My love of music started at an early age, and has continued to be a favorite story of my mother's to tell. I HATED swimming lessons. Many reasons hindered my love; It was early in the morning, it was in a freezing cold lake, and green algae commonly squished between your toes in certain areas of the lesson space. Although I was relatively shy as a child (surprisingly true), I was also quite resourceful when need-be. My favorite play was "Annie"-- I had every song memorized! So to avoid getting in the water, I would stand on the dock and sing to my class 'The Sun will Come Out Tomorrow'. Growing up in a small town of 600 people, you can imagine how often I've heard that story retold.
Singing was always a shy love of mine. I loved all music growing up including; taking piano lessons, singing in a church choir, school choir, vocal competitions and eventually singing on the Miss America stage in Atlantic City in front of 6,000 people and at a Twins Game.
Few people ever knew that singing in front of people, was actually my biggest fear. My choir teacher, Miss Starr and my mom knew. I would never allow anyone in the room to watch a competition and most often if anyone was coaching me, I would have them not look at me. This fear was so physically strong for me and one I fought so hard because I loved singing, but was barely was able to overcome that fear. I would shake, nearly cry, lose my voice, be completely off key, and often just lose control of my body. Many people say they feel this way when they have to do public speaking. My mom never pushed me, she just wasn't that type of parent, however, she would constantly give me positive encouragement and try to instill confidence in my ability. To this day, I fully recognize I'm not a fabulous singer, but I can carry a tune.
Recently, I wanted to rediscover my musical passions and purchased a piano. After doing so, my friend Christine asked, "Should you require your child to stay with a musical instrument even if they don't like it." I really wanted to throw that out for all of you to advise her. Personally, I feel had Mama O' not pushed me to continue practicing piano when I hated it (No one likes practicing), and had she not continually encouraged me to believe in my singing, I never would have become Miss Minnesota. And without the musical training of piano, singing is that much harder to read music and stay on tune. I am grateful for having great supportive people in my life because the truth is we all have fears, and we all have areas we lack confidence and it takes special people (parents. teachers and friends) to push you a little because they know the benefits it will give you later in life - some that may even surprise you!
Maybe the trick is finding a) Something they love and b)An instrument they are naturally good at. Give them a time frame to be committed to practicing and learn it, perhaps a year? And then if they still hate it, find something else they are good at. I think music education benefits everyone in more ways that the obvious, and often times I hear adult friends saying "I wish" when it comes to piano, guitar, and singing lessons.
Weigh in with your thoughts and personal story to help Christine and her daughter make this decisions. Her daughter cries every time she has to practice piano. What do you think, "Should you require your child to stay with a musical instrument even if they don't like it?"