For our fourth blog of The Parents’ Perspective we asked for both parent and reader feedback on which topic to discuss – skipping school for the sake of music, or dealing with stage fright and nerves. Both are great (and important) topics, but we had overwhelming interest in discussing the matter of skipping school for the sake of music, so that’s what you’ll read about today. We will talk about stage fright in a later post.
Being a parent of a young musician certainly isn’t easy, especially when confronted with the choice of sending your child to school or allowing them to compete in a competition that may further their musical career. Below are opinions, personal stories, and advice from parents of From the Top alums. There are many perspectives on this subject and we hope this provokes further conversation. Please feel free to comment below and keep the dialogue going.
At Times, Skipping School Was Ok For Us
Judy Merritt (Edward Merritt, double bass, Show 100)
If either of my children had to miss school for the sake of music, I always arranged with their teachers that the children could somehow get credit for the musical work; they always were required by us (the parents) to make up tests, etc. Missing/skipping school for the sake of music was simply okay with us, so long as all responsibilities were taken care of. He missed school only a couple times a year and it always seemed to be beneficial academically and musically.
Vicky Robbins (Sean Robbins, slack key guitar, Show 210)
Whenever Sean did take time off from school, it was always for the sake of music! It may have been for a special workshop with a master teacher or to perform. Another reason he missed a day of school was to provide Arts Leadership in his community by visiting 4th grade classrooms at a local elementary school. He talked about his instrument, played and answered students’ questions. Skipping school only happens for a good musical reason and it definitely makes him a better student, musician and person.
Susie Wuest (Eric Wuest, violin, Show 030)
Skipping school was never really an issue with Eric. There were a few times Eric was excused for a local concert and there was one year when I needed to arrange for Eric to take a NYS Regent’s exam at another school so that he could start the Tanglewood summer program on time. Fortunately, school was very easy for Eric so it was not hard for him to make up anything he missed. But generally he didn’t want to miss classes.
Achieving Balance Between Academics and Music is Necessary
Emmanuel Cabezas (Gabriel Cabezas, cello, Shows 128, 155, 192, and 217)
Both my wife and I, in concurrence with Gabriel, felt strongly that both schoolwork and music-related responsibilities should be honored and completed fully to the extent of one’s ability (all this while keeping social development active).
In missing school to pursue a music opportunity, we found that Gabriel learned other valuable lessons:
- A strong relationship developed between school administrators, teachers and Gabriel concerning the matter of keeping up with learning effectively, completing assignments timely and efficiently, and enjoying the school experience socially.
- A sound understanding of responsibility and accountability became part of Gabriel’s daily life. In order to perform, he had to keep up with his school-related work; and in order to attend public school, he had to prepare for his concerts efficiently.
- Gabriel’s organizational skills strengthened acutely as time passed and he learned the skills necessary to balance the scholarly duties with the music-related requirements of his life, and to eventually unite them fully into his current endeavor: continuing to learn and perform at a music conservatory.
Skipping for the sake of music, when necessary, actually prepared Gabriel for undertaking higher education and continuing his development as an aspiring musician.
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