The fact is, there are plenty of ways in which you can help your child to learn how to sing or play an instrument without going broke in the process, some of which are more apparent than you might think.
Shop for Used Instruments
The initial costs associated with learning how to play an instrument can be staggering. Even beginner instruments can range in the thousands of dollars when purchased new, and it's an awfully large investment to make when you aren't positive whether or not your child will continue to be interested in playing as time goes on. One way to lessen the blow to your bank account when shopping for an instrument is to consider buying used. Used instruments are perfect for beginners, as they allow novice musicians to get a feel for learning how to play without having to plunk down a great deal of money up-front. When shopping for used instruments, be sure to work with a reputable dealer who will be able to provide you with the right options; Craigslist and eBay should be avoided unless you are well-versed on instrument buying.
Take to the Internet
Paying for lessons can be excessively expensive over time. Since most instructors like to see their students once per week, you can expect to spend anywhere between $80 and $160 per month on music lessons for your child alone if you take the traditional route. The Internet, however, has made learning how to play music far less expensive and more accessible to those who are on a tight budget. Online guitar tutorials, theory lessons and more can be found for free or cheap on the Internet, and allow your child to work at his or her own pace. You can even create your own program for your child if you have a fair amount of knowledge about playing music yourself by pulling together information found on the web and tailoring it to their interests in ways that are not often seen in a traditional instruction format.
Go to Free Concerts
As with anything else in life, there's no substitute for real-world experience. You can spend hours in a practice room, but it'll be extremely difficult to learn the finer points of live performance without going to concerts regularly. Concerts can be expensive, however, and sometimes they aren't suitable for children. On the other hand, just about every fair-sized city offers a free concert series during the summer, with genres ranging from pop to rock to classical. Taking your children to one free concert per week is a great way to help them internalize what it is to be a performing musician - something they're not likely to learn while practicing at home. Contact your local town hall for more information on free concerts that are scheduled in your area.
While helping your child learn to play music can be a costly venture, it doesn't have to be if you take the right approach.