So What Is New With The Tiger Mom?
As I wrote in the first article, the Tiger Mom's second daughter Lulu, quit the violin because of the rigorous practice regimen that her mother forced her to follow. What the Tiger Mom said in the interview was that Lulu recently went back to the violin! It happened sometime after she finished her book, Battle Hymn Of The Tiger Mother.
As the story goes, Lulu quit the violin and took up tennis instead. Well, after some time, Lulu returned to the violin because she missed it. She loves the music of Bach and Mendelssohn and enjoys playing their great works. Did the Tiger Mom force her to go back to the violin? Absolutely not. Lulu chose to go back with her own free will. A lesson has to be learned from this.
The lesson is that you can't force a child to practice a musical instrument for 2 to 3 hours a day. It's kind of like gambling. You might have a winner, or you might just as likely have a loser. What I mean is that, the 2 to 3 hours practicing worked well for the Tiger Mom's first daughter who performed a concert at Carnegie Hall in New York, but the same regimen caused Lulu to quit and lose interest.
How do you know when it's too much?
If your child wants to learn a musical instrument and has the will, you should encourage it. Certainly, you will have to make sure your child practices daily. Not 2 to 3 hours. Between 30 minutes and an hour. Just like anything else that you have to do daily, it becomes a bit boring. This is where the skill of discipline is developed. Very important. When it becomes difficult or monotonous, discipline is what prevails. I always tell the parents of my students, that if their child practices 4 hours, but only 1 day a week, the results will not bear fruit. I tell them to make sure their child practices 30 minutes every day. I can tell the difference between a student who practices daily and one that practices once a week. The results are vastly different.
Teaching Music Appreciation
It's important not to force your child to take lessons or to practice several hours a day like the Tiger Mom did. The best thing to do is to start music appreciation during early childhood. All children are musically inclined. A child can naturally begin humming or singing at the age of 1! Music perception can be traced back to the most primitive and ancient parts of the human brain. It's within all of us. But the best time to develop that musical connection is during childhood.
If your child is past the early stages, you still have an opportunity to encourage music appreciation. Play music in the house. Play music in the car. Go to a concert. Classical music, jazz, country, folk, or popular music. Just stay away from the hip hop and rap. Don't worry, your child will discover those styles easily because they're everywhere.
When you're listening to music together, have a conversation about the music with your child. Ask him/her questions about the music. “Do you like this song?” “Can you hear the piano?” “Doesn't the singer have a pretty voice?” Etc.
And show enthusiasm about music. I'm sure you like music. Who doesn't? Show it and express it to your child. When I was growing up, there was always music in the house, in the car, and on the TV. Turn off the video games and the talk shows, and turn on a concert on PBS or turn on a free streaming radio station on your computer. And besides, it puts everyone in a good mood. Music is food for the soul.
I am happy that Lulu went back to her violin and I'm sure the Tiger Mom is too. Sometimes we have to leave something before we can appreciate it. No one likes to be forced to do anything, especially when it's unreasonable. Balance is the key. If your children practice their instruments everyday for at least 30 minutes of focused attention, not only will they learn how to play and read music, but the grades and test scores in math, science, and reading will eventually go up as well.