5 Tips to Help Your Child Choose Between Band and Choir

parentingages and stages

As a parent, you do what you can to help shape your child’s future and expose them to all sorts of educational and cultural opportunities. For many of us, that includes music. While most children are given vocal music lessons in elementary school, by the time they get to middle school, they’re forced to choose between instrumental or vocal music instruction.

This can be a tough choice, especially for a musically-inclined child. It’s difficult to pigeon-hole a child at that age and cut off so many opportunities. Yet for many, the decision has to be made.

How to Help Your Kids Choose Between Band and Choir

Here are some things to keep in mind during the decision process to help you and your child choose what’s best:

  1. Recognize your child’s talents. It’s not always easy to tell in middle school what your child is going to be good at. Chances are his voice is still developing, and he may be plagued with constant pitch changes for a while. On the other hand, instrumental music talent is often easier to pick up on. The motor skills necessary to play an instrument and play it well are already firmly in place by the time your child hits middle school.
  2. Consider your child’s interests. It’s not just about whether she’s good at something; she also has to be interested. Both band and choir require a certain amount of practice and commitment. With band, you may also be looking at a financial commitment if you don’t already have an instrument. Keep in mind, though, that you can always rent an instrument and see if the interest level continues before making a big purchase.
  3. Determine how much musical knowledge you want your child to have. Choir, for the most part, limits students to four parts. In band, music can literally have a dozen different parts over several different instruments. Band, in that way, provides a much deeper knowledge of how music works and how it plays together.
  4. Examine the commitments. Both band and choir usually require regular rehearsals, as well as performances, festivals, and more. If your child is thinking about band, it can eventually lead to participating in marching band or jazz band, where they will attend many home football and basketball games. This isn’t a problem, of course, but you should understand the type of commitment that your student could be asked to make as time goes on.
  5. Think about cost. Choir is almost always less expensive than band, since students already have their instrument (their voice, that is). Band instruments can run anywhere from $150 up to $2,500 depending on the instrument and quality. On the other hand, many schools partner with a manufacturer or a distributor to offer students well-made instruments at a reasonable price, and may offer financing, as well. Consider what you can afford as you’re making the decision.

Even if you feel like you’ve made a mistake and put your child in band when they should be in choir or vice versa, don’t worry. By the time they get to high school, they will likely be able to do both.

 Are your kids in music classes? How did you decide what music classes to put them in?

Image courtesy of flickr

Suzie St. George is a blogger at TakeLessons. Since 2006, TakeLessons has provided safe, affordable, and fun singing and music lessons to students of all ages. Students can find music teachers in over 2,800 cities nationwide, for subjects such as singing, guitar, drums, piano, and more.

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