3 life lessons, learned through music
Life lessons are everywhere!
If I know anything about parents, it's that they love their children and are always trying to impart wisdom to their children. You want the very best for your child, but they aren't always ready and willing to listen to lectures. I truly believe that any time you're learning, there's an opportunity for a life lesson as well. Music instruction is no exception. Each day as I'm teaching young minds how to make beautiful music, I am reminded of the oh, so applicable truths we can learn through music.
Here are just 3 examples that come up multiple times daily:
1. Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard.
Children need some struggle in their lives so they grow up to be resilient adults who can successfully work through problems. Music is a great way for children to be exposed to small difficulties they can work through and gain confidence to problem-solve in the future.
There is also the fact that for some students, things come "naturally" and seem so effortless for a while, but they need to be told that it's not so important that things come "easily" because eventually things will get hard. It's inevitable if you're constantly growing. If a child has been told "wow you're such a natural, you don't even have to try!" all the time, but then is suddenly posed with a difficult task, song, concept, they will likely give up and think "I'm just not good at this." It is so important for instructors and parents to praise effort over ease.
I learned a lot about this through my own experience, but also through a great book by Angela Duckworth: Grit. This book highlights the ways that well meaning parents sabotage their children through too much help and that children really do need some small struggles under their belts to feel more confident and independent.
2. In order to get to where we want to go, sometimes we have to do things we don't want to do.
As an adult, you don't always want to go to work, or do the dishes, or take out the trash, but you do those things because you do want to have a comfortable life that you enjoy with a roof over your head and a clean place to live. You do what you have to in order to get what you want.
For music students, not every single song is going to be fun. I hear "I just want to play songs I know" all the time. Okay, well if you want to be able to play the music you hear on the radio, you have to get to that level and there will be songs along the way that you may not necessarily enjoy. But you do it with the end goal in mind. Not everything has to be fun all the time. But think of how fun it'll be when you can play "Don't Stop Believing" for your friends!
3. Learning is optional, failure is not.
You might be thinking "what did I just read? This woman is a lunatic!" Well, yes, I'm a little crazy, but not for this reason. Think about it, everyone fails. Music is a safe place to have small failures and learn from them. Sadly, not everyone learns from their failures. Therefore, learning is optional, failure is not.
As a music student, your child will have small failures. They may forget to take their books to lessons. From that, they can learn to always double check their bag, or pack it the night before. Your child may come to lessons without practicing at all that week. From that failure to practice and the resulting embarrassment of admitting it, your child learns to plan ahead and arrive prepared. Your child may even bomb at a performance. From this, the student learns that embarrassing situations are not the end of the world and life goes on. Moreover, if the student has "grit" (as Angela Duckworth would put it), he or she has a memory to look back on to fuel the practice fire!
These are just three of probably thousands of life lessons children (and adults) learn through music instruction. I'd love to hear what you see your kids learning, as a residual benefit of music lessons!
Until next time,
Natalie is the owner of The Music Academy in Lake City, FL
She has a strong passion for teaching students of all ages to play and sing beautiful music.