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A Story from the Trenches: Parents

Posted by on in Ideas in Music Education
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A fact that shocked me in my early years as a music teacher in the public schools was that parents wanted to know what was happening in music class. I had been told in school that when parents sit around the dinner table and ask how the school day was, it only concerns ‘core subjects’. One day, a parent came to me and thanked me for the stories their child was sharing every night at dinner about what they heard and discovered in music class. She was happy that someone was able to make her son excited to go to school.

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But this was in a very affluent school district. I then switched to an extremely impoverished district and thought no one cared at all. I saw no parents when it was time for conferences and only a handful showed up at the concerts. Then towards the end of the first year in this environment, I happened to be talking to a couple parents randomly in the hallways of the school.

After “oh, you’re the music teacher?”, I heard that both their sets of children looked forward to the day they had music each week. Both Mom’s said that their kids remembered everything I was teaching them. And then one went on to say that she was grateful for music class because it was the one day of the week her kid wouldn’t get a stomach ache and beg to stay home. Needless to say, something click which started a journey that brings me to you today.

As a parent with a musical background, I have always known the power of music and have always done what I could to share it with my kids. No one ever believes that my 11 year old can play just about anything by ear. No one ever believes that my 9 year old writes her own pop tunes. They may not be geniuses and they may never pursue music as a career, and that’s fine. But I know that once we unlock the door saying they can do these things, talents unfold. These skills will be with them their entire lives and will benefit them in whichever field they pursue and in every aspect of their lives.

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