I’m not a musician, or an educator. My living room window does face the window of a kid who is learning to play the saxophone…very slowly. If you read the blog, kid who’s name I don’t know, don’t mind me and keep trying. I think it’s good that many people cram music education down the throats of their children, but looking back on the process I wonder if the cramming is necessary?

The public schools, at least in my experience, give kids two options to learn to play an instrument: orchestra and band. Choosing band seems similar to labeling yourself a nerd, and all to learn to play an instrument nobody should want to know how to play. In the history of school bands, nobody has ever continued to play the tuba for the enjoyment of it. Trumpet and sax are options, and there were three or four guys who made those seem cool…fifty years ago. Drum might be the best choice, but you don’t get drums, which would be cool, after all, drummers are always in short supply for making the kind of music people actually like, but you just get the one drum. Nobody ever got laid for playing one drum.

Orchestra might be a better option, a few folks actually play cello’s and violins who aren’t forced to by teachers or parents. And thirty years after you were in the middle school orchestra you’ll probably start to appreciate the music you were trying to play. But 30 years is a long time. Why don’t we let the kids play guitars, and teach them to play the kind of music they like? Let them bring in turntables if they want to, there’s a lot more paying gigs for dj’s than bassoonists. There would be some problems at the get go, I don’t think there is a lot of music written that has parts for 10 guitars, 3 full drum kits, 2 base guitars and 8 dj’s, but the music teachers of the world should be able to figure something out.

And please let the kid next door play an electrical instrument, anything he can play through headphones when he practices.

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