Monday, December 10, 2012

Do your child's music lessons make you a Tiger Mom?

This woman blames her ruined marriage on an overbearing mom who forced her to practice eight hours daily on the violin.She got married to get away from her stage mom. 
At 17, I received a proposal. I accepted. I fooled myself into thinking I was in love. In retrospect, it gave me a way out from my domineering mother.
After graduation, my fiancé enrolled at the Merchant Marine Academy at Flushing, Long Island for Officers School. This kept him out of the draft. We often talked on the phone. And we decided we couldn't wait another year for his graduation to get married. So, with little prodding, Mother agreed to a September wedding in New York.
I left the violin behind me and never looked back. Almost from the beginning, our marriage was doomed. I was way too young and used this fine young man for my freedom. We failed to conceive a child and divorced in five years. He married again and had a long marriage.

Read more here:

  I enjoyed playing the violin as concertmaster of the elementary school orchestra in sixth grade. Then my music teacher recommended a tutor, and the nice one, Miss Clarke, the one who cracked jokes,  was busy, so my parents picked a Korean lady who never made her debut in Carnegie Hall, and was determined that I was going to do that for her.She lectured me about walking to school through the rice paddies (no newspapers for shoes but yes it was uphill both ways) to school and how lazy Americans were. I hated the lessons. She terrified me. 
My entire life revolved around my miserable lesson on Tuesdays at 4:15 (nearly half a century ago, but I still remember the time!), the dreaded lesson when she would hit the music stand with the baton in front of my nose and scold me, "Leticia you must practice, practice!"I could never practice enough to please her, so I quit amid protests from my parents, and delayed playing for the junior high orchestra where she conducted out of fear. I never made it back into the mainstream of the orchestra in high school and only play sporadically today. I wasn't as gifted as the young lady in the story, but I know how it feels to have pressure and hate it. Did it keep me from Carnegie Hall? I doubt it. But I might have enjoyed high school orchestra more if I felt equal to the other players, we had the same conductor who believed in me in elementary school. I am not permanently scarred but I vowed not to push my girls as hard as I was pushed. I was also a straight A student and first class nerd. 
 Lesson here, after a year of getting the hang of practicing and making enough progress on the instrument to have one recital, if the child hates the tutor or the instrument, its time to let them make the decision, because its possible that you are making them play for yourself, and your ego. Its about them, right?
I gave piano lessons to Bella and guitar to Gabbi. I encouraged a reasonable practice time. Bella loves to play piano, writes her own compositions, and each time we move she seeks a new tutor, while Gabbi has decided not to play at this time and is in college. I try and encourage Bella's gift for music,  without injecting my personal sense of pride. We had relatives over on Saturday, and she happily played for them. 
 I think we have found the middle ground. 

Bookmark and Share

No comments: