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The Music Teacher Mom

Last summer, I taught voice lessons in a summer performing arts program facilitated by our school district. Just about everything I’ve seen of this organization impresses me, particularly the focus on making the experience available to the broadest possible array of students. So, naturally, I was excited when my own daughter had the opportunity to participate in the weeklong exploratory music camp for pre-K kiddos.

We called it “Music Class” and it was the first time we had tried something like this. Our kiddo has been in daycare and Sunday school almost from birth AND she’s incredibly social, so I anticipated a great new experience for her. She was a bit uncertain 3 of the 5 days when I dropped her off, but each day she came out of class with a huge smile on her face - it was clear she’d had a great time.

And then, as with all kids’ music programs, there was a performance. I happened to see and talk to her and the other kids as I entered the auditorium, but when they entered a few minutes later my daughter couldn’t see me ... so by the time they were on stage, she had pretty much shut down.

She stood. Completely. Still. And let me be clear - my kid NEVER stands still. About halfway through the second song, she walked to one of the teachers on stage. Bless that gal, she held my daughter’s hand for probably the next 3 songs, encouraging her to participate and do all of the fun things she’d been doing in class the rest of the week.

As I watched my daughter basically freeze onstage, my own feelings were hurt. I am a music teacher, and my own kid had no desire to participate in music! I know, I know, there are several extenuating factors in this scenario, none of which are actually related to music ... and yet I couldn’t stop myself from feeling legitimately frustrated, almost offended. Which is ridiculous, because she’s 3 and she was scared and she didn’t know what to do about it.

I have NO DESIRE to be the parent who assumes that my kid will follow in my footsteps as far as activities, extracurriculars, etc. I never want to force an activity on her and I never want to assume she possesses a talent that she ... maybe doesn’t. Both my husband and I want to be on the lookout for her natural tendencies, her predilections, her potential passions, and then encourage those.

(She will, of course, take a good 1-2 years of piano lessons, because it’s good for her. Some things just can’t be argued. #sorrynotsorry)

Sooooooooooo. Even though, like I said, my daughter’s stage letdown may have zero relationship to her enjoyment of music, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to at least *consider* the possibility that my daughter’s path may be different from mine. Because that’s not a bad thing - she is a unique person, an individual comprised of her father and me but completely her own self. Here’s to looking for the new things.

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