Why do most people drop out of music lessons?

Remus BadeaRemus Badea, Executive Director, American Music Institute

There is no doubt that music is one way that a select few can make a lot of money. However, that does not come that easily. In other words, you need to put in a lot of effort before you can start reaping in rewards from your music career. One such effort is studying in music lessons. But not everyone who enrolls in music lessons ends up achieving what they wanted. What prompts someone talented to leave the music lessons they need to develop?

As an art, music has to be formally learned to bring out the best of person’s musical talent. It is a journey and a long one that requires patience, practice, and perseverance. Not many, sorry to say, soldier on consistently to the ultimate goal they had in mind of becoming a musician, simply because they prematurely ended their studies. Why do so many people drop out of music lessons?

Male Pupil Playing Trumpet In High School Orchestra

Absence of love and passion for the music theory

Yes, you may be talented, but those that don’t have enough enthusiasm or enough passion towards music end up dropping out. Passion is the music engine propeller.

Too high expectations

High expectations are important for success in anything, however, too much of it will nose dive your talent. If you go into music lessons expecting it to be easy to learn you will tend to drop out of the lessons, never to be seen again.


Whenever you walk into a music class, there is a tendency to rank yourself too highly in comparison to other student musicians. To your surprise the roomful of students has guys more talented than you. This creates a complete reversal of your personal expectations graph, then discouragement sets in and some students drop out. You have to be humble to succeed as a student of music (or anything, for that matter).

Practice makes perfect, but not to some

The music theory taught in class is not enough to put you at the top of the game. This calls for dedication in practicing to perfect what has been learned in your lessons. Students who rely on these lessons only, end up having hoarse voices, uncoordinated chords and so on.

piano lesson 1

Wavered Focus

You may wonder how focus may lead one to quit music lessons. Focus means the attention that is paid to something. Usually music lessons dropouts have very poor concentration and attention levels both in class and at home while practicing. Distractions like phones, friends and multitasking messes with one’s progress and understanding. With these misses, their progress slows and their interest in learning music stalls, leading them to drop out.

Deficiency in moral support

For any adult or children taking music lessons, moral support from teachers, parents and friends is paramount to guarantee the success. This inspiration from family and friends, however small, can be enough to motivate the student to success.

Teaching mode

The student may dislike the teaching technique of the teacher and this may lead them to quit lessons, since the flow of knowledge from teacher to student has been derailed. Unfortunately, the student may quit lessons rather than change teachers.

Tight Schedules

Music lessons require a lot of work and dedication for talent to shine. It takes a lot of assignments and practice, i.e., doing one thing over and over again in a week. Some students find these routines very boring and tiresome and they end up exiting lessons.

To avoid drop outs, teachers should teach professionally. Students should be passionate about the art of music and dedicate time and resources to get most out of their lessons. Parents and the friends should offer moral support and much-needed inspiration to students. Finding a place for practicing in the student’s schedule of work/school, family, friends, sports, etc., is key to preventing burn-out.

Did you know that those who attend music lessons and finish them diligently are found to be sharper in other fields? This becomes a win- win for music students. Press on till the end!

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Remus Badea is Concertmaster of Southwest Symphony Orchestra, adjunct professor at Elmhurst College, and Executive Director of American Music Institute. He teaches violin, viola, cello, and piano.