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Asking parents to learn from the mistakes made by other families can sometimes be
helpful when trying to learn whether to keep their children in music school. But
that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are other, more personal, reasons that
parents decide to sign their children up for music program training.
I, and many teachers with whom I have worked, have often noticed that some parents
take their children by hand and enrol them in music school only because playing music
was their own childhood dream – and a dream that did not come true. In this case,
adults sometimes do not listen as carefully to their children’s wishes. In fact,
sometimes they don’t even have any idea how the child feels about going to music
school for music program!
It may be impossible to believe, but for some parents, it is not important whether
their child likes to sing, dance, draw or play with numbers. They simply bring them
in for music lessons. It is amazing that some adults do not understand such simple
things and abuse their authority as parents. And when there is a difference of opinion
between the two parties, the one who “gets the last word” certainly wins. As a result,
the child starts to hate everything to do with music and subsequently regards and
remembers going for music program as a time of pure misery.
You can indignantly say that this is not true and that parents, in due course, will
clearly see that their children are unhappy. But shouldn’t it be clear right from
the start? And you are absolutely right – some parents can and do see that their
children are unhappy, even from the first lesson, but some simply will not budge
– they want their child to develop passion for music program training and beyond!
I don’t mean to imply that these parents are overbearing dictators whatsoever. On
the contrary, they will begin “educational” work with their child, talking about
the advantages of studying, that learning something new is always useful, and that
they’ll appreciate this hard work in the future. But if you were to ask, “How do
children react to such lectures?” there’s only one way I can answer: negatively!
The child is not interested because he was never interested in learning to play a
musical instrument to begin with. It was his parents’ wish all along! Add to this
the public school system and its own agenda for music program and education, where
it is mandatory to study music, etc., and the outcome is obvious…
If only such parents had understood how to mend this difficult situation they created,
there would have been peace and quiet in their homes, and more important, their child
might even develop his own interest for music program training after all – without
the parents’ continuous interference.
Despite of all difficulties in children’s music education, I ask all parents to look
at it only from the positive point of view. And if you really want to sign your child
up for music lessons or hire a private teacher, before using your authority, first
find information on how to get your child interested in music and make them ask you
what you want.
When a student can’t seem to be able to do something, we teachers often remember
a golden phrase: “There are no bad students; there are only bad teachers.” Parents
can also be regarded as teachers, because children learn from their parents first.
And if parents can not find the much-needed information to aid the situation or do
not wish to search for it, in this case it is better to stop the music lessons and
look for something else that interests the child. And, certainly, do not ever use
the excuse of having bought the instrument to force the child to continue going for
music program lessons.