A few weeks ago, I was happy to discover a podcast featuring an interview with a woman I greatly admire and her two daughters. She shared insights from her childhood, and from her life as a wife and a mother. Her daughters also shared insights about what it was like growing up in their home. In the interview, she mentioned growing up on a farm with an abundance of chores to do, and learning the value of hard work. When she began having children of her own, she felt strongly that her children needed to learn to work, but raising them in a small home in the suburbs, she couldn't find as many chances to help them work as she'd had on the farm. So she decided that her children would learn to work through music, piano lessons specifically. And they each took lessons. And the expectation in their home was that they would practice 3 hours a day (!) As you might imagine, they all became accomplished pianists - each teaching lessons by the time they were fourteen.
I've been thinking about kids and music a lot since listening to that interview. Music is something I really value, something I want my children to be familiar with, and hopefully love. I want this for several reasons - not the least of which is that I fantasize about family hootenannies on the front porch on Summer evenings - and we need to raise up some pickers and strummers to make my dream a reality :) Really though, I think it breeds discipline, creativity and satisfaction, and allows children a wholesome way to express themselves. I realize that their success with music will probably be directly related to my diligence in helping them practice, and setting an expectation of effort and dedication. I've been thinking about all the complexities of how to do this...
I'd love to hear your thoughts on the following:
* Were you raised in a musical home? Did you take lessons? What kind? What age did you start? Was there a culture of expectation in your home about music?
* Was there a daily battle between you and your parents (your mother) over practicing? How were you incentivized to practice?
* How do you wish your parents would have handled music lessons when you were younger?
* Do you/will you make your children take some kind of music lesson? Will you let them choose the instrument or insist that they start on the piano?
* At what age do you think children are ready for music lessons?
* Is it worth the strain on the relationship and the daily battle to help your children become excellent (or at least proficient) at a musical instrument?
That's a hefty list of questions! Weigh in on anything that strikes your fancy...