How many times have we heard from adults that they wish their parents didn’t allow them to quit their musical instrument when they were younger?
There comes a time in a large percentage of music students’ lives when they want to quit their instrument — and more often than not, parents allow them to do it. But is the child quitting … or is the parent?I remember wanting to quit the trombone when I was in middle school. Honestly, it’s hard to remember why. It could have been peer pressure, boredom, or something else — but I had my mind made up. I shudder to think of what my life would be like now if my mother had decided to quit as well and give in to:
“I can’t bug my child to do one more thing”. I have heard this line so many times as a teacher and administrator. A parent tells the teacher that their child will be discontinuing music because they haven’t had any luck getting their child to practice, and the “child doesn’t want to play anymore.”
There are many things that children need to do that they do not want to do. Bathing, homework, chores… But we as adults understand that we would be teaching them to be irresponsible if we gave in.
Parents have overcommitted their child. Our children are growing up in a time where the U.S. has turned into a society of “overachievers”. Downtime or activities that are perceived to be “fun” (i.e. music and the arts) are considered wasted time because concrete results are not being measured and money (and a job) is not at the end of the equation.
Parents must remember what their goals for their child’s education is. Perseverance, commitment, loyalty, and grit are all values I hope that I — and my schools — instill in my children. Learning to endure something even when it temporarily becomes boring or unpleasant or when the teacher isn’t the most engaging person in the world is a lesson truly worth teaching.
Parents need to embrace the struggle that their children are facing. The reward of performing a piece of music after overcoming obstacles during practice is a great vehicle for parents to teach their children that true growth occurs when we struggle a bit. Learning to deal with struggle yields some of the greatest benefits imaginable.
Your child’s experience with their music studies will shape their adult lives more than you will ever know. They will be different people in the best way imaginable — people who would be far poorer intellectually without music in their life. Let’s not kid ourselves — children quit things all the time. But did they get enough time?
Maybe you didn’t study music. Maybe you quit prematurely and you didn’t even realize it — but the road is open to your children, so steer them down it. They will never tell you later in life that they are angry at you for not letting them quit. ~From musicparentsguide.com