what’s the ultimate reason ?

said: Mar 20, 2007
 56 posts

Hi all,

my suzuki teacher has been asking me what is my ultimate reason for sending my kid to suzuki violin ?

recently i read a thread on violinist.com forum, where one person asked what is the pt of having so many people pursuing a music education where there are not enough jobs for musicians ? Not everyone can become a Yo-Yo Ma or a Joshua Bell.

i put these 2 qns together to myself and seriously pondered over them…

am I wasting my kid’s time ? am I leading my child to a music education where she/he may not be able to use it as a career ?

Prof Suzuki was upset when a parent asked him “Will my child become something?” He was upset because the parent seemed to debase the whole objective of a musical education. I do Prof Suzuki’s method is a whole child philosophy and the kid will be benefitting from the method which teaches us discipline, etc etc, and that we should not look at it from a mercenary view.

These are conflicting thoughts running thru my mind now, and I wonder if any parent has honestly asked these qns to himself/herself ? and how did you come to a conclusion ?

Talent is not born, but created

Connie Sunday said: Mar 21, 2007
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

I’ll try to tackle this, because it’s a good question. If I understand you correctly, what you’re asking is, what’s the point of studying music if the student does not become a high-level professional.

I have some responses to this sort of inquiry on the Violin FAQ:

What are some of the advantages of studying music
http://beststudentviolins.com/PedagogyTech.html#20

I should add that it is true, both that most music students will not become internationally famous artists, and also that most music students, even at the university level, will not earn positions in major orchestras. It doesn’t follow, however, that people should stop studying music.

I think it’s accurate to say that most people who love music—and those who earn a living in music—do it by a combination of teaching, free-lancing, and/or “other” jobs. You might want to read through the “Auditons and Gigs” section of the Violn/Viola FAQ at:

http://beststudentviolins.com/AuditionsGigs.html#4

…particularly the ICSOM Statistics section:

http://beststudentviolins.com/AuditionsGigs.html#4

Steve Ledbetter, who is an eminent music critic (worked for the Boston Symphony for 20 years), wrote to the issue of “Regarding careers alternative to getting a “major” orchestra job” at:

http://beststudentviolins.com/careers.html

The music world is very broad, and there is a place for anyone who loves music. In terms of teaching, several years ago, ASTA (American String Teachers Association) presented an article, stating that there were 60,000 unfilled string teaching jobs in the US. So there are jobs—and I would venture to guess that the majority of string teachers supplement their incomes by free-lancing.

I have done this for more than 30 years— all my adult life—with great pleasure and success. I highly recommend it.

Hope this helps,
Connie

Free Handouts for Music Teachers & Students:
http://beststudentviolins.com/library.html#handouts

said: Mar 21, 2007
 56 posts

Yes Connie, that was exactly what my qn was. Thanks for the links.

I’m not too sure how things will work out in future for my kid. But i’ll be happy that at least, she learns to appreciate good music and learns about hard work and discipline in all that she does.

Just that sometimes in the thick of things, when suddenly one loses perspective, it is a timely thing to sit back and ponder over what one is doing.

Thanks for your help !

For the moment, I’ll just let my kid(and myself too) enjoy the violin and see where the music falls…

Talent is not born, but created

Connie Sunday said: Mar 21, 2007
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

zaachaeus

For the moment, I’ll just let my kid(and myself too) enjoy the violin and see where the music falls…

You’re welcome. Yeah, I just think it’s incredibly worthwhile for children to do music. It gives them something so useful to learn, so good for their little brains, so uplifting in terms of their intelligence and spirit. It puts them in touch with all of human history, and lets them know in a very deep and genuine way, that they can accomplish great things.

I can’t think of anything better for a child to do!!

Hugs,
Connie

Free Handouts for Music Teachers & Students:
http://beststudentviolins.com/library.html#handouts

Eve Weiss said: Mar 21, 2007
 
Suzuki Association Member
Guitar
16 posts

Perhaps another way to reduce the drive for career outcomes is to compare it to math in school. Most children will not become mathematicians but we do not let them stop classes or homework and we expect it to play a role in their lives (even with calculators and computers). Most Suzuki kids will not become musicians but the soft skills and the love of the arts will play a role in their lives.

said: Mar 21, 2007
 19 posts

Just wanted to add my own thoughts to Zaachaeus’ great question… I’ve been in music my whole life (Suzuki kid growing up, now a Suzuki teacher), and I’m nowhere close to being at the “concert performer level”. But music has enriched my life in the deepest ways imaginable—not just in being able to play it, but in being able to love it and understand it.

On the “monetary” side of things, it’s not the most lucrative thing in the world, but freelancing as a pianist & violinist is one of my favorite things to do. I love going out to play as background music for parties, weddings, etc. I also love my (3rd) job as a church pianist. It opens another whole world of fun!

I am SO GLAD that my parents never “let me quit” through any of the difficult years! They always told me that music lessons were for “brain development” and it was part of a classical education. Today, music is joy to my life! And I’ve made some lifelong friends in the process of studying it.

said: Mar 22, 2007
 56 posts

Hi all,

I couldn’t help but agree with you.

By the way, I have never seen any violinist accompanying church worship service !?! anyway, not yet in my church. :D

Talent is not born, but created

Jennifer Visick said: Mar 23, 2007
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
998 posts

I play viola at my church’s worship services on a semi-regular basis (not every week).

String instruments (with bows) are not as common as pianos or guitars or choirs in most religious services I’ve attended. However, it is common to see quartets or very small orchestras as special accompaniement during major religious holidays, or to see string soloists as special music during a service. If your church doesn’t do it, perhaps you should talk to the music director and ask if it would be a possibility sometime in the future…..

Connie Sunday said: Mar 23, 2007
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

zaachaeus

I have never seen any violinist accompanying church worship service !?! anyway, not yet in my church. 8D

Yes, but many large churches hire orchestras for holiday programs, Christmas and Easter. Sometimes these are recorded and aired on television. The services run as many as 10 or 15 and the check is $1,000 or more, double that if you’re the contracter. I’ve done this hundreds of times.

Free Handouts for Music Teachers & Students:
http://beststudentviolins.com/library.html#handouts

said: Mar 23, 2007
 104 posts

I’d have a lot to say about this subject if I had a little bit more time—but I have asked myself many of these same questions. I spend a lot of time and money educating my three children on multiple instruments and these questions naturally do come up. I’d have to side with those who say that music has intrinsic value. One of my daughters plays the harp—a hugely impractical undertaking, expensive, difficult to move, etc. etc. But if the only “result” that comes out of it is that she someday plays lullabies for her own children on the hapr, I will consider it a worthwhile undertaking.

By the way, my children DO play their violins in church services—(two in Book 3, one in Book 5). They play intros and solos with piano accompaniment and alongside the choir. Ask your music director—if they know you have an instrument and you have some skills, they will do their best to utilize your talents. We’ve also seen a cello incorporated into our services.

Heidi said: Mar 24, 2007
 Violin
33 posts

I’m not so sure that Suzuki thought of raising children to become professional musicians (playing for money). Suzuki stated that it was about bringing up noble human beings. We are teaching children skills in areas of paying attention, memorization, concentration, group interaction, doing something EVERY day, being able to stick to it when it is hard, etc. These skills are directly applicable in all other areas of life. Becoming a proficient musician is almost secondary to the major skills gained in a Suzuki education. I would think that you could adapt the philosophy to other areas such as sports, math, reading, and other school subjects. Maybe these young musicians are learning skills that would be very helpful for the next generation of heart surgeons or business CEOs or philanthropists. I hope they are supportive of me when I need them later on in life.

Jennifer Visick said: Mar 25, 2007
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
998 posts

true, the whole idea is that music, should be like language: everyone hears it, everyone produces it, and a few make it their vocation and specialty to write or speak publicly and they make money off of it….

but you never hear anyone suggest that we ought not to teach language because there really aren’t enough spots in the writing or speaking or language-teaching profession to warrant teaching all these younguns how to read and write and speak and craft a clear sentence or two!

Kirsten said: Mar 30, 2007
 Violin
103 posts

A great concert violinist said in an interview once that he had the greatest respect for the amateur musician. The root of the word “amateur” is the latin “amator” or “lover.” To do something for the love of it is such a great thing, whether you happen to get money in the process or not.

I think it would be a good goal to hope that your child or your student becomes a happy amateur musician. That dream is reasonable, and does not of course exclude a degree in music or a career in music. It also lets us enjoy the icing on the cake, which is better coordination, concentration, memory and the like.

Kirsten

Connie Sunday said: Mar 30, 2007
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

Kirsten

A great concert violinist said in an interview once that he had the greatest respect for the amateur musician.

That was Menuhin (BTW).

Free Handouts for Music Teachers & Students:
http://beststudentviolins.com/library.html#handouts

Elizabeth Kathleen Gassler said: Apr 9, 2007
 Cello
4 posts

I know I’m a teacher/student posting on a parents’ thread, but I feel very inclined to do so for this topic.

My parents enrolled me in our local Suzuki program simply because they wanted my brothers and me to have a way to communicate with the world around us through another language. My mom, also a musician, knew that even if none of us became professional musicians, we would still always have the ability to make something beautiful through music.

When I was applying to colleges, I asked myself countless times whether music was the right career for me. I decided it was. But if I hadn’t, I would still never regret spending countless hours practicing; attending rehearsals, clinics, etc; or going through the stress of auditions. Through music, I learned how discipline and hard work pay off. I made so many close friends who still mean the world to me now that I’ve graduated and moved away. I learned life lessons through studying cello and matured in ways that are probably impossible without devoting yourself to something like I did.

As everyone has said before me, Dr. Suzuki did not wish to train an army of future professional violinists (or cellists, or violists, etc.), but he wished to help turn children into noble human beings.

Try viewing violin lessons as a way for you and your child to bond. Realize that you are giving her an outlet to express herself and to learn the satisfaction of hard work paid off.

If she does not become a professional, so what? If she quits in two months, it doesn’t matter. The time you’re spending with her right now, loving and nurturing her, is something that will stay with her and you forever, regardless of her career choice.

said: May 3, 2007
 56 posts

Dear all,

many thanks for each of your thoughtful replies, as I re-read this thread again and looking back at time spent in this program, the initial tears and frustrations start coming back to my mind, but its all very very worthwhile.

Now as my kid plays Allegro, with her fingers moving rapidly on the fingerboard and bowing perfectly(well, almost)…it doesn’t matter what she becomes in future, just praying that she will always have music in her heart, and yes,….to be a noble person. That has to be the answer.

God bless you all !

Talent is not born, but created

Carl said: May 7, 2007
 11 posts

Saw the thread and had to weigh in—hopefully zaaccheus will notice. :)

In our case, our daughter at age 5 begged us to play violin. We realized she was serious and happened to find a Suzuki teacher on a referral without knowing she was a Suzuki teacher. It was among the best “accidents” we ever had. Our daughter is just about 12 now. Despite being born with a 25% hearing loss, with God’s help and a good pair of hearing aids she now sits on the verge of Book 7 and is concertmaster of her youth orchestra. She loves music and wants to be a violin teacher. And she is becoming a fine young woman.

So our “ultimate reason” was that we simply listened to our child’s sincere desire and gave her a shot at it. Had we known of the Suzuki method beforehand, I think we still would have gone with it. It has been wonderful for our daughter and the teachers in her academy are all great examples of caring people.

I have to observe how many kids are in soccer leagues or other sports, which can cost considerable money—and how many of them will be a superstar? The superstars are there to inspire us on a general level, and they are great fun to watch as they do their thing. I think the real superstars, though, are individuals who work with individuals, helping them become wholler, and holier, human beings. If you give your kids music lessons, you are filling their need for creative expression, which all human beings share. You are shaping music appreciators who will support the fine arts and ensure their continued place in our society. And you are helping kids experience one-on-one time with a mentor which they will remember and perhaps one day return to someone else.

Enjoy the ride, zaacheus!

said: May 13, 2007
 56 posts

Thanks Clspang for sharing your story, its very inspiring. Glad to find so many like-minded parents and teachers in this forum who seek to learn music for non-monetary reasons.

I also had the good fortune recently, to catch a TV documentary of a young korean lady who only has 2 fingers on each hand, and stumps for her legs. Yet she overcame her disability and learnt to play the piano very very well. But I didn’t catch her name or other details, has anyone come across this documentary as well ?

Talent is not born, but created

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