The Unconservatory  

Tickets or Tylenol: A Parent’s Choice

by Arin Stevens

Hey, parents, is constantly reminding your music student to practice starting to make a root canal seem like a vacation? Is it to the point where the only thing your student practices is avoidance (of both you and the instrument)? Looking for a solution that lets you dispense with star charts, bribes, guilt trips and general crabbiness?

We’ve discovered an approach that prevents me from sounding like a broken record and prevents my daughter from growing her own ear plugs: going to live musical performances. It's pleasurable, interesting and even that "e" word: educational.

My daughter, Katherine, who is studying piano with Marilyn Morales, hasn’t heard me grumble for a year about practicing. After attending several musical events last summer, weeks passed without me saying “Practice!” Reassured that she hadn’t accidentally superglued herself to the piano I resolved to take her to as many performances as possible to see if nag-free practicing would continue. It has, and the money I’ve saved on aspirin pays for those tickets.

So, before you toss this in the recycling bin or line the hamster’s cage with it try this headache free approach to practicing:


Editor’s note: as much as we agree with Ms. Stevens’ letter, we assure our readers that it was unsolicited. In fact, it is the first article from a parent (or any other reader) that we have received for publication. We welcome more submissions!

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Updated: January 25, 2001 (KB)

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