Why do students quit music? Well, I think we can all agree there are as many answers to that question as there are students who quit.  But I am confident that the bottom line is that they just don’t think they are very good at it. Let’s face it: how rarely does someone quit something they think they are really good at? Could you fathom Itzhak Perlman quitting the violin, Aaron Judge quitting baseball, or Pablo Picasso quitting painting? Does it happen? Yes. But I am confident that far, far more students end their study of music because they feel they just aren’t good enough. So, we need to convince them otherwise! To that end, we need to perform more often. I believe we should have our beginners, yes, beginners, perform three concerts in their first four months of playing. That’s right, three times. Now, if you are shaking your head in disbelief at this moment, it’s probably because of our different definitions of the word “concert.” To me, a concert is taking a gaggle of clarinets down to the main office to perform Hot Cross Buns for the office staff or having a group of trumpets go to the faculty cafeteria to perform Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. Those are concerts. Think about it: what got you hooked on music? Was it practicing scales in a practice room? If it was, you are a sick individual in need of serious help! It was far more likely that performing music is what got you hooked, what captured your heart, mind, and soul. So that’s what we need to do for our beginners, and in large doses.

Peter Loel Boonshaft, Director of Education
KHS America

About the Author

Dr. Boonshaft, Director of Education for KHS America, is the author of the critically acclaimed best-selling books Teaching Music with Passion, Teaching Music with Purpose, and Teaching Music with Promise. He was honored by the National Association for Music Education and Music For All as the first recipient of the “George M. Parks Award for Leadership in Music Education.” Dr. Boonshaft was selected for the Center for Scholarly Research and Academic Excellence at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY, where he is Professor Emeritus of Music.