Coercing children to play an instrument

From the archives: Posted on 1st March, 1994

A poster wrote:

“I agree now, but I never would have agreed as a child. From the time I was 4-12 years old, my older brother and I ‘had’ to take accordion lessons…. All I can remember is the tears shed into those bellows during practice session after practice session. It was pure agony being made to practice and perform duets for the relatives and neighbours.

These days I regularly thank my parents for making me learn to play a musical instrument. …Our love of music has rubbed off on our children.”

You are one of the lucky ones. For every one like you, who ends up loving music, there are countless thousands for whom playing an instrument is ruined, for whom playing music will forever be associated in their minds with all that pain and anguish, countless thousands whose ability to play music has been handicapped by such coercion, not helped.

Sarah Fitz-Claridge, 1994, ‘Coercing children to play an instrument’,