Did you know? I wouldn’t be a musician today if it wasn’t for my mother. It’s true! I was one of those kids that didn’t really fit into anything. On top of that, I was one of those kids that thought everything was stupid. Tried soccer, didn’t get it. Tried tennis, wasn’t my thing. When 6th grade came around my mom said “You’re joining the band.” My uncle Ken played the drums so I thought I’d try that. We started band. Started taking private lessons and started learning the drums. You’d think the rest would be history, right? That it just clicked and was a natural fit. That I had found my niche. You’d be wrong! I didn’t hate the drums, far from it, but I didn’t LOVE the drums either. I could have done with or without it. It didn’t matter to me BECAUSE I WAS A DUMB KID! What would I rather be doing? Riding a bike, playing with my friends, watching TV, or playing video games. I wanted to do the same things all my friends were doing. I didn’t want to be in my room practicing. My mom wouldn’t let me quit. So I kept doing it. Sometimes I’d practice. Sometimes I wouldn’t. It wasn’t until High School that I realized “I really like this drumming stuff.” I fit in. I have friends here. I’m good at this.
So why am I telling you this? Because parents come to me all the time and say “I can’t get him/her to practice, so we are quitting.” It’s heartbreaking! Mom, Dad……Don’t do it! Don’t let them take the easy road out! I have yet to meet the adult that is angry at their mom or dad for making them learn a musical instrument. Trust me, it doesn’t happen. You know who I do meet? Adults who say “I wish I stuck with it.” Maybe you are one of them? Is it your fault? No! You were just a dumb kid like me that would have rather played than practiced. It’s human nature. Working towards a goal is work. Watching TV is not. So how come you stopped and I didn’t? My mom! Thank you mom! I love that you could see for me what I was too young to see.
"Ok Doug, I get it! But how can I get them to practice?" I’ve always said “You make them do homework, you make them eat vegetables, make them practice. It’s good for them and they will thank you when they get older. I truly believe that to be true, but I didn’t realize how difficult it was to get kids to practice until I had my own. Kate (9) is now singing and playing piano. Charlotte (6) is learning the ukulele. Every day they are with me, they practice. Not because they necessarily want to, because I figured out the secret!!! It’s all about wants. They want to watch TV, go swimming, ride bikes. I want them to practice. When they come to me and say “Daddy, can I…………?” I say, go practice for 15 minutes and then you can! Dangle a carrot. So simple, so effective. And I KNOW my kids are never going to grow up and say……………..”I wish I stuck with it.”