This book of parent-to-parent advice aims to encourage, support, and bolster the morale of one of music's most important back-up sections: music parents. Within these pages, more than 150 veteran music parents contribute their experiences, reflections, warnings, and helpful suggestions for how to walk the music-parenting tightrope: how to be supportive but not overbearing, and how to encourage excellence without becoming bogged down in frustration. Among those
offering advice are the parents of several top musicians, including the mother of violinist Joshua Bell, the father of trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, the parents of cellist Alisa Weilerstein, and those of violinist Anne Akiko Meyers. The book also features advice from music educators and more than forty
professional musicians, including Paula Robison, Sarah Chang, Anthony McGill, Jennifer Koh, Jonathan Biss, Toyin Spellman-Diaz, Marin Alsop, Christian McBride, Miguel Zenon, Stephanie Blythe, Lawrence Brownlee, and Kelli O'Hara. The topics they discuss span a wide range of issues faced by the parents of both instrumentalists and singers, from how to get started to encouraging effective practice habits, to how to weather the rough spots, cope with the cost of music training, deal with college
and career concerns, and help young musicians discover the role that music can play in their lives. The parents who speak here reach a unanimous and overwhelming conclusion that music parenting is well worth the effort, and the experiences that come with it - everything from flying to New York on the
weekends to searching a flute convention for the perfect instrument - enrich family life with a unique joy in music.
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Amy Nathan is an award-winning author whose previous books include The Young Musician's Survival Guide, Meet the Musicians, Yankee Doodle Gals, and Round and Round Together. A Harvard graduate with master's degrees from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Columbia's Teachers College, she is the mother of two musical sons: one a composer, the other a saxophone-playing political scientist.
Chapter 1: Parent-to-Parent-The Conversation Begins ; Team of Advisors ; Profile of the Advice Panel ; A Different Kind of Advice Book ; Chapter 2: Music Parenting-the Why's and Worth of It ; "Opened Up a Vast New World" ; Strengthening Ties to Family and Friends ; Building Life Skills ; Music's Impact on the Brain and Learning ; Good for All? ; Shifting Goals ; Chapter 3: Starting a Child's Musical Journey ; Picking Up on the Clues ; Kids Make the Call ; The "Just Because" Approach ; The Age Story ; Age Guidelines for Starting Instruments ; Music-and-Movement Classes ; Suzuki Instruction ; El Sistema Programs ; Music-Friendly Households ; More Than Music ; Chapter 4: Helping Kids Choose an Instrument ; Picking and Switching ; The "Petting Zoo" Approach ; Piano Power ; The Singing Advantage ; Sibling Issues ; Multi-Taskers ; Other Issues to Keep in Mind ; Instrument Shopping ; Finding Financial Help ; High-End Loaners ; Shopping Tips ; Bold Choices ; Chapter 5: Finding Teachers ; The All-Important First Teacher ; Having a Private Teacher-or Not ; The Independent Teacher Option ; The Music School Route ; Meet and Greet ; Teacher Switching ; Listen Up ; Switching Etiquette ; Sitting In On Lessons-or Not ; Injury Watch ; Special Needs-Special Planning ; Cost Concerns ; More Teacher-Search Strategies ; Chapter 6: On Singing ; The Anatomy of the Voice Lesson Debate ; Late-Start Advocates ; Early-Start Advocates ; The Middle View ; Common Ground ; The Choral Advantage ; The Instrument Advantage ; Finding Voice Teachers ; Warning Signs of Vocal Stress ; Switching Up ; Cross-Genre Singing ; Delivering a Song ; Different Timelines ; Chapter 7: Dealing with Time Issues in Practicing ; Many Routes to Regular Practice ; First Step: Understanding Why ; Getting to Regular ; Let Kids Take Responsibility ; How Long to Practice ; Using Rewards-or Not ; The Ten-Minute Plan ; Finessing the Schedule ; Positive Peer Pressure ; Ensemble Volunteering ; Summer Programs as Practice Boosters ; Growing Into It ; A Gift ; Chapter 8: Fine-Tuning the Parent's Practice Role ; It's Not Easy Being a Highwire Artist ; "An Outside Pair of Eyes" ; A Fun Start ; More Ways to Liven It Up ; Play Around ; The No-Nonsense Approach ; What to Say-or Not-as a Practice Coach ; Targeted Comments ; Different Kids-Different Strategies ; Practice-Not Just a Run-Through ; An Assist from Technology ; Going Solo ; Listening Counts ; Role Models ; Being There ; Chapter 9: Managing the Ups and Downs ; "They'll Thank You" ; Strike a Deal ; Give Them a Break ; Change the Music ; Quadruple Play ; Help with Plateau-ing ; Make It Social ; Go to Concerts ; Sports Issues ; Lessen Perfectionism ; Performance Jitters ; Curve Balls ; Letting Go ; Chapter 10: Getting Serious ; A Different Stage of Learning ; The Pre-college Option ; Performing Arts Schools ; Summer Networking ; Stepping Up the Effort ; Academic Choices ; Home- and Cyber-Schooling ; Keeping Future Options Open ; To Lighten Up on Academics-or Not ; Cutting Back on Extras-or Not ; About Competitions ; The Upsides of Competitions ; The Downsides ; Competition Coping ; Wide-Ranging Exploration ; Composition Experience ; Going Pro-or Not ; Tips for Going Pro ; Sibling Strain ; Chapter 11: College and Career Concerns ; First, the Worries ; The Teaching Anchor ; Planning for "Plan B" ; A Rundown of the Choices ; Researching the Options ; Choosing a Conservatory ; Choosing a University-based Conservatory ; Choosing the College Route ; The Dual Degree Option ; Hit the Road-or Not ; Financial Aid ; Audition Advice ; Creating Opportunities ; Beyond Performing ; Spare-Timers ; College Wrap-up ; Chapter 12: Moving On ; Seeds Sown ; New Roles ; End Notes ; Bibliography ; Resources ; About the Advice Panel ; Author's Note ; Acknowledgments and Credits
. . . any music parent will find stories and advice that will resonate with them in this book. The sidebars and stories from professional musicians were particularly delightful . . . could also be considered essential reading for any music teacher. . . So whether you are a music parent (struggling or otherwise) or an educator who has found oneself counseling a frustrated music parent, this book is worthy of a place on your bookshelf! * American Music Teacher * ...shares the experiences, reflections, warnings, and helpful suggestions of more than 150 verteran music parents. * Radcliffe Magazine * An engaging read and will be of benefit to current and future music parents... a great source of information for teachers. * The Instrumentalist * I'm thrilled that Amy Nathan has provided such an encyclopedic guide. Now I can refer the parents who ask me about starting their kids in music to this thoughtful, balanced conversation among so many parents who have been there. * Theodore Wiprud, Vice President of Education, the Sue B. Mercy Chair, New York Philharmonic * An important read for every family engaged in music studies: a delightful collection of ideas and moving accounts from loving, dedicated parents. * Aaron P. Dworkin, Founder and President, The Sphinx Organization *
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