The purpose behind music lessons is to give students the opportunity to gain confidence, to learn healthy ways of self-expression; to learn how to listen with patience and focus; to hear more and more clearly; to learn to hear the unspoken with compassion and empathy; to comprehend more deeply; to feel and express the full spectrum of emotion; to become more engaged in the soundscape of their environment; to have a better understanding of the complexity of the science of sound; to learn better communication skills; to explore their musical instrument; to find their voices; to learn to use music to heal themselves and others; to figure out how to overcome the obstacles that make music-making difficult; to transfer those skills to all other aspects of life; to acquire grit; to discover the endless connections between music and all other subjects; to learn how to work in solitude and as a team member; to become more in tune with themselves physically; mentally and spiritually; to stretch their creativity and imagination; to learn to analyze with increasing sophistication; to become explorers; to become story-tellers; to learn to share; to learn how to find meaning and connection; to learn self-acceptance and therefore acceptance of others; to learn about other art forms; to love; to learn what it means to be a musician.
Indeed music is filled with endless patterns and combinations of patterns, rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic. Those patterns alone represent the Science of Music. To become masterful at playing these patterns, one needs to play a lot over many years, but not without meaning. Endless, meaningless repetition for the purpose of pleasing someone else is not music-making or art. It is turning what should be fascinating into a dreaded chore devoid of any artistic thought. That is not music. That is learning how to tune out and turn off. That is training robots. No one wants to be a robot. The fact is, although musicians practice a lot, even professionals don’t practice all the time. In fact, there are many ways of learning without touching the instrument. Sometimes that means going for a walk or writing a poem or in a journal or trying to catch a butterfly first.
So please don’t judge your child by how much she plays or what she plays. That does not nurture a musician. It does antagonize and break the trust of a teenager.
Copyright by Heidi Peters, heidipetersmusic.com, Winnipeg, Canada, May 2017. All rights reserved.
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