The world needs musicians, and musicians can get their start early (hint, hint). To do many things in the world as a professional musician, it’s often beneficial to continue music study past Kindermusik and into the higher ed realm. But many parents get scared when their son or daughter tells them, “Mom, Dad…I want to be a music major.”
“A music major! How will you live? How will you pay your bills?!”
Well – I’m here to tell you it is possible to have a rewarding career as a musician. And I’m not the only one. Here is a list from Liz Ryan over at Forbes.com (I know, right? I was surprised, too!) detailing why you should let your child take the leap and major in music.
1. Musical Kids are Hardy!
They get that way sitting on a freezing bus at five in the morning going to a band or orchestra competition. They practice for countless hours. They compete, lose, compete, win and then compete and lose again. You think your hardy kid is going to be daunted by a tough job market?
2. Musical Kids Know about Focus
They know about giving up good things (time hanging out with their friends or playing video games, e.g.) to reach their longer-term goals. A kid who is good enough to get into music school and get through it will have no trouble reaching their other goals, whether they want to run a bank one day or create a whole new musical genre. Support their goals — then stand back and watch them surpass them!
*We talk about this all the time here at Kindermusik. Music does great things for the brain.
3. Find an Affordable Program and Reduce Student Debt
If you choose a program that you can afford without student loans, your child will have incurred no risk in pursuing their musical passion. If your child wants to work for a multinational corporation upon graduation or at any point in their career, they will get hired fast. Corporations know how smart and capable musical kids are.
*Music majors are often recruited by non-music businesses for their resourcefulness and problem-solving chops!
4. Worried About Partying in College? A Music Major Ain’t Got Time for That!
If you worry about child being overwhelmed by the freedom and the social norms at college — too much partying, for instance —definitely let them major in music! They won’t have enough spare time to go off the rails.
*Music Education is probably the most course intensive major one can choose. While your child’s friends are taking four or maybe five classes a semester, your music major kid will have nine classes! It certainly helps teach them time management.
5. Music Instruction is All about Patience and Listening
Over and over, music students are told “Listen to your tone. Listen to this phrasing. Is that what you’re going for?” They know how to tune in. They know how to make course corrections. If the kid doesn’t land a plum job working for a symphony orchestra straight out of school —and they won’t — they know how to put one foot in front of the other and keep walking.
*Also, if you want your son or daughter to increase their level of self-awareness, let them study music!
6. Music Makes Mettle
The real world favors confidence, tenacity and an entrepreneurial outlook — three things every music student cultivates.
*Music majors are constantly being assessed. At the end of each semester, they perform in front of a panel of professors – called a jury – to hopefully demonstrate growth. To receive this type of direct feedback helps them build up a pretty thick skin.
7. Music Kids are Scrappy
They know how to improvise when they forget notes, forget a piece of concert attire or lose a page from their sheet music. Managing a career these days is all about improvisation. That is something all of us could learn from music students!
*Musicians have to develop an entrepreneurial spirit. This gets flamed during the crucible of a collegiate education in music.
8. Musicians Can Make A Living
It is insulting to tell your child “Being a musician is a sure path to poverty.” Some musicians are poor, and others are fabulously wealthy. Some musicians are unhappy, but so are vast hordes of cubicle dwellers. Let your kid figure out their own path to a happy, successful life that never puts a lower value on their health and happiness than on their financial well-being.
*Berkley often publishes a list of music careers and salary ranges. Check it out! Any of my former students who developed a strong work ethic and were willing to move where there was work are working musicians, making a living.
9. Be the Proud Parent!
When your daughter auditions, your heart will burst with pride. The love and anxiety parents feel as they stand outside a closed audition room listening through the door and praying for their child is a mighty force. When your daughter gets her acceptance letter, you will marvel at the fact that you raised a musician with the talent and proficiency to study under master teachers.
*You’ve possibly already experienced this to some degree when you see your little one open up at a Kindermusik class – come out of her shell and interact with other kids and other adults. You’ve seen the smile on his face as he sings a song or dances with a scarf. Multiply that by a billion when their musical ability blossoms!
10. College-Level Training is a Completely Different Animal
When your daughter comes home on her first break you will be struck by the improvement in her playing. You will see her maturing before your eyes — stepping into her power as a performer and a person making a mark on the planet. You can’t do better for your child than to encourage her in that journey.
Don’t Be Scared…
It’s possible your little one will enjoy the life-altering benefits of Kindermusik and grow up to be someone who takes part in musical activities avocationally. Perhaps they will support local musical organizations or sing in a community choir.
Maybe your daughter might sit you down after dinner one night and break the news. She wants to be a music teacher. Perhaps your son will turn to you while driving to practice and say, “I want to be a music therapist” or “I think I would like to play in a symphony orchestra.”
Don’t be scared. We need them to do those things. We need beauty in our lives and they have the potential to bring it to us through music.
Embrace it. Support them. With the right attitude and work ethic, they can do it. I just know it. And if you think it’s too early to dream about these types of things…blink. They’ll be in high school in 5, 4, 3, 2…