Students aren't practicing as much as they used to.
Maybe that's just my own observation, or maybe it's partially true. There are a few reasons, I think.
- Kids are much busier now than they once were - with karate, dance, homework, sports, etc, they literally don't have enough time in the day to do it all.
- Families are much busier - not only are the kids busier, but parents and siblings are often doing many different things within the home, making practicing much more difficult (finding a quiet place, sans distractions).
- Schools aren't providing the motivation children need now. Being "in band" isn't enough anymore, especially with the negative stereotypes and self-esteem issues that come part and parcel with belonging to a clique.
- Encouragement at home isn't what it needs to be.
Now, obviously, if your child is routinely practicing, and making steady improvement, most of those excuses don't apply to them.
One of the saddest things I heard this summer was, from one of my 8th graders, "My parents don't let me practice because while my mom is in the kitchen cooking, my dad is watching tv, and my brothers are working on homework. Practicing would be a distraction." Thinking inward to my own habits, my practicing has suffered for a number of the same reasons: apartment living, background noise (a/c, fan, dehumidifier), and time.
Solutions are forthcoming in a future post, as I think about this more. If you have thoughts, leave 'em in the comments!
photo credit: Jason Tromm