When my twelve year old son asked me to help him out with his music homework, I felt confident .. overly confident, I mean do you know who I am.. I build music universities FFS!! We’ve sat down, opened his book and started the first exercise: putting sharps and flats into the major scale. Don’t worry son… I got this… #smugtwat! But the magic moment was over as soon as I’ve turned the page and saw the exercise no 2. which was about … Latin American grooves. Latin American grooves! – I mean – seriously?! Is that what school kids are expected to know these days?! If you are at least half as shocked as I was, you may want to sit down as there is more to it.
I’ve started flicking through the book, and I found a whole lot of nothing that would relate to modern music which he can relate to. It reminded me of a similar situation when last year, my son came asking for the same favor and his homework was all about African instruments, medieval instruments and – (drumrolls please) – the lute! I simply couldn’t understand – how can you make music lessons so boring? And the worst part is that it isn’t the teacher’s fault – THIS is the curriculum program for the whole country. Doesn’t it seem like we got it wrong? The music industry, in this country alone, is worth 4 billion GBP per year and offers over 170 000 jobs for all sorts of musicians. There is no wonder there are fewer and fewer kids playing great guitar, bass or piano these days – how can they get inspired by these dry theoretical studies? How can children get creative when learning music’s history most of the time instead of music itself?
What should we do?
It is easy to moan, but much harder to come up with the solution. I feel like there should simply be more actual music during these lessons, instead of so much of music history, geography or religion. Why should we teach children about such small niches as Latin American’s grooves? Why do the books mention nothing about mainstream pop music, computer/tv themes and inspirational music that these kids can relate to? I would like to see the kids grabbing the instrument and falling in love with it, waiting for their next music lesson. I would like to see them learning about the music they like, and they listen to nowadays. I would love to see them inspired and making some noise!
Whether you are a parent, a teacher or passionate musician – let’s do something about it, the music education methodology must change! Got any ideas on how can we make the change? Hit me up with some ideas in the comments below. The matter is too important to be ignored!