Music for Young Children

I am thinking of signing my child up for piano lessons. But should I let him play purely for fun or should I let him take the exams? Will taking exams kill his interest?

What the Expert Says

By Joel Chua

Manager at Sonare Music School

Bachelor of Music Arts

Performer for Music and Improv Festivals across Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines and New Zealand

For starters, it does NOT mean that a child preparing for an exam will not have fun! Having fun and preparing for exams should never be mutually exclusive and a good teacher will always find ways to keep lessons fun/interesting even while imparting the discipline required to perform well in an exam. This may be achieved through repertoire outside of the exam syllabus or simply through igniting a passion for the exam syllabus.

Understand Your Purpose of Learning Music

In a competitive society like Singapore, one cannot undermine the advantage your child might gain through accredited qualifications. However, it’s important for parent/child to assess and agree on the collective desired outcome of learning the piano or any other musical instruments.

Is the purpose to give them an advantage in school and potentially enrol into specialised music programmes? Or it is to improve the child’s overall discipline or simply to provide the child with a different experience? Needless to say, all these circumstances will end up benefitting the child who has the opportunity to learn music. Think about WHY you want your child to learn music, and find a school that has good, engaging teachers who will work WITH your child on their learning journey.

Do Not Force Your Child to take Exams

From my personal experience, what really kills the child’s interest is when parents insist that their child has to take music exams when they’re uninterested or not ready, and NOT the process of taking the exams itself. Younger children should use exams as an opportunity to gain confidence and better understand the things they learn, and not as another experience in their life to be afraid or ashamed of. A good teacher can accurately assess the readiness of your child for music exams and prepare them for success in time to come.

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