A few years ago my husband and I went to visit his cousin who is a farmer. He was plowing the fields when we arrived so we went to see him. Seated in his air conditioned tractor he was plowing up the row and down the next up the next row and down the next and up and down.. row after row, day after day, month after month. How could he stand it?? At dinner he asked me, “So Bonnie are you still teaching flute lessons after all these years?” Yes!” I enthusiastically answered.”Doesn’t that get awfully boring?”
Archive for June, 2011
Mother’s Day is a special celebration in my studio. It is a gala event where all students (even those who only know 2 notes) play in ensembles, dress in costumes, interview each other on stage, and perform little skits. (You can see some of the performances on my website.) We dedicate the gala to our mothers and I provide gifts, have the students write cards, take pictures of the students and their moms, and end with a big potluck dinner. It is a tremendous amount of work for me but it is a way I can show my appreciation to the parents who make it all possible.
Having two sons of my own who played piano and a string instrument, I found that being a music parent was one of the hardest parts of parenting. Insisting on a practice schedule, sitting with them during practice, transportation to lessons and attending many of them, paying for lessons, contest fees, music, concert clothes…And most of all listening to them whining.
“I’m too tired to practice”, or too hungry, thirsty, cold, I have to go to the bathroom. I’m too busy… In fact I have a whole skit titled “Practice Wars” that I perform at some of my speeches and at the end I confess that I didn’t really write it- I just copied it from my sons!
My sons are now in their last years of college and in the end they agree they loved their teachers and lessons, they’re glad they continued and they want to keep playing. (Thank goodness!!)
Providing the support for your children to be musicians can be gratifying but it can also be irritating, tiring, and exasperating. BUT it is one of the greatest gifts you can give your child -one that will touch them in so many ways with lessons learned for a lifetime.
So remember the long term goals as a parent and remember as a teacher to thank your parents and realize they are part of the learning triangle that makes your job and their children’s success possible.