Parents generally have a singularly overriding goal when introducing their children to music: that music find a place in their life, not just for a year or two, but throughout their entire life. Despite the parents (and the teacher’s) best intentions, that lifetime of music can be an elusive goal only a few lucky students will reach.
As a provider of music instruction in the Crescenta Valley since 2005, you may ask why I would “rain on my own music parade.” Well, I’m not writing today to promote that music lessons are wonderful. Of course they are! No, my topic today is geared towards fixing a giant hole in the road towards musical success tomorrow. In fact, you could run into that pothole after just a few lessons!
Statistically, 50% of kids quit music shortly after starting. That includes today’s parents, who quit on their own music lessons long ago. Now the hopeful parents expect their very young children to value music lessons with the hindsight (and regret) of a 35+ year old. Seems a bit unrealistic (and perhaps unfair), don’t you think?
Now some poor unsuspecting music teacher has perhaps less than 10 lessons to establish a life-long discipline of daily practice – to nurture in a child a love of music like one would love a brother or sister (or maybe the family dog, depending on rivalry issues). Isn’t that task an unrealistic expectation of the teacher as well? The child tends to be caught in the cross-fire of these unrealistic expectations, and in the long run, the pressure of these expectations may drive a child away from learning music.
Of course, the quality of instruction, schedules, costs and other logistical elements could spell the doom of music instruction for any student. Under all those super-obvious reasons, a hidden, fundamentally flawed set of expectations lurks in the minds of parents and teachers that too often ends in failure. And regret, years later, from the adult who “gets it” now, and wishes they’d kept up with the piano or violin when they were twelve.
What to do? Fortunately in the face of any adversity there is the seed of an opportunity! In this case, an opportunity to teach young musicians the importance of long-term relationships. All of the important elements of life – faith, family, work and even healthy hobbies – require a long-term relationship. Music lessons are one way to teach the value of long-term relationships – a value they can carry willingly with them forever. Accomplishing that goal, however, will require a special partnership between the parents, teacher and our budding musician.
Fun Music School provides a free e-book any parent may request that explains the philosophy behind successful music lessons. It’s a revelation for both music teachers and parents, with a comprehensive approach to unraveling the mystery of failed music lessons. Visit us at https://funmusicschool.mymusicstaff.com/Contact-Us to request a copy.
And may music become the well-loved member of the family it deserves to be.