Why Students Really Quit Their Musical Instrument (and How Parents Can Prevent It) – National Association for Music Education (NAfME)

piano-teacher
A great article from the National Association for Music Education (NAfME)

The real reasons that students quit is often beyond their own understanding.  It is up to teachers and parents to create moments for students to want to continue on their instrument during the early years of study in order for the child to be successful and stay with the craft.

Here are reasons students quit, and ways to combat them:

Parents need to find music just as important as other subjects.  The sad truth is that many non-music teachers and administrators do not find music equally as important as math or English language-arts, but parents need to.  Besides, you wouldn’t let your child quit math, would you?  Many kids would jump at that opportunity.  Music is a core subject…period.  The more parents treat it as such, the less students will quit.

Students don’t know how to get better.  Without the proper tools and practice habits to get better at anything, students will become frustrated and want to quit.  It is the role of the music educator and the parents to give students ownership over their learning.  Teachers must teach students why, how, where, and when to practice, and parents must obtain minimal knowledge about how students learn music in order to properly support them at home.

Parents and students think they aren’t musically talented.  Sure, there are some kids who pick up an instrument and sound decent immediately, but they will hit a wall later and have to work hard to overcome it.  Most everyone else won’t sound that great at first.  Playing a musical instrument is a craft that, if practiced correctly, is something that all children can find success in.  As long as students know how to practice and that it needs to be done regularly, they will get better.

Students discontinue playing over the summer.  Statistics show that students who do not read over the summer find themselves extremely behind once school starts.  The same goes for playing an instrument.  A year of musical instruction can quickly go down the tubes over the summer vacation if students do not find small ways to play once in a while.  Picking up an instrument for the first time after a long layoff can be so frustrating that a student will not want to continue into the next school year.

The instrument is in disrepair.  A worn down cork, poor working reed, or small dent can wreak havoc on a child’s playing ability.  Sometimes the malfunction is so subtle that the student thinks they are doing something wrong, and frustration mounts.  Students, parents and teachers need to be aware of the basics of instrument maintenance and be on top of repairs when needed.

Teachers don’t create enough performing opportunities during the year.  The best way to motivate students musically is through performance.  Weeks or even months on end of practicing without performing for an audience gets old very quick, and student will definitely quit.  Teachers should schedule performances every six weeks or so in order for students to stay engaged and practicing.  Parents can help by creating small performance opportunities at home — a Friday night dinner concert or a planned performance for visiting family members are great ideas.

There is not enough “fun”music to practice.  It’s very important for parents to be aware of music that interests their child, because it exists in sheet music form for download or purchase.  It’s important that all students play music that is aligned to their interests in addition to other pieces that are worked on in school.

Other activities are pulling at the child.  Between art lessons, sports, karate, and other activities, parents grow weary of having “one more thing” to be on top of schedule-wise.  Parents need to understand that the enduring social and psychological benefits of music are as enormous as those of sports — in the same and different ways.  Budget time accordingly and children will have 10 minutes a day to practice an instrument, for sure.

Much like any worthwhile venture, practicing a musical instrument has its ups and downs.  Kids need to be reminded to practice, of course — but they should not be constantly pushed, and they should not be completely left alone.  It’s a balancing act where sometimes the parents will need to give their child a break for a few days and other times will need to bribe them to practice.  Either way, all children are capable of thriving with a musical education, and students will indeed thank their parents for not letting them quit.

via Why Students Really Quit Their Musical Instrument (and How Parents Can Prevent It) – National Association for Music Education (NAfME).

April 28 ~ Today in Music History

today

 

. 1870 ~ Hermann Suter, Swiss composer and conductor

. 1871 ~ Louise Homer, American opera singer, contralto at the NY Metropolitan Opera House

. 1892 ~ John Jacob Niles, Composer

. 1917 ~ “Papa” John Creach, Singer

. 1920 ~ Nan Merriman, American mezzo-soprano

. 1940 ~ Pennsylvania 6-5000, the classic Glenn Miller signature song, was recorded on Bluebird Records.

. 1940 ~ Luisa Tetrazzini, Italian soprano, died.

. 1941 ~ Ann-Margaret, Entertainer

. 1950 ~ Jay Leno, TV personality

. 1987 ~ For the first time, a compact disc of an album was released before its vinyl counterpart. The Art of Excellence by Tony Bennett, his first recorded work in a decade, went on sale.

. 2001 ~ Evelyn Kuenneke, a Berlin singer and cabaret artist whose tune Sing Nightingale Sing was a hit among German soldiers during World War II, died of lung cancer at the age of 79. Kuenneke started out as a dancer at Berlin’s State Opera in the late 1930s. When the Nazis banned her from appearing in cabaret shows under her artist name Evelyn King in 1939, she turned to movies and pop songs that also took her on the wartime military entertainment circuit. With the war started by Adolf Hitler in full fury, Kuenneke scored her biggest success in 1941 with Sing Nightingale Sing, a nostalgia-laced ditty set to a slow swing beat. She continued her career after the war with pop recordings and films, dropping out of the public eye in the 1960s but staging a comeback in the 1970s. Since then, she regularly appeared on stage in small productions or variety shows until a few months ago. Born Dec. 15, 1921 in Berlin, Kuenneke was the daughter of German operetta composer Eduard Kuenneke and the opera singer Katarina Krapotkin.

. 2002 ~ Noel Da Costa, a composer and professor at Rutgers University, died. He was 82. Da Costa also wrote music that drew from African folk music. His piece, Primal Rites, was performed in 1983 by the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra under John Williams, with Max Roach as the soloist. Born in Nigeria, Da Costa’s family moved to Harlem as a young boy. He attended Queens College and Columbia University. He won a Fulbright Scholarship to study music with Luigi Dallapiccola in Florence, Italy. Da Costa joined the faculty of Rutgers in New Brunswick, N.J. in 1970 after teaching for the city universities of New York. He retired from Rutgers last year.