There is one thing that has been irking me as I observe music teachers at my job, and especially as a person who has anxiety issues: teachers and parents need to stop pushing kids to the limit.

It’s good to push kids, to direct and shape their growth, but those in the teaching and parenting roles need to be prepared to put on the brakes at any moment during the push.  I observe too many kids at my job who are pushed into music, have technique beaten into their heads, have extra lessons, extra teacher-involved practice time, grueling sessions, and pushy adults in their lives, and it’s easy to notice the loathing the kids have for their lessons.  I’m not talking about the spoiled kids who don’t work; I’m talking about hardworking kids who are pushed to the limit.  I was one of those kids, and if I hadn’t had more capable adults in my later life I’d probably still be a wreck.

Kids should play music because they want to, and if they express sincere interest it should be nurtured.  But, the point of life is to live life, not be the best at technique or practice more than your classmates.  If the joy of music is squashed under verbal and practical abuse, then it’s not worth it.  I understand fully that learning music is like working out; it takes a long time and will be painful at points.  But, I beseech the parents and teachers of today to not kill a kid and push them to the limit for the sake of learning a piece faster, or getting better at some arbitrarily lauded technique.  Life is not a competition, and it’s better to enjoy the things you do than to sacrifice your life for the goals of others.  It breeds malice towards music and the very people who should be loved by the kids, and it’s pointless.  Get over yourselves, parents and teachers.

Thanks for reading,

Dan