10/12/2016 – Interesting read (see the article at the end of this post). I’ve seen this “devaluation” most clearly in some of the attitudes of the music students I have taught. This isn’t all the students, obviously. And if you’ve signed up for lessons, you probably care more than most folks. But there are these folks….as someone said (their own words here) “Music is something you take to get into college. I’ll quit once I’m in.”
Society has truly devalued music to the point where a music student can’t see the big picture of WHY music is important, why we do it, and what it offers them in terms of self expression, creative thinking, and in living a balanced lifestyle. They just want a chair at a orchestra competition for their “resume”.
Parents wonder why their kids don’t practice. I tell them to make music a lifestyle priority, then you won’t have to push them. They’ll know WHY and want to do it on their own. Making it a lifestyle priority means making time and space to go to events outside of lessons, to go to clinics, to go to concerts, to expose them to a variety of experiences. I actually posted to my students about a wide variety of FREE major music events happening around the area this weekend. I’m not sure any of them took the time to attend these events. I know one attended an FAA event, but unsurprisingly, he’s a gifted guitarist and involved as President of FAA. He’s made music a priority.
The kids with parents who are musicians…yeah, they may have to push once in awhile, but the battle isn’t nearly so bad. And those families tend to make the time for music events and cultural events. Their kids tend to be better musicians.
<p style=”color: orangered;”>I’ve set up field trips to events, set up local clinics with major name touring musicians, posted about events…seems like with each passing year, despite lowering the barriers to get people to engage (offering rides, lowering cover charges) people are increasingly “too busy” to attend. And then parents wonder why your kids quit or don’t practice. Or they wonder why they aren’t progressing when they practice 2 or 3 times a week. Lessons alone are not enough. Inspiration and making music a priority fuels the desire to do the hard work of practicing and improving.
Then there’s the kids who are awesome musicians, who come from musical families. That is not an accident. And it’s not about “talent” either. “Talent” is interchangeable with “hard work”. Do the work. Your talent will blossom. And at the end of the day, it’s about setting priorities. Make music a priority. Once you do, you’ll find the inspiration to do the work.
Many thanks to Sean O’Bryan Smith for sharing this article with me.