Why is it?

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Why is it that it is so tough to get kids to play music?  I am not talking about just getting a good tone, or play in tune.  I mean, why do they struggle to be sensitive to music and phrases and melody, and accompaniment?  I struggle with this.  I am lucky.  I get to work with a fantastic group of young brass and percussion players.  They are for better or for worse, the best we have in this area as far as talent is concerned.  So, we are not talking about kids struggling to get notes out of the horn.  They are closer to being accomplished players than beginners to be sure.  So, why is it so tough for them to play musically?  Why is their attention to detail with music style so poor?  Don’t get me started on this.

  • Are we using music to teach the things we think will be beneficial to them?
  • Have we turned learning music into a task oriented activity?
  • Are students learning how to think creatively or emotionally?
  • Are we getting students to find passion in artistic music?
  • Is our band training system failing?

I have my theories about the answers to these questions.  I think about them all of the time.  My brass band is designed to be a supplement to the school band experience, and too often I am thinking that it is the only place where that list of questions above is being answered in the positive.  Am I in this alone?

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