Raised: should my children or should not go to music lessons?

Mother: “I want my daughters (9 and 13 years old) to both practice sports and learn to play a musical instrument. I think that’s good for their development. I’ve done it myself before and I’m glad I did. Their father does not and he sees that as a loss. Learning to play a musical instrument is good for the brain; Research shows that children learn to think better. We give it to our children, we see it as a gift.
Which sport and which instrument they can know themselves. The eldest started playing the violin at the age of five, then played drums for one year and now piano for one year. The youngest has played the piano for two years with a nice teacher. But nowadays it’s really hanging and strangling, she doesn’t feel like practicing and the current teacher makes it worse by constantly punishing her for not practicing. She gets one reprimand after another, I cringe a little myself when I hear it. I tell her to finish the season and I tell her to practice every time, but it’s not going well. She is already doing judo, horse riding and wants to play football or dance next season. Shall I let go of my ideal of musical education, or is she just unlucky with the teacher?”

Name and place of residence are known to the editor. The section Educated is anonymous, because difficulties in education are sensitive.
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What do children think about this? We asked our children’s panel:

What do the experts say?


Marga Akkerman: „If you want to make a child enthusiastic about playing an instrument, it is best if it is approached playfully. This provides music enjoyment for students and teachers. That playfulness is no longer there in your daughter’s music lesson. Even if she were to burst with talent, punishment does not lead to more effort. In adult life, people can become overwrought by these kinds of situations. It works the same with children. By showing her reluctance she reacts healthy. Moreover, a child of her age cannot overlook what it means to choose music lessons. Give her an indefinite time-out to prevent her disgust from growing even more. Education in music can be done in so many ways. There are children’s concerts, street dance classes, TV programs with children’s music. Play music at home, play an instrument yourself, in this way make the interest in music a natural part of your upbringing. For the brain, that doesn’t seem to be all that different from playing an instrument yourself. And who knows, after a while your daughter will become enthusiastic again to make music herself.”

Not of this time

Bas Delivery: „I would like to know how old-fashioned your point of view is nowadays. Not that it is necessarily a bad thing, but having to learn to play music is not really of this time anymore. For many of my contemporaries, the music lesson of their youth is a real trauma and when they come into a room with such a black monster of a piano, their stomach still turns in their bodies. But you are right, there are also those who regret and who think that their parents should have been a little more behind their pants. That is the problem with the education of adolescents.
I do hear about a piano teacher who hands out punishment when there is no practice, but do not read whether your daughter has any musical talent to be discovered. Even the talented kids will need a lot of practice, but in some cases all that practice just doesn’t make much sense. And when it comes to desirable musical education, there is much more on offer than mastering one instrument. Always a team sport at the age of nine, I would say.”

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