Bad Grades, No More Music Lessons…The Right Answer?
Let me begin by saying that I completely respect a parent’s authority and (as a parent myself) that a parent’s decision is absolute; however, I would like to challenge the idea that ceasing lessons is the best answer to academic “rough spots.”
Music is Education
Music lessons are too often ranked low on the totem poll in comparison to academics, sports, and other school-related activities. I am a strong believer that music is a very important part of general education. There are countless studies that support music’s positive impact on the mind and learning. Music is, and should be, classified simply as education. The most successful students I teach are well-rounded individuals educated and trained in academics, physical activity, and the arts.
Music Can be a Career
My dad once told me I was living a pipe dream by trying to succeed in music. He actually kicked me out of the house because of the differences in our outlooks. Nowadays, he’s my biggest fan and has apologized for not believing in me. There are so many avenues for students to make a legitimate career in music. Like any trade, if you do good work, you will be successful; how successful is up to the individual. It is my hope that parents will start appreciating its validity and not trivialize music as only a hobby that accompanies your “real job.”
Strengths and Weaknesses
There are some students at our studio who are extremely gifted and passionate about music. In some instances, it is one of the few areas in which the student excels. Many parents believe that taking away something that their children love and are passionate about will make them more focused on their school work. I would argue against that line of thinking; if they love it and are passionate about it, and it is education (see my first point), then perhaps it would serve the child better to pour more into it. Music may actually be the most viable career for some of these students.
At Freeway Music, we instructors highly value the mentoring aspect of our jobs. We not only teach students how to play, but we also ask them about their weeks and their schoolwork, encouraging them to do better, instilling professionalism and responsibility into them, and more. This mentoring is vital in children’s lives. Rather than removing the lessons, what if you had a meeting with their private instructor (who often has heavy influence on the student) and ask them to help encourage the student to improve in school as a way of showing how serious they are about pursuing their passion for music? Use this passion to fuel their academic pursuits.
When it comes to removing distractions that can be leveraged as privileges, there are more appropriate things to remove from a child’s life than music lessons. What about phones, tvs, tablets, computers, going out with friends, dessert, cars, etc.? Surely there are some pretty strong bargaining chips beyond music lessons.
At the end of the day, music is a form of education that can help make a student well-rounded and perhaps propel them to a career. Music instructors provide a service that includes one-on-one mentoring. I must say again, I completely respect parental authority and the parent is final arbiter. I just ask that you consider these points I detailed above and challenge your preconceived notions that music lessons are expendable.