The concept of soccer moms is well known about and referred to when pushing kids into a sport. However, the idea of pushing children into music and helping them to develop this type of career isn’t talked about as often. Just like any other recreational activity that a child takes part in, the reactions to music lessons should not be overlooked.
I work with children every day to develop musical skills and have noticed one huge problem. They come into their lessons scared and shaking. They leave feeling better again, but by the time they are with their parents, they are scared again. As a musician, I know that the first thing that has to be developed is confidence. If the children who are learning the music don’t have this as their basis, it can build into larger issues.
What I see from the lack of confidence in children is that parent’s are pushing and forcing the music down their throats. This is the old fashioned way of doing things, but isn’t necessarily right. Each child that I have come into my studio has a different way of hearing things, learning things and doing things. If a parent walks in and doesn’t agree with how their children needs or wants to learn, it causes a huge stunt in the child being able to do anything at all.
I’m not saying that there shouldn’t be discipline, practice, and guidance in learning the instrument. I’m saying that it needs to be more than this. The child first has to be opened up to what they know is good about their abilities to play and with the music. It is, after all, just music. From here, they can do anything.
If you are allowing your child to take music lessons, don’t push them. Even though the teacher says practice every day, make sure that they know this is their decision and not yours. If they are required to give recitals, play a certain piece, or be part of a music group, it is up to you as an adult to encourage them, but not push them or punish them. There is a fine line difference, and it can make all the difference when it comes to deciding whether your child wants to continue playing or not.
Beyond this, is the number one rule that should be required for every budding musician; music is about having fun. It is much more than learning the notes and figuring out a discipline. There is an entire world of academia to do that in. Music should not be stressful, pushed or a huge part of the child’s life that takes away from them being a kid. They should be playing and enjoying their time with the music lessons. The learning becomes much more natural this way.
One of the large reasons that I see music getting in the way of the child from the adults is because of all of those large dreams that parent’s have for their children about being the next prodigy. Maybe they will sign a record contract and make millions or win American Idol. Actually, the music world doesn’t work that way. If you want your child to be any musician at all, you should help them to learn about the music and not think about the financial benefits that may occur. Unless you want them to become a sex token, this isn’t necessarily the right way to push your kid.
Next week, when you bring your child into their lesson or when you hear them plunking at the piano, remember what you want your role to be. As a parent, it is your duty to make sure that they are comfortable and happy with their musical abilities and are learning and growing. Sometimes, this means letting them hit a wrong note without you jumping in.