Hyperactivity in children and learning music: reality or fiction?
A lot of musically gifted children, unfortunately, fail to make it into musical career or even elementary musical education all because of the inability to do something for a long time, excessive mobility and lack of organization. They seem to possess necessary requirements; they are interested enough in music but the lessons simply don’t work. When the parents run out of patience it’s much simpler to just forget the prospects and leave all the expectations behind because they are not worth the pains of the teacher and tears of the child. Does it mean that becoming a musician is restricted only for the “crammers” and “good boys/girls”? Certainly not. What is the secret of taming a hyperactive child to learn music and practice it? In fact, there are plenty of them, and here is one for the start:
— Do not let the child keep on playing the same melody over and over again. Hyper active children are notable for wanting it all and all at once. Still the lack of practice does not let them have it and they keep repeating the accomplished piece incessantly (not to be mistaken for perfectionism). There is sure danger in that. If you cannot try and draw his attention to something else it’s better to stop the lesson.
— Whatever expectations you might have be ever ready to put musical lessons on a halt at any moment. Hyper-active children can be easily overfed with information or activity and once it happens they may not respond to any incentive to come back. For some kids a lesson a week is quite enough and you can only harm by driving such a student into strict scheme of “30 minutes every day” practice. So here is yet another secret:
— Rest and vacation are the most important components of successful learning. Where a usual child needs 2 hours to finish something it takes only 10 minutes for an active child and that he manages to do twice. They are 100% deep in the process of no matter what they’re doing and may give false impression of being inexhaustible. In practice they need more time for rest and quiet time on their own. That will make lessons desirable and spirits will fly high.
We will enclose with a piece of advice of how-to not enclose a lesson. “You are tired” or “you are bored” are wrong words or attitudes to finish a lesson. If that becomes a habit I can clearly see a child coming at the lesson already “tired” or “bored”. Every time of practice should bear an incentive for the next time, like a lasso tied to child’s interest. It can be words of encouragement or a promise to show, learn something new. Outwardly it may seem that the child pays no attention to this but next time you’ll surely see the flame in his eyes: “remember you said…”