‘Why Your Children Shouldn’t Take Formal Music Lessons’ – A Vivisection.

If you haven’t already, go check out Better Parenting (Dot!) Com to find the article that I am going to refer to here.

Chris Oldenburg, the author of the article, does not leave much in the way for interpretation with the Title wordage she uses.  ’Why Your Children Shouldn’t Take Formal Music Lessons’.

Shouldn’t.  Meaning should not.  In other words, she is writing an article to tell other parents not to encourage their children to participate in what she calls ‘Formal Music Lessons’

So what does she actually mean by ‘Formal Music Lessons’?  Well, let’s investigate.

She says: ”Actually, by formal lessons I am referring to those where the goals and the strategies are ultimately in the hands of the instructor – as in a class setting – but not necessarily.”

A bit suspicious if you ask me.  So, if I am reading this correctly – She says that ‘goals and strategies are ultimately in the hands of the instructor’

So , she seems to think that in College – The Professors there would be of the type that utilize that method.  So how does this destroy passion?  Of that, I do not know.  She seems to think that passion is this sort of fickle thing that can be so easily swayed by Gasp!  God forbid!  Some DIRECTION!

No, no, no.  Music should be FUN!  It should be a HOBBY!  It should be for pleasure ONLY!  If you get assigned a grade, it will destroy ALL the PASSION!

Is it just me, or is she trying to manipulate the readers sense of emotion by using the word ‘Passion’ in the wrong context?  Or is she, like many mothers, over exaggerating her child’s sense of self interest in something her child enjoys?  Or does she not understand what the word passion actually means?

So, if you are deeply in Love and Passionate towards another person, would she write an article entitled ‘Why your children shouldn’t get engaged into a formal union between two people’

She doesn’t say anything about being worried about her daughter pursuing pre-med in College.  Is her daughter not passionate about curing people?  About saving their lives through surgery?

Obviously not, or else the author would write an article entitled ‘Why Your children shouldn’t enter into formal medicine’ – With dodgy and irrational arguments that try to support it.  After all, many mothers get a heart felt warmth inside them when they cook a bowl of chicken noodle soup for their young child.  Taking a formal education will just simply destroy any and all interest to ever cook a bowl of chicken noodle soup ever again.

I’m not sure about you, but I for one wouldn’t want a surgeon operating on me that isn’t passionate about what they do.

I think it’s obvious what her article is about.  It isn’t an argument at all.  It’s an irrational fear that she has – And worse – She is trying to score some article points by sensationalizing it and writing to all families – To encourage them not to encourage THEIR children’s passion in music.

Or is it just passion in Music?  Is Music the ONLY thing you can be passionate about?

Dance?  Art?  Sex?  Science?

What if she wrote an article about the wonders of the Universe and Carl Sagan and suggested that it would be an absolute pity to have your child enter a formal education in Physics or Cosmology … because it would kill your passion?

I think by now, anyone reading this with an unbiased mind can see that her article is not an argument at all.  It’s pure fear.  Ignorant fear at that, because she apparently doesn’t know much about how ‘Formal Lessons’ are conducted in College Institutions.

Or what a correlation is.

She says: “Research shows clear connections between learning to play music and positive brain development in children. Study after study comes to the same conclusion: children who learn to play musical instruments are more likely to have larger vocabularies, higher reading skills, and even increased abilities to convey emotions verbally. When it comes to children with learning disabilities, learning to play musical instruments also enhances their cognitive functions.

There seems to be endless lists of the benefits of music training for children, including increased memory skills and attention spans. So why don’t I want my daughter to have formal piano lessons while at college? Perhaps it is my rebellious education side, the home school mom in me that says that her piano playing abilities are where they are now because she wanted them to improve, not because she was receiving a grade for her efforts. Or it could be that while the studies show that learning to play music is beneficial, I have not found one study to say that kids need rigorous lessons in order to see the benefits.”

Correlation.  Not Connection.  Ever sit back for a second and ponder why there is a Correlation rather than a Causation?

Perhaps because middle class and wealthier families are the ones able to finance private music instruction?  Perhaps it isn’t the music instruction – but the formality of it?

How many families do you know about in the inner city ghetto  play recordings of Mozart while their infants sleep at night?  How many of those families attend their local Orchestra events? How many of them are able to finance music lessons?

Let’s ask the question in another way:  ”Do you really think music is the ONLY benefit of a child living under a middle class and wealthy family that appreciates a strong musical education?

So if you take poverty level families and play Mozart in their infants cribs – You think they are going to have a higher chance of attending Yale or Harvard?

I’m just going to throw this out there.  Perhaps it’s the hard work and dedication of the Private Music Instructors – Those of us that mostly have gone through a formal Education in a College setting – (If you are going to accuse me of being inept at evaluating your article with the word ‘Parent’ in it simply because I am not one, then I will throw it right back at you – That you are inept at evaluating anything to do with Formal Music Education because you never went through a College Music degree – funny how that works – Your argument can again be turned around back on you.) and are still so passionate about it that we make it our lifes mission to help children and adults learn music – And it’s not the music itself that creates those increased mental aerobics – But the Instructors who have been trained through over a dozen years of music study – And Thousands of hours of intense studying and mental aerobics. That we are the ones who know how to draw it out and how to project these traits and encourage our students to develop these abilities – THROUGH music – Not BECAUSE of it.

You wouldn’t have these benefits that you speak so highly of if every family encouraged their children not to follow their passion of music.  Why is that?

Because there wouldn’t be any Private Music Instructors to teach these benefits.

It’s that simple.


One thought on “‘Why Your Children Shouldn’t Take Formal Music Lessons’ – A Vivisection.

  1. Pingback: Ahhh… Parents, Parents, Parents: Redux « Piano Addict

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