Strange thought, but one I had to consider music lessons vs color guard when having a recent conversation with one of my absolute favorite piano teachers in the whole world-my sister!
Why The Choice
In the world of students and music lessons, whether it be piano, voice, guitar, violin, or any band instrument, kids seem too often be torn in multiple directions. In my sisters’ latest case, it was her student and color guard. Think of all the other school activities kids are in; sports, clubs, extra tutoring. The list could go on. Many times music gets pushed to the back or sometimes even pushed off the grid. I think this is a BIG mistake.
Eliminate the Competition? Considering Music Lessons
Sometimes we feel like we have to compete with all these extra activities and we throw music lessons into the ring. Not really a “fair fight.” Making a team, or being chosen for something makes it seem more valuable and a must do, and that is a must do right now! As parents and teachers we have to be the voice that takes the competition out-not take them out as eliminate, but make it so the two things, music lessons and X, aren’t vying for the same spot. A couple things can help make this happen:
1) Really stress to the student that music is forever. Music is forever, really. Most of the clubs, sports, etc. are going to be temporary activities that are great and fun. Music, though, will be something they can take through life. Sometimes hard to see that as a kid.
2) Take a step back on the rigors of the music lesson for right now. Make it more of a class feel and learning time when we do get them in the actual lesson. They should learn something every week-with you, the teacher. Time has become very valuable in their lives, so make the most of it and don’t worry about everything that is happening outside lessons; just focus on lesson time and take the pressure off a super-booked student.
3) Make it fun and positive! We are dealing with a world of entertained people. Do your best to incorporate some games, maybe some listening, and other things that will make music fun. Some parts of piano lessons and voice lessons and any other instrument has to be work, but try to balance with something fun-be creative.
The Competition won’t last Forever
There will come a day soon when the extra-curricular activities are over and done. The season is over, everyone graduates, life moves on. In the meantime, do all you can to keep engaged and keep you student in music. When they are older they will say like so many “I’m so glad my (fill in the blank with the inspirational person) had me stick with it, because now look what I can do. We know we’ll always have activities compete with our music lessons. We also know Music is Forever!