But parenting a musically gifted child can be an isolating experience.
What is it like for parents whose children truly excel in music? In addition to navigating their own reactions and personal anxiety about their child's talents, they often become immersed in the musical experience. They know the music. They know when their child is off-key, playing a poorly phrased passage, or forgets a memorized section during a performance. They weather their child's aspirations and rejections. The power of their child's passionate performance swells in their hearts.
And like parents of intellectually gifted children, they often hide their reactions. They don't want to appear to boast or brag. They don't want to complain too much (after all, their child might be the best musician in the school - their concerns about how little their child practices might seem insignificant in comparison). Worries about performances or conservatory auditions seem esoteric when other parents are concerned about SATs or just getting their kids to complete homework. And parents who are not raising musically talented children may hold misconceptions similar to those often projected onto parents of intellectually gifted children.
How can parents of these talented children find a sense of belonging and community?
Parents of musicians thrive when they find other parents who understand their situation. This provides emotional support, a sense of community, but also helps with parenting decisions unique to their situation. Should I push my child to practice more? Should he go to a music camp? How does majoring in music at a liberal arts college compare with attending a conservatory? Should I worry about her ability to support herself as an adult musician?
It may take some effort, but actively seeking out parents online or within your child's music organizations can be a life changer. While you wait for your child at his lesson, speak with the other parents in the waiting room. When you sit through choir or jazz band rehearsals, reach out to other parents. See if any of these venues offer parent meetings or workshops. For example, Philadelphia Sinfonia, an elite youth orchestra, offers a workshop where parents of Sinfonia alumni provide advice and support regarding applying to conservatories and colleges. Similar options may be available in your community.
Parents of musically gifted children can feel isolated. But when they seek out like-minded parents, they will have found a community where they can share their joys, uncertainty and disappointments with others who will truly understand.
This blog is part of Hoagie's Gifted Education Page blog hop on Community. To see more blogs, click on the following link: http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/blog_hop_community.htm