproofing panels, blankets, or curtains.
  2. Place bookshelves against the walls to dampen sounds and create storage.
  3. Let your child decorate with images or quotes that inspire them.    
  4. Keep the space off-limits for other activities.
  5. Have your child make their own door sign: “Practice in session. Please come again later!” 

6. Correct oral health and cosmetic concerns. 

A healthy mouth is vital for your child to play their best. Untreated oral health issues, such as cracked, weak, or decayed teeth, can make playing the instrument they love unnecessarily uncomfortable or challenging. A well-designed porcelain crown can restore your child’s oral health, function, appearance, and comfort, while porcelain veneers can correct cosmetic concerns, such as gaps or chips, that may be hindering your child’s self-esteem. With a smile that’s beautiful and healthy, your child will be able to radiate their own ray of confidence—whether or not they achieve first chair.  

Through customized and compassionate family dentistry, we’re here to help your child feel their best on and off the field and stage, so they can pursue their passions, achieve their goals, and grow as human beings. Contact us to schedule your child’s next appointment at Ada Smile Place today.