So You Want to Enroll Your Child in Music Lessons

It may be helpful to think of this decision, not so much as an isolated thought, but rather as a new step in your child’s life journey. For each child, the journey will be different, as will the musical experiences. And yet, depending on the teacher and the commitment of the child, each musical journey will be one that affords the student, the teacher and parents alike, to grow in ways that extend beyond the confines of “ learning the instrument” and refining technical precision.

To engage a child in the pursuit, but also the joy of music, is to open a world of untapped imagination, creativity, and wonder. To engage in music making and listening, is to create a heightened awareness of the world around us and indeed, inside us. Music awakens us not only to growth, but to sensitivity, compassion and even a new sense of love.

The famous conductor Leopold Stowkowski spoke of the canvas of silence upon which music is written. Our world is often cluttered with modern technology that includes ipods and cell phones and other sounds that create chaos in us and around us. The time spent on lessons and on practising need not lead us to think of music as an imposition, but rather as an opportunity, an oasis of sorts, where we may experience stillness and even silence.

If we think of music lessons as a gift, that is, a gift from parent and gift for the child, we may then come to think of the inevitable practising, not so much as drudgery or discipline, but rather as a time to discover (or uncover) not only what lies within the music, but also to find the music that resides inside each one of us. This process encourages something beautiful to be created in all of us.

When we come to recognize music as a gift for ourselves and offer that gift to our children, we open ourselves and our children to commitment, rootedness, beauty, and an energy that creates and encourages finding the centre of our being. The extent to which we afford our children opportunities to find their true selves may, to a great extent, influence positively the adults they may become.

Jane Ripley