I heard this from one of my student’s parents the other day and I nearly fell over. For one thing, her sweet little girl is playing an instrument that’s twice her size. Secondly, she’s seven.
So I told her mom, “you know, I really wouldn’t worry about that right now…” But it got me thinking about all the moms I’ve talked to over the years who truly believe that their child will never be good at playing music. It makes me so sad to think that they are are so concerned about this!
Music is for enjoying! Music is for tapping into creativity and exploring our emotions. Music is for sharing, for connecting the deepest parts of ourselves with others. People should NEVER learn music simply because they’re supposed to be good at it.
When humans first started making music it was used for togetherness, for bringing the community together. Nowadays we’re so concerned with becoming a “star” that the communal experience of music is being lost – it’s all about standing out as an individual now.
I think if we put pressure on our kids to be good at music right from the beginning we’re setting them up to never feel fully worthy. Learning an instrument can be quite a challenge. Awkward hand/body positions, sore fingers on sharp strings, puffy lips on slippery wet reeds, etc. Hardly anyone is good at their instrument at the beginning.
As parents, let’s take the pressure off: of our kids, of ourselves – no more musical expectations. Find a teacher who encourages creativity and let your kids discover music at their own pace.