Monday, November 30, 2009

Why my kids do music

Last weekend A and N performed at the Sydney Opera House.  It sounds a lot grander than it actually is.  They play in a one hour concert with about 25 other kids.  It is a part of the Suzuki method that our kids are following.

As I'm convincing my children to practice their music each day I do often ask myself (and they ask me) why we're going through all the agony of endless practicing!

Rowan and I gained a lot of pleasure from being able to play instruments when we were teenagers.  I played the piano and violin and Rowan the clarinet, guitar and bass guitar.  Rowan's guitar is very handy for live entertainment at children's birthday parties!  We were also able to contribute a lot to our churches when we were older teenagers and learnt a lot about serving our church communities in this way.

When I was a teenager I enjoyed being involved in musicals at school and orchestral groups.  I liked that I wasn't simply defined by how well I did or didn't achieve in the academic realm.  I had other interests that shaped who I was and how I could be a part of life at school.

I also think that the discipline of regular practice was really formative too.  If I wanted to pass exams or play well in a concert then I needed to put in the effort.  There aren't a lot of things left in life for kids to experience that aren't related to instant or short-term gratification.  The level of satisfaction is high when you have worked hard towards a goal for a lengthy period of time.

Fundamentally though, I just really enjoyed music and loved the opportunities it gave me.  I don't expect my kids will all be brilliant musicians but I'm happy that I'm able to give them the option.

Plus my Grandma, who was a lovely organ player and shared her gift so generously with others for her lifetime, would be thrilled to see her great grand kids hard at work with their music.

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