The Horrible Father Presents: 6 Tips to Surviving Your Child’s First Musical Instrument

Ahhh, school is back in session, the first payment is made on the home equity loan you took out for school supplies and you’ve met most of the teachers at your school’s open house. Now it’s time for the kids to pick out instruments they wish to learn to play. Here’s some tips to help make the entire process bearable for you. 

  1. Buy decent, sound cancelling headphones.  When your child is first learning to play their instrument you won’t be able to determine if the sounds they are making is supposed to be music or if it’s the sound of the 66th seal of Hell being broken.  Plug yourself into your device and listen to your Spotify playlist.
  2. Buy, don’t rent,the instrument.  This goes against my World Class level of Cheapness…but hear me out. First, do you really want your little princess blowing in a clarinet that probably got peed on by the previous owner’s cat? Of course not. Besides, you’re just going to have to purchase a instrument outright when she forgets about it while getting on the bus and the bus runs it over. 
  3. If your child has a friend who is also learning an instrument, encourage her to practice with her friend – at the friends house. This will undoubtedly not go over well with the other parents, but this is more about your sanity than making new friends. 
  4. Go to their recitals, even if it is a combined recital for every school in the district.  You will be bored. You will get tired.  You may fall asleep.  Pro Tip: do not drink tons of coffee in an attempt to stay awake throughout the recital. Your coffee farts may be more musically entertaining than your child right now, but nobody came to hear you toot your own horn. 
  5. When you are at their recitals and your child walks on stage, make sure to stand up and very obviously wave to them. Don’t stop waving until they wave back. Trust me, kids love this, especially when they are in middle school. 
  6. At some point you will have to bite the bullet and actually listen to them play. They will sound like Lil’ Wayne playing the guitar, but the the point is they’ve improved. You know it. They know it. Tell them.  Playing an instrument is rewarding, and should always be encouraged when your child is interested.  Don’t be afraid to tell them how proud you are. 
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