Have you ever heard the phrase, “the shoemaker’s children go barefoot?” I feel like that phrase describes me in relation to my ability to be consistent with musical training for my kids. I am a former piano teacher and only stopped teaching a few years ago after the birth of my third child. I was in piano lessons from the time I was six years old until I graduated from high school, yet my children have had very inconsistent music instruction. We have started and stopped lessons many times over the years. I have tried to explore my attitude and habits to ascertain the reason this has happened.
Why Is This Subject So Hard For Me to Teach?
- As much as I love music myself, my boys did not seem to show early promise in music. My husband has an appreciation for music, but has no natural ability in this area. My boys and I would sing songs together when they were toddlers and I would sit them in my lap and let them “play” the piano. They enjoyed this, but did not approach the piano to play often on their own. I have always wanted to guide them toward their natural giftings and bents and I don’t want them to feel pressure to do as their Mama and Daddy have done in every way. I want them to have a well-rounded education, but I don’t want them to hate music and music practice.
- I think that in the early years of our homeschool journey, I was so focused on the three R’s that I couldn’t see past them to work in time for electives such as music. It took all our energy to get the basics done in the early years, and it didn’t leave much time for extras such as music.
- I believe looking at music as an elective and not a way of life caused me to put it in the category of “extras” and push it to the back burner for many years.
How Am I Approaching this Subject Now to Address My Weaknesses?
- I have reviewed some awesome music software by Adventus that has taken some of the burden off of me and helped me delegate some of the music instruction to an “online teacher”. The boys are having fun and enjoying piano now and I don’t have to be the nag.
- I am trying to include music appreciation by choosing some music from my library to have the kids listen to during the day. I hope to add to this collection. Right now we are listening to some American folk tunes, a Scripture memory CD and a selections of classical music during our school day.
- I am making music a part of our school day. I schedule in practice in our planner and the kids have to mark it off daily. I have practice scheduled daily for all of the kids, including my 3-year old.
- All three of my kids have begun to attend music choir at our church and are enjoying it.
- My oldest son attends a one-week music camp each summer and he is exposed to music, drama and hand bells. These opportunities are helping to fill in the gaps where my inconsistency has caused me to fall short. I hope that these few strategies will enable me to begin preparing my children with a foundation in music that they can build on if they so desire. I am trying to give them a well-rounded education, but allow them the freedom to choose other paths if they so desire.