Bite-sized inspiration #2:

Time to start a family band.

So here’s my vision for your kids:

I want them to grow up playing duets with their friends. Seeking out music they like and learning to play it.

I want them to serenade their sweethearts in high school, join a band, or turn to music for solace when they need it.

I want them to grow up and sing together with their families (in harmony, no less), to help their own kids in their piano lessons, and to play for their spouses after a long day.

When they’re old, I want them to be able to play music from their “good ol’ days.” I want them to have something joyful and soul-nourishing to do after they can’t shoot a basket or kick a soccer ball anymore.

I want music to be a lifelong comfort for them, as well as a source of connection and community. 

So here’s my vision for your kids:

I want them to grow up playing duets with their friends. Seeking out music they like and learning to play it.

I want them to serenade their sweethearts in high school, join a band, or turn to music for solace when they need it.

I want them to grow up and sing together with their families (in harmony, no less), to help their own kids in their piano lessons, and to play for their spouses after a long day.

When they’re old, I want them to be able to play music from their “good ol’ days.” I want them to have something joyful and soul-nourishing to do after they can’t shoot a basket or kick a soccer ball anymore.

I want music to be a lifelong comfort for them, as well as a source of connection and community. 

Sounds great, right? But how?

No worries. I have a plan.

Sounds great, right? But how?

No worries. I have a plan.

No. 1

None of that will happen if lessons are so boring that they quit after just a couple years! What if, instead of a groan-worthy weekly chore, lessons were something your child actually looked forward to every week?

Varied and fun lessons are the key.

Games. Technology. Going outside to do our theory with sidewalk chalk on that first nice day in spring. There’s never a dull moment around here!

No. 2

In the past, piano lessons have often left out important skills like:

  • how to actually learn a pop or rock song
  • how to figure out their favorite song by ear
  • the simple formula to make up their own music, and have it actually SOUND like music!
  • the extra skills (beyond just playing well) they’ll need to accompany a singer, or play in a group

Perfectly polished classical recital pieces are awesome. I’m a big fan of them. We certainly spend lots of time on them in lessons! But out in the real world, playing with friends, students will need these other skills just as much.

No. 3

  • When was the last time you were part of a singalong? We do ’em in group lessons all the time!
  • Dance parties are an awesome way to teach rhythm.
  • Did you think real door-to-door Christmas caroling was a thing of the past? It’s not. We do it every year.
There was a time when music was a daily part of people’s lives–and not just music they passively half-listen to in the background. Making music was normal and expected. Families sang and played together.

All those things still happen! If making music as a community is a regular part of a child’s life, it’ll never occur to them not to have music in their life when they grow up.

Do we still learn classical music, and spend time developing good technique?

Of course!

There are students here who do Royal Conservatory of Music exams, competitions, and other high-pressure performances, and their preparation for those experiences is solid.

But the most important measures of success for me aren’t RCM score sheets.

I want my students to make music with their friends.

I want them to keep playing after they grow up and move away.

I want them to confidently call themselves “musicians.”

That’s how I’ll know I’ve done my job.

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