I love kids! I constantly work with kids but I admit that parents and their love for their kids is definitely on another incomparable level. Many of my peers now have kids and I witness how their lives revolve around their kids' schedules, moods, eating habits among other "restrictions". Of course, the joy and innocence each kid brings to the world, their parents and people around them is tremendous. Aside from when I'm teaching, I'm merely reaping all the enjoyment of being around friends' kids sans the madness of caring for them 24/7. =)
Photos from the 1st 2 sessions of Parent Workshops for TMC's Violin Academy
I have so much respect for parents - the amount of time, effort and of course money it takes to bring up children is herculean. To bear a family's burden, most families nowadays are dual income and it takes incredible amount of planning to strike a balance between parents' careers and their involvement in a child's education.
With all the above mentioned intricate balance of each family, parents' involvement in a child's music education varies. As a violin teacher, I absolutely adore working with students whose parents are positively involved, since a child's progress is always apparent.
What is being positively involved though?
Parents often put forward their best effort for their child from their own understanding of music education, in a way they think is best for their child. As music educators, we often forget that most parents have never guided a child's musical journey. We have more experience in guiding a child's musical path and it is our responsibility to guide parents as well. Parents, like our students, need guidance to understand how they can play a positive role in a child's music education.
Often, parents may have wildly misconstrued ideas and warped mentality about music education which may become obstacles to a child's music education. They may have been mis-guided by information they have read online, peer influence from other parents or even their own musical environment. Even if I do not agree occasionally with parents' perspective of music education, I believe strongly that parents are doing what they think is best for their child and try my best to guide and work with parents towards a path I feel will be beneficial for their child. As much as parents are capable of being a hindrance, they can conversely be incredible enablers.
I've come to learn that mutual trust between parents and teacher is so important, as both parties support a child's musical journey. After working with parents over the years, I've learnt so much from them about child-rearing, and struggles of practicing at home I would not have otherwise understood, not being a parent myself. Communication with parents have definitely enabled me to understand how to help new parents guide their child at home.
Recently alongside the Violin Academy I run at The Music Circle (TMC), I've started parent workshops and worked with parents to guide them through this journey so that they may be positively involved. These workshops are aimed at creating a parent community, equipping parents with tools for them to aid a child's practice routines as well as ability to recognise a child's musical progress. I've enjoyed sharing with parents at these workshops, the enthusiastic participation of parents and
have also learnt a lot about their children through these sessions as well.
Since starting to teach 14 years ago, I've been thinking a lot about pedagogy from different perspectives. To share more of these thoughts, I'm also starting a segment on this blog "Pondering Pedagogy"! More soon...