I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of Anthony Mazzocchi’s book The Music Parents’ Guide: A Survival Kit for the New Music Parent.
It’s available on Kindle on May 1, but I want to own a paper copy because this is a book I’ll want to highlight, dog-ear, and loan out to friends.
“Each year, hundreds of thousands of students start a musical instrument though their school music programs. One or two years later, up to 80% of them quit.
This occurs because parents are not armed with the minimal knowledge required to support their child’s musical growth at home.
Self-disciplined, compassionate, responsible, collaborative, confidant, and proud. These are all characteristics of children who play musical instruments.
What’s more, the benefits of music education reach far beyond the lesson and well into all aspects of adulthood.” -Mazzocchi
You can preorder now on Amazon.
I first became aware of Mazzocchi’s writings through his wonderful blog. The blog offers practical advice informed by his career as a professional musician and teacher. He is also the father of a reluctant young pianist. I can relate to that!
I was inspired to write about my own experiences as a teacher and parent when I read about the high numbers of kids who start musical instruments at school only to give up soon thereafter. Conversations with parents of flute players in my private studio confirmed that adults need support in helping their children practice. Some parents think that if a child isn’t enthusiastic about practicing or won’t initiate practicing on their own, that it means the child has no future as a musician.
Mazzocchi addresses this directly in a recent blog post. He writes
“It’s important to know that just because you need to remind your child to practice does not mean that they don’t want to practice or that they don’t want to play their instrument. Just as you don’t give your children the option of not doing homework, brushing their teeth, or eating, practice should not be optional. Even if that means you remind your child to do it every day.”
My husband and I are both professional musicians and we have to remind our two children to practice every day. I don’t count it as a failure. I have to remind my daughter to clean her room too, but I wouldn’t consider giving up and letting her become a slob.
I believe this book will be an invaluable resource for all parents of musical children. Band teachers, for understandable reasons, don’t give a lot of advice about what to do with the instrument at home. Private teachers offer a bit more support, but I’ll admit we’re not as specific as we should be about all the issues that need to be addressed in the practice room.
Parents of young musicians (and I include myself in this category) need help in two important ways:
- We need answers to questions such as “Is 10 minutes a day enough?” “Do I need to be in the practice room with my child?” “How do I know if she is playing something wrong and how can I help her fix the problem?”
- We need emotional support to keep up the hard work of motivating children to play music, especially when our children are resistant. We need to be assured that the effort and money is worth it. Maybe this issue is causing friction with your spouse. After reading this book, you’ll be more confident about the choices you’re making.
Put The Music Parents’ Guide on your summer reading list, and we’ll meet back here to discuss.