Dear Parents, please have realistic expectations about your child and his musical abilities. Let’s face it, most of our children are not musical geniuses or child prodigies. Sure, some may have greater talents or abilities than others. Some may have a greater drive or passion for music than others. But that doesn’t mean that they are destined from birth to be the greatest in the world!
Expect them to be THEIR best, not THE best.
Expect your child to be diligent in their efforts, to work to the best of their abilities. Also, expect them to make progress, to improve. I have told my own children repeatedly, to just expect that someone will always be better than they are. Even the greatest of musicians must face up to that. They may be the greatest today, but what about next year? New talent is always surfacing, there is always new competition.
Don’t pressure your child so much that she loses her desire and love of the music.
The amount of stress a professional musician deals with is incredible – will I stay on top of the musical world? Will I be able to make it? Can I deal with another world tour? How do I handle the next series of auditions, or competitions? Performance anxiety is a real thing among professional musicians. Many of them are on medications to help them deal with the stress of their lives. Many studies and articles give evidence to the stress and performance anxiety faced by professional musicians. Here is just a sample: Musicians and Performance-Enhancing Drugs Musicians and depression Drug of choice for professional and pre-professional musicians Is this really what you want to push your child into?
Don’t sacrifice your child’s love of music to your desires of perfection and a professional music career. Go into music lessons with realistic expectations. Maybe your child will show great ability and become the next world star. Or maybe not – maybe he will just enjoy learning and playing music as a hobby. Be okay with either. Let your child make that decision – don’t force him into it!
So what should you expect your child to get from their music lessons? Here is a list that should make any parent happy.
- Discipline, patience, perseverance
- Improved physical skills – coordination, fine motor skills
- Sense of responsibility
- Improved self-esteem
- Greater creative self-expression
- Improved academic skills
- Exposure to history and different cultures
- Better listening skills
- Improved memory
- Enhanced social skills
- Most of all – pleasure, joy, and a sense of accomplishment
If you see even some of these results of music lesson in your child, I think you can say that the time and money invested in music lessons were worth it! These are qualities we all want to see in our children. These are definitely realistic expectations.