- Be patient and persistent with difficult tasks;
- Delay gratification by working in order to sound better;
- Develop curiosity, problem solve, and cultivate grit.
- Treat music as a long-term commitment right from the start. Students who identify that they will play their instrument for longer than one year outperform students who only commit to one year of playing by up to 400% -- practicing the same amount of time if not less! The ideas and mindsets students bring to their musical instrument study have a direct effect on their success, and it’s the parents’ role to set the tone on the first day by not giving their child an “easy out” to quit. Make the decision to invest in your child’s music education for at least a few years of their schooling and you will see incredible results this year.
- Treasure the escape from “high-stakes” studies. It seems that everywhere we turn, academic expectations run higher and panic begins to set in: about acing the exam, not marring the transcript, or keeping up with “high-achieving” peers. Playing a musical instrument helps parents pull their children off this fast track, if even for a moment, and not worry that other children will wind up “ahead”. Instrumental music gives children the room to find their genuine passions, the freedom to discover true independence, and the space to fail and bounce back. They will become better people because this year through their musical studies.
- Embrace the “offline” time. Your child’s ability to become a deep and complex person relies so much upon their ability to build their attention span. In our lightning-fast digital world, children do not have enough opportunity to build understanding and intelligence through mindful solitary activities. Musical instrument instruction facilitates this offline, “slow world” learning and brings children together in a unique, “unplugged” ensemble when they have band/orchestra/chorus class.
- Understand that your child’s instrumental music experience is just as (if not more) crucial to their growth as human beings than any other subject. Music is much more than a “special” or a “frill” subject — it is a core subject, and it should be approached that way by all of us. When taught with healthy rigor, it is often the most enjoyable subject during the school day, and the home practice should be treated as an essential part of the homework routine. When taught well and minimally supported at home, the craft of learning a musical instrument develops fortitude, willpower, and metacognitive skills that parents stay up at night hoping their children have when they grow up.
- Don’t let your child quit too soon. All children are capable of enjoying a successful K-12 music experience with a little support. By not letting your child quit, you are sending a clear message to everyone in our school system that you believe playing a musical instrument cultivates crucial “non-cognitive” skills that matter so much in the grown-up world. Spend 5-10 minutes a night helping your child create a practice routine and they will be far less likely to become frustrated and quit too early in their studies.
Please join us in what I know will be a transformative experience for your child this year.