The Piano Man Music

Let art find your child


The world is calling out for more creative thinkers and ideators across fields

A few weeks ago I had spoken of becoming a professor at the newly launched Krea University. Education should be fluid, allowing us to combine memory and meaning, logic and passion, mathematics and music if we so wish.

I had spoken of the need for polymaths. Ground reality, however, is different. Parents continue to worry, and stop music lessons or dance lessons the moment a child enters senior grades in school. I hear their anxiety. But I disagree with their thought process.

This weekend I was by the docksides in Tiruvottriyur in North Chennai to address students at the Pioneer Music Academy. In a geography known to be rough and non-conducive to artistic development, here were a 100 or more children asking me about Bach and Behag in equal measure. I was thoroughly impressed.

Some of these youngsters had persisted and kept at their musical training despite parental objections. Given the economics of the neighborhood, I cannot imagine this was an easy feat.

When I contrasted the two paradigms, I felt that we still haven't truly understood the effect art has on a child’s development and why the need for blending learning and allowing for flexibility is vital especially as a child enters his teen years or senior grades in school. Here are some responses to popular concerns on the topic.

We are in 2019, a time when a young mind need not be beset with ‘job pressure’ and economics alone. There is a statistic that nearly 80 per cent of the jobs the average 15-year-old can expect ten years from now haven’t been invented yet!

What universities look for, and future employers (and entrepreneurs) — are holistic learners. The world is calling out for more creative thinkers and ideators across fields. Multidisciplinary thinking will rule all fields in the future.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning will soon necessitate new ways of approaching workplaces. This will mean more flexible minds. It will need creative collaborators. Rather than stop the artistic training, I would urge them to step up musical/art training more as their children grow older. Marks are going to become less relevant.

IgnacyJan Padrewski was a fabulous concert pianist. He was also Prime Minister of Poland as of January 1919, exactly a century ago. A revolutionary musician-politician, heralding the new age.

Albert Einstein was a concert violinist in addition to being the man who changed the world as we know it. Abdul Kalam played the veena, and V.S. Ramachandran leads the world’s neuroscientist often times drawing his inspiration from his advanced Carnatic music training. The examples are many.

Despite this, there persists doubts on how children will “manage”.

A row of student interviews in Andhra Pradesh revealed how students were told to go to school and IIT tuitions as per a schedule so intimidating that children had all but forgotten to eat or sleep. This in no way is preparing them to face life. It is doing the contrary.

In prior columns I have spoken of how music expands cognitive capacity of the brain and further strengthens “design thinking”. None of these assertions have been forwarded without scientific research.

Those with young children or wards , please note — it’s time you allowed them their music classes . Even if you don’t, the music will find them!

The author is a pianist, music educator and Professor of Practice at Krea University.

The writer is a well known pianist and music educator based in Chennai

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Printable version | Dec 13, 2019 6:40:35 AM |

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