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It Pays To Start Early

by Ronald A. Rowe | November 24th, 2010 | Elementary

It pays to start early. My 4th grader, Max, was just asked to join the 6th & 7th grade band at his school. His elementary school doesn’t have a band, but he’s going to join the middle schoolers for the second semester.

We have an ace in the hole. Max’s grandfather was once upon a time a high school band teacher. That advantage, plus a fair amount of practice practice practice, earned Max a chance to play his trumpet in front of his class. That little tryout turned into an opportunity to play with the big kids.

The point of this article is not to brag on my son (well, not entirely). The point is that if we, as parents, can give our children a head start with a musical instrument or sports or academics, it will open doors that would otherwise be closed. It is all too tempting to leave the training of our children to the schools, the coaches, the instructor, whatever. But it all starts with us.

Encouraging our children and giving them a head start is not pushing them. It isn’t forcing them to fulfill some unfulfilled potential in our own lives. It is all about the opportunity and encouragement.

Now Max will get to try his skill with older, more experienced children. If he wants to keep up, he’ll have to man up and continue to practice practice practice. He’ll be in a position where he has to work just to keep up, but just keeping up will leave him miles ahead of the kids his own age. If he keeps at it, the day will come when we will be faced with the task of working at it just to find new outlets to keep him challenged.

Whether he stays with music in the long-term or not, a head start now gives him the opportunity to test himself against a whole new level of competition and expectation

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