Purgatory of the Practise Room

Naturally, I hear many stories from adults about their experience of learning music. Sometimes, these stories are sad and sometimes rather disturbing. It happened again this week. They were carted off every week. The look on their face, their body

language, the tone in their voice is of being forced against their will to do something repeatly that they had no desire or inclination for. This particular person’s perspective now, is that their parent desperately wanted one of them to be musical like them. Another version I have heard is, they desperately wanted them to be a performer. Yet another one I have heard is, the parent is hell-bent on offering their child the opportunities that they missed out on. In all cases, it is what the parent actually wants for themselves and is transferring it onto the child. This is done without respect for the child’s temperament, ability, intelligence, will or desire.

It seems the ‘syndrome’ of parents wanting their child to be a Doctor translates to other areas of pursuit.

I would like to say that, from my perspective as a music teacher/mentor and musician, the child has to want to learn. It needs to resonate with how they see themselves or want to see themselves. They have to like the sound of the instrument and how the sound is made. There must be an inner driving force in the student other than only doing it to please someone else or their mis-guided parent. The parent’s role is to facilitate not dictate.

When the student is coming to lessons of their own free will, it is a labour of love for the teacher and the parent. Witnessing their growing skill in Concerts brings tears of joy to their eyes and mine. Inside all of us are flowers that with love and nourishment and the sunshine of attention may bloom in glorious ways.

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