Interview: N Stag’s Parents
Why did you choose music for your kids?
Mother : I read that music is good for a baby during pregnancy, so I put on some music for him. When we went to church, we listened to prayer. When he was born, we put on music for him all the time just like when we first had his sister. Now that Stag has grown a bit, I noticed that he has a short-span attention. When he was in kindergarten, he was quite a mischievous boy. I thought he might have an attention deficit disorder, and I was looking for some way to help him. A friend of mine from church was a teacher, and she recommended a book about ADHD children that has got better because of music. So I decided to enroll him for a piano lesson to help with his attention.
How have the piano classes helped him?
Father : After a few classes, his attention has gotten better. He has more self-controlled and not easily distracted. He has gotten calmer which helped with his attention in listening. Before this, he would be everywhere, doing everything. He could not concentrate in a conversation but after a few classes, we can really see his development.
How long did it take until you really notice that he’s gotten better?
Mother : Not long really. The first year was really obvious. Once he started the piano class, we could really see some changes. He communicated better. Listening is really important, and he has been able to listen and concentrate more, and he could enjoy people’s company. Stag ran around a lot when he was younger. It has been over 10 years. His friends always talk about he has changed.
At church, we usually see children with ADHD or special needs. Many parents who know us would come to us and talk about how Stag has changed so much. We recommended them to take their children to piano class. So there are many kids at church who take piano or saxophone classes now.
Stag was studying music at other school, what made you choose Aime Musique?
Mother : We were not financially ready at the beginning, and piano lesson can cost quite a lot. So we went to this school that was less costly, but in reality you only get what you pay for. After awhile, we noticed that our son grew quite serious about it. When we discussed with the school, they were not exactly confident in our son. They didn’t think that Stag could develop more than he already was at that stage. Aime Musique just opened then. We had a chance to discuss with your instructor here, and also brought Stag in. We felt that the connection was different compare to the previous school. We have more confident in Aime Musique and the instructors. So we chose to enroll him here. After awhile, we could really see the changes. It was really different. It was better. We also saved money on gas and used that money at a better school. The quality is really different.
What do you think is different?
Mother : The instructors here can understand their student, while the instructors at the previous school did not. At the last school, they saw Stag’s naughtiness as obstacle. But here, you saw it differently and that gave us hope. They made us believe that our son could be better. After he had class here, we started to see changes. He enjoys playing piano more and it seems so right for him.
Father : You seem to have a good system here. The instructor could explain the course to us clearly and we can see how it will develop the children. If a school has a good system, its students will keep improving continuously. After talking with some of the instructor, they show how much they really care about the children. They can speak for the children about what needs to be improved and what can be improved and children’s progress. When we follow their advice, we can see an obvious development. This gives us confidence in the school and the instructor as well.
How does the experience at Aime Musique respond to your expectation?
We first got him into music because we are Christian, and we thought our children should be involved in the church’s activities such as playing piano for the church. But when he started, he looked very happy. Music also helps him in classroom which he used to do poorly; music helped with his learning. I think better concentration creates better understanding and also a better result in class. Our first goal was for him to play piano for the church, but to do better in classroom is definitely a happy accident. He plays piano at home because it relaxes him, and it became his favorite hobby. He is very happy with it now and his goal has all changed. He now aims beyond playing the piano itself to composing melody, lyrics, and writing his own music. He decided to continue his education in music which is something we, as parents, never thought about. We only brought him to Aime Musique because we wanted him to play music along with the academic side. Now it became his passion. He just got accepted into music school. We would really like to thank the school for the support too.
How do you mange his practice schedule?
When he was little, he would practice 15 minutes a day. After he grew a bit, it turned into half an hour, then to an hour. Now he practices 2-3 hours a day. If he has an access to a piano, it is impossible for him to leave.
Have you been arranging practice hours for him since the beginning?
Mother : Yes, I did and I tried to get him to practice every day. I would sit with him and listen to him practice which was my way to show him support. He felt like he was playing for us, so he knows that people would want to listen to him. When he’s got older, he learned to practice on his own. Whenever he sees a piano, anywhere, he would run to it and play.
How do you manage time during level exam?
Stag is not very keen on competition, so I would tell him that it is to compete with himself. It doesn’t matter if he couldn’t pass. It is only to learn about himself and his capability. It can open up his world, not just stuck in his own little room, not knowing anything.
During level exam, he practices 6 hours a day. We would break it into 3 times a day; 2 hours after each meal. I would sit with him and listen to him as well *laugh. I think the examination is really important because we can see that he rapidly improved. Examination really can influence and motivate a student.