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To not understand why parents encourage music

(295 Posts)
angryeumigrant Sun 17-Jul-16 22:50:39

when classical musicians earn so little.

The real money in music is in music production, composing, DJing, club nights, breakthrough bands, etc. Even that is not what it was in say the 1980s. There is next to no money in classical music performance.

I'll all for children learning to play an instrument for pleasure, read music, music theory, etc. However, I do wonder why parents would not actively discourage their children from spending too much time playing an instrument during GCSE / A-Levels. I think it's one of those things that is considered a "good thing" without it ever getting looked at objectively.

I would much rather my child was composing electronic music or sounding a computer game than reaching a top level playing the violin, because frankly the former is not only more creative but also more career-enhancing.

Scarydinosaurs Sun 17-Jul-16 22:51:30

Errrr because life is more than money.

Because it is a brilliant skill to have with many cross over benefits.

Because music is beautiful.

lulucappuccino Sun 17-Jul-16 22:54:39

Because it's enjoyable, therapeutic, entertaining, challenging, fascinating, satisfying, sociable, eye-opening, intellectually stimulating, emotionally comforting, fun...!!!!!!!

WorraLiberty Sun 17-Jul-16 22:55:25

I don't know really

All the very best classical musicians at my son's 6th form are doing brilliantly academically too.

And all bar one - who wants to be a music therapist, are headed for non music related careers.

Mouikey Sun 17-Jul-16 22:55:27

Reached disciplin, perseverance, forward thinking, team work (if part of an orchestra) and to be honest gives the foundations of music theory which would be beneficial when composing electronic music/djing etc. It's (I guess) kind of like learning Latin and then further languages.

Don't get me wrong I can't play anything and bitterly regret not persevering with the keyboard. At a rather older age I'm trying to learn guitar but it's hard!!

JemimaMuddledUp Sun 17-Jul-16 22:56:18

It isn't about the money though, is it?

Being able to play an instrument is a beautiful, creative thing. Persevering with learning a difficult piece teaches them life skills, and gives them a sense of achievement when they crack it. And when the world is full of teenage hormones and exam stress being able to lock yourself away and play music is a great way to unwind.

Dozer Sun 17-Jul-16 22:56:59

I would encourage it for fun, but I agree I would discourage it as a career because of what the musicians I know tell me it's like and how badly it's paid and so on!

rememberthetime Sun 17-Jul-16 22:57:32

I have one child who plays cello and one who produces dance music. We encourage them to do what they love and what they areteach good at. Why would we do anything else?

Miloarmadillo1 Sun 17-Jul-16 22:57:39

Is it only worth encouraging skills that are directly transferable to the workplace?
I am not a classical musician, were all the hours of my childhood spent making music wasted?

Enkopkaffetak Sun 17-Jul-16 22:59:06

I encourage it because my ds enjoys his music I will continue to encourage it for the time he enjoys it (he is starting GCSE's now)

DD3 I encourage it because she has one thing she is actually good at, this is not something she often gets. Dyslexia really messes her up. Music however she is good at. That is good for her mental health.

Both things for me are of far higher value than the GCSE score being 1 point higher would be.

dodobookends Sun 17-Jul-16 22:59:25

Because it is their life, and they have decided that this is what they want to do for a career, they love it and they are really good at it?

Much better to spend your working life doing something you really enjoy. Money isn't everything.

honeylulu Sun 17-Jul-16 22:59:29

I may get flamed but sometimes it seems to be a snobbish thing. My mum was adamant we should have piano lessons (and tennis lessons) regardless if the fact that I and my sibling had zero talent or enthusiasm for either, because it showed we were a "certain sort of family". I don't do either now. I don't think being forced for the sake of it helped.

Crispbutty Sun 17-Jul-16 22:59:51

The ability to play a musical instrument is enjoyable and if you are good it is a talent too. Being able to read music is also a skill that you never lose. How do you think a child will be able to compose music if they don't understand the basics?

JenniferYellowHat1980 Sun 17-Jul-16 23:00:22

I want my DCs to play instruments as much for the neurological developmental benefits as the enjoyment. I don't mind if they want to give up and certainly won't be pushing them to practise for hours a day, but I believe that roundedness has great advantages. DD does lots of sport and dance too.

ReallyTired Sun 17-Jul-16 23:03:39

Learning music opens up a whole world of social opportunities. My son has enjoyed singing in choirs and amaturer dramatics. Learning to play guitar has given him a way to relax and have fun.

There is evidence that learning a musical instrument improves academic grades. The discipline of practice show the child the link between hard work and achievement.

Why the adversion to the violin? My children have picked different instruments. Both the violin and guitar have advantages. From a musical perspective they both have transferable skills. They both offer social opportunities.

Most of us use about 5% of what we learn at school. There is no easy way to decide what is useless.

Permanentlyexhausted Sun 17-Jul-16 23:04:42

What scary and lulu said.

Is being a classical musician the only career option then? What about being a music teacher? Or having a second income stream performing in church or at weddings? Or joining a military band?

Pythonesque Sun 17-Jul-16 23:05:55

Playing music in breaks from studying can also be a very effective way to relax while letting your brain integrate what you've been working on!

angryeumigrant Sun 17-Jul-16 23:06:37

"Being able to [ ] is a beautiful, creative thing. Persevering with learning a difficult piece teaches them life skills, and gives them a sense of achievement when they crack it. And when the world is full of teenage hormones and exam stress being able to lock yourself away and [ ]is a great way to unwind."

Exactly this could be said about computer programming. However, I don't see much attention / encouragement being paid to it.

I'm not saying that it's ONLY worth encouraging skills that are directly transferable to the workplace. However, I do wonder if the British middle classes are in some kind of Victorian retro-dreamworld. Very very few of my contemporaries touched an instrument after the age of 22. I think the problem is partly that school orchestral music or solo doesn't translate that well into any post-education environment. I have one friend who is in a youth band (brasswind/woodwind) but she's been doing that completely outside of school for 20 years.

Onesieisthequeensselfie Sun 17-Jul-16 23:06:44

Agree with the opinion that classical music education is an enriching experience.

corythatwas Sun 17-Jul-16 23:08:04

Most of us do have some interests which are purely for enriching our lives and not directly linked to our money-making activities. If you have learnt to play an instrument reasonably well and read music you will enjoy the music you hear much more for the rest of your life. And it is a social asset. Sometimes having a social asset is worth money too, in terms of networking and making friends.

As for future studies, I have always found that those of my undergraduates who have reached a certain level of proficiency on an instrument tend to cope better at university than other students: they are more disciplined and quicker at learning new things and don't expect every single thing they do to be entertaining or immediately accessible. They are definitely over-represented in the Firsts I hand out.

The students who really struggle in their first year are the ones who have only wanted to learn the exact minimum that they need to get top marks, the ones who come into the lecture hall with a suspicious attitude of "I'll only learn this if you can prove to me that I'm going to need it for the exam", whose interest is in second-guessing the examiner rather than in making their mind a better skilled tool for dealing with anything that might be thrown at it.

hownottofuckup Sun 17-Jul-16 23:08:40

Playing your instrument can be an excellent way of having down time for study.
Horses for courses and and all that.
I'm not really sure what you're getting at.

Lunar1 Sun 17-Jul-16 23:09:37

Ds1 is very academic and shy, probably a bit of a sheldon. He finds it hard to talk about his feelings. But I hear them in his music when he plays piano, he's not been learning that long but loves to sit and play. Do you really not see the importance of the link between science and the arts. Without imagination and creativity we would never have evolved to where we are today, you can't invent with no imagination/passion.

corythatwas Sun 17-Jul-16 23:10:17

And I have to say that the HoD of music doesn't exactly look down at heel; I don't think he's going to be busking in the High Street any time soon.

WorraLiberty Sun 17-Jul-16 23:10:50

Exactly this could be said about computer programming. However, I don't see much attention / encouragement being paid to it.

Ahh see now I do.

Actually I see a lot of attention being paid to that sort of career.

angryeumigrant Sun 17-Jul-16 23:11:03

"All the very best classical musicians at my son's 6th form are doing brilliantly academically too."

But it's cause and effect, isn't it? Are they the best classical musicians because they are brilliant academically rather than the other way around? Most likely the same qualities contribute to them being good at both.

In Germany there is a historic woodworking tradition (think Christmas markets and wooden toys). Woodworking is seen as a proper craft/hobby for all classes in a way that it is not in Britain. (Of course, Germany is big into the classical music also - in fact the popularisation of classical music among the British middle classes owes a lot to Prince Albert and 19th century German and Jewish immigration.)

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