Parenting Blog

The Motivation for Grade School Music and Arts

Thanks to The Network Niche, today’s post is sponsored by Music & Arts.

Should I listen to The Epic (quite literally), nearly 3-hour long Kamasi Washington album a few more times straight through, there may be a cardiac situation in my home. This is because a tiny piece of me dies every time a hear a trumpet toot. Queue the ambulance.

If only the pudgy, socially awkward 5th grader knew then what the pudgy socially awkward 39-year-old knows now: trumpets, and by extension, trumpeters, are boss. But I was a quitter who wasn’t yet capable of playing the long game. Also, there were no trumpets on Bon Jovi records, so I just didn’t buy into the instrument or music and arts back in the mid-80’s.

music and arts grade school flute practice

My 6th grader is more worldly than I was at the same age, in musical terms and in just about every other way. She has been playing the flute in her for three years and she has the opportunity to hear and see the flute outside of its standard stoic context. Just a few evenings ago in fact, I called up NPR Tiny Desk Concerts on our new Roku Smart TV and we watched The Family Crest tear it up for a few songs. That blistering folk-rock band from San Francisco has a female flutist who straight-up rocks out and is someone my oldest daughter can look to and maybe think, ‘alright, now this is pretty rad, lemme put in another 20 minutes running through these relatively banal Christmas standards each night this week, even though I’m tired and want nothing more than to crawl into bed and read, because someday, just maybe, I might be able to make original music magic with this long silver instrument I lug into and out of school 3 days each week.’

Yeah, I like to imagine that the internal monologues of both of my children are every bit as rambly as my written sentences.

music and arts grade school flute practice recital

Visit for local information on music lessons.

Speaking of the other child, she just began with the viola in 3rd grade orchestra. And my 8-year-old is even more like me — extremely impatient. She wants to play the entire string section of each Vampire Weekend song from the jump and bemoans daily the fact that they are still plucking their violas and not using the bow yet — “NOT UNTIL PAGE 15!” she reminds me every afternoon. That’s very much the carrot keeping her motivated to pluck away before dinner but once the bow becomes commonplace as will happen in the coming weeks — PAGE 15!!!! — I will continue to play for her the orchestral beauty of Gustafer Yellowgold’s “Strawberry Love” and the thrashing orchestral pop of Mother Falcon to demonstrate the many possibilities which rest upon her strong but tiny left shoulder each and every time she practices her viola. I’ll also to let her fiddle (quite literally) along with Okee Dokee Brothers ditties and the many other modern songs she loves, so that she might begin to really feel the impact of the music she is making as it directly relates to the music she already holds dear.

Right now both girls, even the Bear who is in her 3rd year of flute, are using the most basic loaner instruments but I know that should they really take to their flute and viola, or even something else down the line as they grow up and become even more serious about a life in or at least involving music and arts, that an instrument upgrade will become essential to their growth as players. Music & Arts is inviting you to Upgrade Your Sound with 10% off $299 or more in-store and online! will be also hosting 30+ events for band and orchestra players to test intermediate and professional instruments.  Visit their page to learn more and to get better faster with Music & Arts.

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