The following was taken from the Music Parents Guide.
As our school year winds down, I would like to congratulate you on completing the first year of your child’s instrumental music study! It’s amazing to think that only a few months ago, your child chose an instrument that “spoke to” them, and opened the case for the first time. We take this time to celebrate not only the hard work of your children, but also the mindsets that they have developed through their successes and their failures throughout their musical journey thus far.
It’s a fact that the majority of people who are literate in music learn it in a school setting, and we are extremely fortunate to provide music instruction through our school curricula. If students were not part of our school music program, there is very little chance they would seek to develop their musical skills outside the school setting — and that would be detrimental to their human growth.
As lucky as your child is to have had musical instrument instruction in school this year, let’s be clear about their time on task: If your child attended every weekly small group lesson for the entire year, they only received somewhere in the range of 14 total hours of instruction. Even though we have accomplished so much with so little time (can you believe that your child could not make a sound on their instrument a few months ago, and now we are playing full concerts!?), it’s too early for your child (and you) to decide to discontinue playing with such few hours on task under their belt.
It is crucial that you are aware of the positive benefits of learning to play a musical instrument — and one year of study is certainly not enough to gain all of them. You see, being a musician trains your child’s mind for success in every aspect of their life. The skills your child will learn over the next few years through music are transferable to every academic subject. Only through playing a musical instrument will your child learn the following:
Regardless of anything else, do not let anyone sacrifice music for the sake of high-stakes standardized tests. The numbers that make school districts look good do not coincide with what is best for your child’s brain, emotional well-being, and human development. Your family’s commitment to lifelong learning is more important than any test, so we need you to continue to participate in and advocate for our music programs.
Very few of us get to realize our own potential, so it is important that you have not mistaken early difficulties in your child’s music instruction for inherent limits. Your child deserves to explore their musical education and the wonderful benefits that come with it for their entire school life, if not beyond. It’s with this in mind that we can’t wait to see your child in band/orchestra next year.