Updated: Dec 9, 2020
If you're like me, you would have harboured many an aspirational thought when deciding that your child would embark on music lessons. He would develop new skills and discipline. He would bring joy to others through the gift of music. She would have fun learning and playing music with friends. We would bond through music. Most of all, learning music would nurture a beautiful heart in our child.
All these aspirations still hold true. And for most part of our family's musical journey, it is fun, enjoyable and immensely rewarding to experience your child playing music.
Yet, I know that there are times when you ask yourself: What is my role as a practice parent? Why does my child not want to practice? How do I make him practise? Am I failing in making practice fun for my child? Why is her progress so slow? Did she do enough? Should I insist on more practice? Am I too strict? Am I too lax? Why am I feeling so frustrated? Why am I yelling so much when learning music is supposed to be enjoyable? Is it just me who feels this way?
In short: Why is this so hard?
It is hard precisely because you are not dropping out from this effort of building noble hearts. It is hard because you want to be involved and be a part of your child's journey - and it is your journey as much as it is theirs.
As parents, we want to - and feel that we need to - continuously pour into our children. Pouring yourself into others can be exhausting. Not just for the parent expending the energy, but also for the child who is on the receiving end of any energy that is less-than-positive.
To borrow an idea by motivational author James Clear, Parents Can Coach looks at learning from music teachers and experienced parents on how to channel our energy into working on high-leverage tasks instead of low-leverage ones. Expending effort in getting your child to obey your instruction to "GO PRACTISE NOW" is a low-leverage task. Investing the same amount of effort in figuring out how to develop the intrinsic motivation in your child to practise is a high-leverage task. As James Clear explains, "Many people work hard, but few people work on the highest and best thing."
When working with our child, what is the highest and best thing?
Is it to incessantly police him to make sure that he completes a task?
Or is it to help him in developing the maturity to know when and how to get it done?
Do we value her absolute obedience in practising at the piano for 30 minutes because you said so? Or do we value her self-direction in being able to plan for and execute an efficient practice session even if it's 10 minutes short of what you had in mind?
Hence, Parents Can Coach is born out of the desire to empower parents to:
Set our child up for success
Make our home an environment for positive change
Grow in our own parenting journey
Dale, Yvette and I have walked this path - and are continuing to walk it with all students, parents and families at Nurture With Love. While they both teach music professionally and I do not, I have been a Suzuki parent for almost as long as I have been a parent. Having been immersed in the Suzuki approach to early childhood education and to learning music for close to 9 years, I believe that 9 years is a very long period of time to be thinking about this one topic - nurturing my child's best through music education. It is perhaps the result of so much thinking about this topic continually for so many years that the solutions to many of the challenges in my musical and parenting journey - past, present and anticipated in the very-soon future of the tween years - are now occurring at this point in time. I hope that this accumulation of modest insights will prove itself as the expertise on which Parents Can Coach is built.
We know that while having our child learn music has its many joyful moments, the journey also brings with it many challenging times. Our vision for Parents Can Coach is that of a community of Parents working in partnership with Teachers to nurture the best ability in our Children.
Parents Can Coach will be the platform and the community that will address the areas of:
Knowing why we are here
Defining home practice
Employing practice strategies
Creating the desired environment for growth
Tracking progress and celebrating success
Growing positive mindset, relationships and habits
Managing and sustaining positive change
... plus many more areas of parental growth, all through the medium of music.
As a member of Parents Can Coach, you will get knowledge, insights, techniques and tools to support you as your child learns music with Nurture With Love. These resources come from a global community of professional music teachers whose teaching philosophies align with that of Dale and Yvette - both within and beyond the realm of the Suzuki approach. They also come from my lessons and experience gained from my own journey as a music student (as a child and as an adult learner) and a practising parent, with personal insights and fresh perspectives and ideas culled from plugging into parent-teacher learning networks whose memberships span from around the world.
Dear parents, we created this for you.
We want you to feel confident and competent.
We want you to feel appreciated.
We want you to know that all this is worthwhile because your child is accomplishing something beyond learning music.
Families quit when situations get hard for the parent. Not when things get hard for the child.
We want to help parents thrive so that you can help your children grow.
You are a Suzuki parent because you believe that Every Child Can Learn.
Now come along with us and believe that Every Parent Can Too.
"Create conditions that make success inevitable." - Benjamin Hardy
By holding up the flashlight for one another, we will.