Why do our students quit instrumental music? Well, we have all read studies that outline a vast number of causes, and I am sure they all contribute to the large number of students who leave our programs. But I believe when we drill deep enough into each case, and distill the information to its core, one glaring sentiment would be found, that is in part, if not completely the reason: that the student didn’t think they were very good at it. It’s simple: if I don’t believe I am very good at playing my instrument, I will quit. Are there other reasons? Yes, of course. But if we could get every child to believe they are succeeding, I can’t help but believe we would lose fewer students. So maybe when it comes to retention, our goal should be that we make sure our students feel success in whatever way they can, at whatever speed they progress, and at whatever ability level they are. If my teacher makes me think and feel that I am getting better and getting good at some things, I will believe it too.
Peter Loel Boonshaft, Director of Education
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