My daughter’s first experience of music lessons in school could so easily have been her last.
She was excited that she would be learning drumming – and so was I. All those creative possibilities: developing a love of rhythm, getting a feel for that primal effect it has, learning how rhythm changes our feelings, our mood, so dramatically. But it was not to be.
After about six weeks, she came home in tears, refusing to go any more. The reason? It took me a while to figure out, but in the end it came down to something really simple.
The tutor just wasn’t that keen on teaching, or on kids. Although a pleasant enough person to speak to (as an adult), teaching music to kids clearly wasn’t his first love. It really showed. It showed through the way my daughter spoke about him, and it showed in the way she felt about her lessons.
If only someone had told him he wasn’t cut out for this (although I’m sure he knows: for him it’s probably something to supplement his other music work). Not least the person who interviewed him for the job.
Thankfully, my daughter persevered. With the help of an inspiring, funny and enthusiastic violin teacher, who has the kids eating out of his hands, she’s continuing with school music lessons. But it was a close call. It could have turned her off making music for life.
In ‘The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything‘ Ken Robinson argues that we all need to find our ‘element’ – to achieve all that we’re capable of, by finding what we’re passionate about.
Children’s musical experiences are too important to be left to people who are doing this just because they can. The best music tutors are those who do it because they *must*.