April 4, 2015

Growing Strong Children Through Music

Sometimes parents can over-protect their children. They may be afraid of life’s difficulties, and want to shield their children from such dangers. Or parents might under-value their children’s own capabilities. Tomoko asserts, “But kids are strong,” and she shares her thoughts about helping children become strong individuals.

“I sometimes see children come to my studio who are shy or scared,” Tomoko admits, “but I help them find their inner strength.” She will say to them, “Don’t you think you are as good as your peers?” She says as evidence, “They end up doing find when they perform.”

On the other hand, sometimes a child – or the parent – wants to choose a masterful piece of music, such as a Liszt concerto. They want the status of playing such a composition, but it might not be appropriate at their stage of development. “Their motivation may be to show off,” says Tomoko, “but they will be miserable.” Instead, Tomoko asks the student to try it for themselves. “Then they recognize for themselves what is really involved.” If they really want to put in the effort, Tomoko tells them, “I will prepare this piece for you.” Tomoko explains each part, and then they agree on doing the hard work together.

“It’s important to help young people keep their confidence.” Tomoko goes on to day, “If a piece is 35% challenge, that is OK. 90% challenge is not good.”  If a child ‘folds’ from too much of a challenge, then it is wise to stop and choose another piece.” Tomoko says, “The important thing is to keep running, to keep playing and concentrating and learning.” This coping skill is just another way that Tomoko helps the child grow strong: through a balance of support and challenge.  

Tomoko concludes, “And when students succeed through their own hard efforts, they are so proud of themselves.”

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