As music teachers, we are all so fortunate that by the very nature of what we do, we have the opportunity everyday to embody what we believe. At the very heart of the philosophy that drives music teachers forward is the idea that music is a critical part of human experience. And learning to make music can be one of the most rewarding things this life has to offer.
In recent days, our collective human experience has been drastically knocked off course. As we find our way through this extremely challenging period together, our purpose and resolve is strengthened because we know our students need us now, more than ever.
Learning to Play, Lessons for Life
For our young and old students alike, so much can be learned through music lessons, and it goes well beyond note reading. There is hope that much good will come from this dark period, that we will find new meaning in our response to this crisis, that when we come to the other side of this we will be, in many ways, changed for the better. Your child could emerge from this not only with a few more songs in their repertoire, but several important life lessons to carry with them.
Establish a Daily Practice
Our days are busy now in ways they never were before while at the same time many aspects of our daily lives have been brought to a grinding halt. Learning music has always offered a creative outlet or a relaxing break from an otherwise packed schedule. Now, our kids need it to occupy the time they would have otherwise spent at school, a sports practice or other extracurricular activity
In the coming weeks, our kids have an opportunity to participate in creating and adhering to their own schedule. Make sure learning music remains a priority. Encourage them to set a daily practice goal, to practice at the same time every day, or commit to mastering a challenging piece. Turn them on to the idea of deliberate, or expert practice. Their parents or music teacher can help them clarify their goals, provide feedback, and guide them over the long term. Learning what it takes to become truly proficient at something is a lesson they’ll return to again and again and will increase the likelihood they will know a life of passion and purpose.
Turning to Music
Many experts encourage teaching delayed gratification as one way to cultivate a long term view in children and help them gain resilience. Even more, as kids learn how to manage their own stress and overcome adversity, they discover that music will always be there for them. We all, even the youngest among us, need to have a sense of control in our lives, especially now when it seems as though the sky is truly falling this time. Don’t be surprised if you find your child returning to their instrument several times throughout the day and practicing not because they have to, but because they want to. Learning to play an instrument is just one more way we can give young people the tools to recognize when they are feeling down and know what they can do to make themselves feel better.