Yesterday, I tweeted a NY Times article about over scheduled children. It highlights the unsubstantiated idea that children have to be involved in lots and lots of activities in order to be a well-rounded person. Sadly, the only reason some parents insist on their child being involved in so many activities has more to do with the their sense this will increase their child’s odds for admission to the college of her choice and not because they see these activities helping their daughter find her passion. (I have some pretty strong opinions on this topic, which I hope to write about in a future post.)
Today, I read a NY Times article Is Music the Key to Success? about the number of people who have found professional success and share a common descriptor – accomplished musician. The author, Joanne Lipman interviews a number of people who attribute the creativity, collaboration, listening, and self-discipline they use in their jobs as characteristics they developed as musicians. It’s important to note that those Lipman references in her article would be considered successful by most parents’ standards – Allen Greenspan, Woody Allen, James Wolfensohn, Roger McNamee and Condoleezza Rice. There is no way these people would have been able to perform at Carnegie Hall or earn a degree in music if they did not devote two to four hours a day practicing their instrument. You cannot practice that much and be a part of travel sports teams, lead the student government, start a business, and volunteer five hours a week.
I hope that parents, educators and college admission officers read this article and engage the children in their lives in a conversation about finding your passion. And it wouldn’t hurt for music teachers to turn up the volume on the conversation about all of the “marketable” skills one develops from making music.