25 Proven Methods for Ruining Your Child’s Music Education

This was an article referenced in a letter to the editor of the November 2008 issue of The Instrumentalist magazine. The article originally appeared in a 1951 issue of The Instrumentalist. I thought it was funny, so I’ll repost it here. No author is credited, so credit to The Instrumentalist as a whole, I suppose…

25 Proven Methods for Ruining Your Child’s Music Education

  1. Buy him the cheapest instrument possible so he can look forward to earning a better one.
  2. Always point out all his shortcomings; never praise. There’s no sense in spoiling him.
  3. Always call him for practice when the ball game is going best; call in a loud demanding voice so his friends will feel sorry for him.
  4. Insist he practice at a certain time each day without exception. Lay down the law. “Either you practice when I say, or you quit!”
  5. Insist he practice the most uninteresting music the longest. You can’t learn to play an instrument by playing tunes.
  6. Don’t invite other children over to play instruments with your child. They make too much noise, kill too much time, have too much fun, and track in too much dirt.
  7. be sure to mention at the dinner table how little your child has practiced each day.
  8. Never help him with his practicing. There is never time.
  9. Add another hour of practice when he misbehaves.
  10. Call loudly from the kitchen or basement every time he makes a mistake. Make jokes such as “Was that a sick cat I heard?” and “If you can’t do better than that, you should give up.”
  11. Stop him if he practices anything for fun other than his lesson. Music is serious.
  12. Threaten periodically to stop his lessons unless: (a) he practices much more, (b) he plays better than another student, (c) he takes better care of his instrument, (d) he gets beter grades, (e) he makes his bed each morning, (f) he treats his parents with more respect.
  13. Insist on perfection in everything connected with his music; 100% or its no good. He’ll appreciate this when he grows up.
  14. Don’t let him play for his friends or anybody else until he can really play the instrument well. After two or three years he’ll be able to surprise them.
  15. Catch him off guard the first time you want him to play for someone and ask him in front of everybody to play something. If he refuses, insis that he play; if he still refuses, announce that he’s through with music. By all means don’t help him select and work up a number to play for company.
  16. Rest your nerves after a hard day’s work by telling him not to practice where you can hear him. “Take that thing down to the basement. Don’t I deserve a little peace and quiet?”
  17. Insist that he take private lessons from the strictest, driest teacher in town.
  18. Be sure to point out his shortcomings often, especially in front of the teacher or fellow students. It will make a better impression then.
  19. Don’t take him to a concert until he’s old enough, and don’t take him unless he can play well enough to appreciate it.
  20. Insist he can’t take band or orchestra unless his grades improve in academic subjects. Band is just play.
  21. Insist that he take a foreign language in high school instead of band or orchestra.
  22. Don’t pay attention to his music making; you don’t care whether he practices.
  23. Use music as a wedge for getting other things done. Threaten to cut off his lessons if he doesn’t wash the dishes every night.
  24. Don’t buy him a good instrument until he plays extremely well. No sense in wasting money.
  25. With some parents, the real secret is to nag effectively and regularly. Others manage to ruin their child’s music-making by disregarding it almost completely.

It is not necessary to apply all 25. Usually one or two will do the job.

A special thanks to my folks for not doing any of these, and allowing my music eduaction experience to be a pleasent one. On a lighter side, which of these are your favorite? I’m partial to number 19 :).

Midwest Clinic

I’m looking forward to attending the 2008 Midwest Clinic in downtown Chicago at the Hiton this December 16-20 with a bunch of friends from UM, but I’m also looking forward to getting to connect with other music educators out there. Is anyone else planning on being at Midwest this year? Leave me a comment here or tweet me @zweibz7 on Twitter, and maybe we can meet up!

I’ll be at the conference most likely from the 17th on, and am going to try to catch the Chicago Symphony Brass concert that is going on on the afternoon of the 18th.

Oh, and I’ll probably also be blogging/tweeting from the conference all weekend, so you can feel like you’re there even if your not, or try to catch up with where I am from that!

Leave a comment or a tweet if you’ll be around!

Social Networking

So recently I’ve been on a bit of a Web2.0 craze, and have really gotten into social networking. The basic idea of Web2.0 is that websites don’t just provide information, but provide a means for interaction between the creator and the viewers (or in some cases, between one viewer and another). The ranges of these communicative websites can be anything, including global (anyone of any interest/profession), profession-related (in my case, music educators), or personal (people I know). What’s important about these sites, though, is that they promote the sharing of thoughts and ideas among people.

What profession could use more communication between members than education, and music specifically? These networking sites allow people to share ideas about teaching, music, and other pedagogical thoughts, as well as inform people of upcoming concerts/events, or new information that has become available in the field. These are also great networking tools for people looking to find jobs in the profession,

As we enter this new technological age, it is vital for these methods of communication to be used by the next generation of music educators, and I am taking the initiative to start early. I’ve created accounts on several sites, such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and Flickr (which is slightly less about professional development but cool nonetheless), in order to meet more music educators and other people in general.

You can now find links to my profiles/accounts on all these sites on the right hand bar of my website, under the heading “Network With Me!” If you have accounts on any of these sites, please feel free to add me/follow me/etc, and leave your information in a comment to this message so I can do the same to you! Also, if you’re viewing this site as a result of seeing a link on one of these sites, leave a comment here saying how you found me!

Looking forward to networking with you!

Symphonic Winds Concert

On Wednesday, November 19, the Frost Symphonic Winds, under the direction of Conductor Mr. Thomas Keck and Associate Conductors Ms. Lauren Denney Wright and Mr. Shawn Vondran, will present a concert at Gusman Concert Hall at the University of Miami Frost School of Music. The concert will start at 8:00 pm, and will feature me on some small solo work, as well as many of my friends, and should be a fantastic night of music. The program is as follows:

“Hey!” – Timothy Mahr
“I wander in a dream world of my own making” – Christopher Theofanidis (Conductor: Shawn Vondran)
“Kingfishers Catch Fire” – John Mackey (Conductor: Lauren Denney Wright)
“Fantasy in G Major” – J.S. Bach
“Symphony for Band (Symphony No. 6) Op. 69” – Vincent Persichetti
“Four Scottish Dances” – Malcolm Arnold

It’s going to be a fantastic concert, and for those of you in the area, admission is free! If you can’t get to the UM campus for the concert, because you’re out of town, state, or country ( 🙂 ), then you can lsiten to a live stream of the concert at the following URL. Streaming will begin 30 minutes before the concert:

Live Stream

Please feel free to post comments as you listen, or afterward if you had the opportunity to listen to it!