When I was 5 years old, my dad signed me up for piano lessons. This was later expanded to include recorder and singing lessons also.
In my early teens, when I struggled to maintain my motivation, he would not let me quit, saying “you need options in life”. Meaning, you don’t know which of these skills will be your source of livelihood.
Today, on the 5th anniversary of his passing, I can only say he was so right! My chequered career has taken me from IT Consultancy to Project Mangement to Education Management and now, Music Education.
Something else Dad often said was, “When I die, I may not leave you a fortune but one thing I will bequeath you is a good education”. This has indeed been his most valuable gift to me and a legacy that has been passed on to my children, all of whom enjoy making music as part of their everyday lives.
I am a fan of what I call the “everyday” musician. Ordinary men and women, from all walks of life, for whom music is an integral part of their lives. People who enjoy music making because it completes them, not because it’s a source of their livelihood, not because it makes them famous or rich.
The commonly held view, especially in Nigerian culture, that learning to play an instrument is somehow detrimental to one’s academic or career prospects cannot be farther from the truth.
Indeed, learning complex harmony instruments such as the piano, using structured teaching approaches, has been shown to improve executive function, thereby enhancing one’s chances of success in other fields.
I will forever be grateful for my father’s legacy, how he gave me a well rounded education, that incorporated music alongside literacy, numeracy and science. He supported my music lessons for 11 good years, until I turned 16, when I started to prepare for my University entrance exams. Sadly, I had an unsympathetic music teacher at the time who was unwilling to adjust his demands of me musically to my academic realities and so, reluctantly, I quit. With hindisght, that could have been avoided had my teacher been more sympathetic to my predicament at the time. Music could have been my refuge from my academic workload, had he not been so rigid. But that’s a story for another day. Several years later, now a grown woman with little children, I found my way back to my first love and have continued my pursuit of music learning ever since.
For those parents who share my father’s passion, and are looking to encourage their children to maintain an interest in music learning, I highly recommend Nathan Holder’s book – “I wish I didn’t quit music lessons“. It’s available on Kindle.
And for those parents who would like to introduce their children to the joys of music making but are not sure where to begin, then I suggest you try out our recreational music clubs for starters. The clubs provide an opportunity for children to learn to play their choice of instrument in a relaxed, social setting, and are a good way to guague interest in an instrument.
Alternatively, for a more intensive expreience, you can sign your children up for private lessons on approval. This is where we give your children four weeks of music tuition, before you decide whether or not to take the plunge. You don’t pay a penny until you are certain you would like to continue with lessons. If you find that they didn’t enjoy the experience, you wont be charged for the lessons taken.
I will forever be grateful for my father’s wisdom and commitment to “giving me options” which has now touched his grand children, and I hope their children also.
Sing the old song for me dad.
your “Bibi” x