The Practice Problem
I conducted a survey asking parents three questions pertaining to their attitudes and expectations of music lessons in relation to other enrichment activities (i.e. team sports, karate, and dance). What I learned is that parents judge their child’s success in music with different criteria than all other enrichment activities. What I learned is that the practice problem is a problem on multiple levels.
What Parents Really Think
When it came to sports or artistic pursuits, the parents measured success by their child’s level of happiness and personal growth. When it came to music, success was measured by practice. Many of the parents described it as a “battle” they have with their child. Parents often view music lessons as a painful rite of passage. I asked parents why they didn’t have these expectations of sports and other arts-related activities. Surely dance, karate or chess require skill. Why do parents apply more pressure on their children when it comes to music than other activities? I pointed out this discrepancy and asked them why their view on music was different. “Isn’t that how it’s supposed to be?” one mother said. This is not how it’s supposed to be.
All of the parents were open and receptive when I showed them another way to view music lessons and practice. The following podcast is part one of this two-part series with music education business coach Danny Thompson. In this podcast, we address the problem. In part two we’ll address how to fix the problem!