School-based music education programs are a great introduction into
the musical arts. But more often than not, the school environment has
its limitations. There simply isn’t enough time during the course of a
single class to provide the kind of in-depth instruction that some
children need. In addition, a child with true musical potential might
face a glass ceiling if they don’t have exposure to musical education
outside of the school setting. So it’s time to get kids extra music lessons at home.
Finding alternatives to school-based musical education can be a
challenge, but here are some of the possibilities you can consider for
* Private music lessons.
Private music lessons are the ideal alternative to school-based music
education. Private lessons give the student lots of quality time with
the instructor. Not only that, in a school setting the instructor is
often a “jack of all trades, master of none.” A private teacher, on
the other hand, will be well-versed in both teaching and playing the
There are many places to find private music instructors, both in the
print world and online. One such resource is TakeLessons.com, a site
that allows you to locate a private instructor based on your
instrument and location.
* Multimedia instruction.
There are more options out there today than ever before when it comes
to music education without an in-person instructor. Instructional DVDs
and books can help a student to master the basics of playing a given
If you choose multimedia instruction for your child, there are a few
points you need to keep in mind when selecting which programs to use:
* Always check the program’s reviews.
Some are better than others, and there’s no one better than a former customer to tell you how this
* Make sure you don’t put all of your instructional eggs in one
basket. Just because you find a stellar DVD series to help your
daughter with her flute playing doesn’t mean she doesn’t need
instruction in music theory. Consider supplementing instrument
instruction with materials that teach things like music theory and
* Home-based music instruction.
If you play an instrument or sing, there’s no reason you can’t work with your child to help him hone his
skills. Keep in mind that there are a number of different dynamics at
For example, try not to bring any relationship baggage you or your
child might have into the practice room. When you’re there, focus on
the task at hand and leave normal parent-child relations aside.
* Group musical education.
Your child may have the opportunity to participate in a community
group or another organization that has a musical component. Playing at
church is a great example of this. Other community groups may have a
marching band that attends local parades or festivities. Opportunities
like these reinforce the teamwork aspect of music and help your child
learn to work with others.
* Virtual instructors.
One of the newer movements in education is the idea of the virtual
classroom. If your local school doesn’t offer orchestra and your child
wants to play the violin, he may still be able to participate in an
online “classroom” with other students. The technology to support
these kinds of scenarios is fairly new, but will become more
commonplace in the next few years.
What your child learns about music at school is useful and makes for
a solid foundation. Loot at some of these alternatives today, and see
just how much more effective your child’s music education can be.
Suzy St. George is a blog writer at TakeLessons. Since 2006, TakeLessons has provided affordable, hassle-free music
lessons to students of all ages. With certified instructors in cities
nationwide, students can learn to play the guitar,
the piano, drums and more.