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Every Child Can... Not Every Parent

This post is for all the parents that are thinking about starting their young child in music lessons.

Music is a HUGE commitment.  Teaching music is my career and I will be the first to admit that leaning to play an instrument well is going to take a lot of time and a lot of money.

Many parents, with good reason, like the idea of giving their child the gift of music.  As a field of study it helps develop areas of the brain that regular school subjects will not.  It opens up the possibilities of new social circles and opportunities (scholarships, tours abroad, etc...).  Plus it's a pastime anyone can enjoy no matter how old.

But there's a reason why only a small percentage of people play a musical instrument proficiently.  In fact, there are several reasons.  These are basic reality facts:

  • Instruments cost money.  Your child will have to have multiple instruments throughout their music career as they grow both in size and ability.  Instruments are an investment.  If an acoustic instrument is poorly crafted, not even a professional will be able to make it sound good.
  • It will take your child at least 2-3 years before they start to sound like a solid beginner student.  This means being able to play "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" with decent tone and control.
  • Regardless of any natural musical inclinations your child may have, playing an instrument is a physical task.  It's like enjoying basketball on TV vs. actually playing basketball.  Watching the sport requires only an understanding of the game in order to enjoy.  Playing the sport requires both understanding and physical skill.
  • Physical skill requires constant daily practice and correct repetitions in order to perfect.  This means if your child is young, you must be willing to work with them every day or they will not progress.  

Does this mean you're a bad parent if all this sounds overwhelming?  Of course not.  It's impossible for everyone to be proficient at everything.  I often wish I spoke more than one language.  I love the idea of it.  But I realize that I don't have the time to devote to learning a new language.

The point of this post is not to deter you.  It's merely to give the entire picture of what you're getting yourself into.  It's just not something that should be approached lightly.  You can't drop your kid off at their lesson once a week, not practice at home and expect much progress.  A lack of progress leads to frustrations and, eventually, quitting.

Do I think it's worth the effort?  Absolutely.  I've yet to have an adult come up to me and say, "Gee, I'm really glad my mom/dad let me quit."  


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