Monday, January 6, 2014

Homeschool Music - No Tiger Moms Here

I really want my children to have the ability to read music and be able to learn whatever instrument they are internally motivated to study. I would also like them to be able to appreciate the finest and/or funnest music out there. I have no desire to force them to practice long stretches each day and go through the tears and fights that so often happen when children are forced a la Amy Chua (The Tiger Mother).

What that looks like in practice for our family is this: each school age child is expected to do five minutes on two different instruments (a page of music theory from a workbook counts as an instrument) every normal school day with any needed instruction given by me, a book, or an internet video. That's basically it. I did run a small children's chorale for 2 months with other homeschoolers this past fall to give them a group singing experience, but that was quite temporary. My children progress slowly, yet steadily, in primarily piano and violin, with excursions into the recorder, bandurria (a Filipino mandolin-like instrument), and trumpet. If any of our children becomes desperate for lessons, she will get long as she is willing on her own to put in the practice time that professional teachers will require.

Ask me in a few years how this has worked out. For now, there are few tears associated with our music studies, and that is more important to me than creating virtuosos. Besides, I have just one sibling who majored in music performance, and she literally does nothing with it now. Encouraging my children to be music performers for any reason other than their own unstoppable, internal drive to do so just doesn't seem practical.

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