It is our purpose, with your help, to bring your child an education in instrumental music. In order for us to do this successfully, we must clearly understand our respective responsibilities. That is the purpose of this message.
The study of instrumental music requires the student to assemble the various activities of the aural, visual, and tactile senses simultaneously. This assembly enables the senses to support and strengthen one another in such a way that training is received in concentration beyond that which any other academic subject can offer. Studies at Harvard, UCLA, and Oxford show in detail why student musicians take the majority of college scholarships, and are usually the class leaders.
So, while we are all for the enjoyment and social advantages which instrumental music can bring your child, we tend to think of them as bonuses. The real reason for instrumental music is its ability to help your child learn how to learn.
This brings us to your first responsibility as a parent of a student musician. The only unknown variable in the successful pattern of instrumental music study is the paternal attitude. How do you feel about music study for your child? We'll first outline the two extremes of paternal attitude for you. This will help to focus on the one attitude which will insure success for your child.
Extreme #1: "My child is going to have music whether he likes it or not!"
Se call this the "cram it down their throat" approach, with which the child might be successful in spite of the parent, but not because of the parent.
Extreme #2: "we're going to give our child the opportunity to have music, and if she doesn't like it she can quit because we're not going to force it on her."
Our advice to the parent is to forget it and spend the would be wasted tuition money on something worthwhile, because not one child in a hundred will sustain themselves in the study of instrumental music any more than a normal child always wants to go to school, go to church, go to bed, eat properly, brush their teeth, or do any one of the 1001 other things that parents know children must do.
Like any skill interest counts far more than talent. With the right support from you, playing music will become a natural part of your child's life.
Benefits for your child
Music participation enhances:
•Self-confidence and esteem
Benefits for Your Family
a child's music study also offers opportunities for shared family experience, including:
Musical event attendance
Performing for and with family and frineds
Learning about the lives of composers and the cultural heritage of Western Civilization
A sense of pride and accomplishment for the entire family.
The successful parental approach has proven to be one of firm but quiet resolve by both parents that the child will benefit from a music education, and that this should therefore take its place alongside the other things which your child knows will be done at your house no matter how much crying, whining, and excuse making is done. In short, if you want your child to have an education in instrumental music, you must expect it of the child, and along with that expectation, take the interest which will sustain through the periods of diverted interest which will come periodically. While a knowledge of music is valuable at this point, it is not a necessity, for the success of the child depends first and foremost on parental interest.
Music study for your child represents an investment on your part, but a most worthwhile one. If you are going to make this investment, you must continually bear in mind that it is up to you, not your child, if the investment is to pay dividends. The only variable is your own attitude, and the necessary ingredient for success is your interest.
There is no such thing as a person who does not like music, nor is there one who wouldn't like to be able to play a musical instrument. There are many, however, who think that they are not "musical" which is impossible, and others who are willing to quit when the going gets a little tough, as it is certain to do on occasion in instrumental music study.
If you are willing to help your child past the tough parts in music study, perhaps more than music will be learned, and perhaps more will come from it than the built-in education benefits. Perhaps there will also be a valuable lesson in living.