As a parent of four teenagers, all of my children study and play music instruments. I am happy – not because they win competitions, or because they are able to perform advanced repertoire beautifully (although they can do that too) – but because each of them is able to take ownership of this phenomena we call “music” and make it their own. Each of them, in their own unique way, is musically literate and is able to make music and enjoy the process.

One may ask – how did you do this in this day and age? I have to be honest: it has not come easy and it has not been convenient. We have had our share of tears and thunderstorms, but my husband and I have stubbornly persisted for fifteen years. Why? Certainly not because we want our children to be professional musicians – there are definitely easier professions that we would wish upon them.

Chris and I persist because we desire for our children…

To learn how to think

To learn how to discern

To learn how to evaluate… that which is truly excellent;

To learn how to fail

To learn how to succeed

To learn how to truly learn… and to teach themselves;

To learn how to prioritize

To learn how to pace

To learn how identify… a problem and break it down into smaller accessible tasks;

And then, to put the pieces back together… the process of advanced learning;

To learn to be patient

To learn to be persistent

To learn to delay gratification… to develop the muscle of mental discipline;

To learn to have hope

To learn to have confidence… that strategic practice produces wonderful results;

To learn to emote

To learn to take risks

To learn to enjoy… the adventure of music making;

To learn to create

To learn to appreciate… the complexity that is in the beauty of Art.

In my next few blogs, I hope to continue with this topic and to share ideas from the “battle front” of being a parent with children in music study for the past fifteen years. It is my hope that this will be a help and encouragement to both parents and teachers. If you have any input, I would love to hear from you!