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Rebecca Darnall

November 6, 2012 at 10:22 PM

Back by popular demand (thanks, friends :D ), here is the article again on some of the true statements that have been made and have been experienced within my and my colleagues studios. This was written in, well, two minutes. I couldn't help myself but recognize the irony. Please let me make a disclaimer, however: This does not represent any one entire studio, nor does it presume to cast stereotypes, nor does it intend to deem all other activities ridiculous. Let it be known the author of this article would like to state that she is extremely blessed to have parents in her studio that do not state the following, that she understands not everyone thinks like this, and that she encourages ALL her students to stay physically and mentally sharp in various ways including not least of all sports.

For those of you who are new to this article, this is a small demonstration of some of the ironic differences in thinking some people have when it comes to music vs. other activities~

Oh we have a game this weekend and it's three hours away
Drive 20 minutes to a lesson? Forget it!

We are planning a family vacation in 6 months
We can't plan for a recital 6 months.

We have to drive an hour and a half to buy some sports equipment today
There's no way I am driving an hour and a half to get my instrument fixed

The coach says we have to be there at this time on this day
Sorry, we can't make rehearsal

Oh my student didn't go to school today because he/she is sick
But I brought him/her to the lesson! I figured you don't mind getting sick

They practice swimming 5 hours a week!
You mean I need to practice my instrument more than 10 minutes a day?

Well, this club isn't turning out to be exactly what my child expected, but we'll stick with it
Well, after a few lessons we decided it's not going how we like, so we'll quit

Well, we are sick so we can't go to the special event even though we paid for these tickets. Guess that's money down the drain
I demand a refund!

We decided to take up "x" activity and it happens at this time on this day
Please private teacher, switch around our time~we are being flexible with you by allowing you to still fit us in somewhere else in YOUR schedule

Let's buy a new car...
Sorry, I can't afford to by him/her new strings

We need to make sure we are on the field by 5pm!
I'm sure if we are late to the lesson it will be ok...

There's a fee to pay every time I get a haircut
You mean I have to pay for the lesson the same time I receive it??

The irony folks. That's all I am pointing out. The irony. And this irony comes from a lack of understanding. Perhaps also a lack of communication on my part from time to time. It is a personal goal of mine to educate people as much as I respectfully can on the topic of music lessons. It's not to believe the worst of people, it's not to preach at them; it's to gently guide their misunderstandings about music lessons.

Thank you again to those who wrote the last time. I respect your thoughts, ideas, and advice greatly.

From Corwin Slack
Posted on November 7, 2012 at 6:41 AM
I am glad you reposted this. I hope you are able to find students from families that have strong values and prioritize musical education.
From Paul Deck
Posted on November 7, 2012 at 2:38 PM
other: of course my child will come to your child's two-hour birthday party and we don't mind taking an hour to shop for a present.
music: my child might be able to come to your child's forty-minute solo violin recital if we don't have a conflict (translation: forget it)
From Rebecca Darnall
Posted on November 7, 2012 at 5:34 PM
Thanks Corwin! :)

Paul~yes...another good example!

From Scott Cole
Posted on November 7, 2012 at 5:28 PM
"Sure, $80 a month is great for cable. We won't worry that after 18 years, our child won't have that
$17,280 for college."

We music teachers can't beat ourselves up. American values are what they are, and those values include frittering away their time and money on silly things they really can't afford.

I support my students' involvement in lots of activities, including sports. What I don't understand is the worldwide phenomena of the idolatry of sports figures, and the time spent watching others do fun and games. Now THAT'S a waste of time.

From Thessa Tang
Posted on November 7, 2012 at 8:35 PM
I think Rebecca, when you say this small demonstration of some of the ironic differences in thinking some people have when it comes to music vs. other activities, you may be referring, thankfully, to a minority or to parents of those very young kids in the initial 1st/2nd year, perhaps?

Seriously, I know some young teenagers who travel very far for their piano/violin lessons. Once your students fall in love with an instrument so to speak, the distance and other "obstacles" you mentioned cease to be issues? In the meantime unfortunately, your patience will be tested many times. Being a music teacher can be very hard with some parents.

Having said that, to love/believe is to commit. So once they love playing, things can change massively. For example, a teenager I know (age 15) had no hesitation travelling alone to lesson. It took 2 tubes, 1 train plus a taxicab to get to that town and back and there are definitely other equally committed youths.

However, I may be totally wrong. Maybe the US is very different from London, UK.

From Trevor Jennings
Posted on November 8, 2012 at 10:47 AM
It was when I was a child, and has been ever since, the very opposite for me. Music has always trumped every other activity - except actual work when I needed to earn a living ;)
From Rebecca Darnall
Posted on November 8, 2012 at 11:41 PM
HI Thessa,

Of course, there are exceptions to what I am saying. And I totally agree with you~once the student has a love for it should they ever have that (and not everyone will, of course), things will be different. It's not the student's attitudes so much as the parents. But like I said, I know there are many parents out there that don't think like this.
I myself am a student who travels three hours a day for a lesson when I can afford it (I am in college, teaching, traveling, etc. so I can't go to one every week).
I think it really does depend on the area in which you live. I think you might find it quite a bit different where I live than in London. I myself have not been to London, but my best friend studied there for a year. She said the overall level of commitment in the UK was much higher in her opinion, and frankly that did not surprise me. The proof is in the pudding, and the UK has many many FABULOUS orchestras. Where I live, not so much. The area is very agrarian, and research and science are the prized professions. Having said that, of course there are exceptions to that too.

Trevor~I am with you on that. My parents though were great about making sure I was fulfilling all my responsibilities within each activity. If I wasn't, it meant I was too busy and had to drop something. And I was also a very strange child. I knew when I was four I wanted to always have music in my life, and by eleven I knew I wanted it to be my profession. So, in a way~I guess I can't relate to many of my students, and I have to keep that in mind.

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