Preparing Kids for Success


As a music teacher I often ask myself if we are truly preparing our students for success. I am not just referring to how well we teach the students to play their instruments, but more importantly if the students will take with them lessons/knowledge/experiences that will prepare them to be strong contributing members of any challenging discipline, and to any organization, in music and other areas of interest.

Approximately 70% of students in any youth orchestra will more than likely select a non-music related profession. Of the students who pursue music as a major in college, a strong percentage of them will end up pursuing a livelihood that is not centered around music.

So then, what skills will the young person take with him if he does not become a professional musician? … I began coaching chamber ensembles how to communicate and lead from within the ensemble, and play without a conductor. While the model was successful it required Team building aspects to make it whole. From this grew a set of core principles; Trust, Unfiltered Dialog, Commitment, Accountability, and Attention to Team Results.

Wyatt Sutherland, Artistic Director and Founder, YellowCello Young Artists

This is also the critical issue with kids and sports, the main difference being that the percentage of kids who will not be professional athletes is closer to 100 than to 70.

  3 comments for “Preparing Kids for Success

  1. MS
    6 Jan 2009 at 11:34 pm

    Ehhh…no. That’s not a very logical argument. If someone in a music related profession is a professional musician then someone in an athletic related profession is a professional athlete.

    Examples of music related professions: piano teacher, drummer in a rock band, high school band teacher, principal conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, violinist in the Boston Pops

    Examples of athletic related professions: PE teacher, scuba instructor, personal trainer, softball hitting coach, offensive coordinator for Ohio State University football, NFL quarterback

    I don’t know about you, but I have known plenty of piano teachers, drummers, band teachers, hitting coaches, PE teachers, scuba instructors and personal trainers.

  2. PE
    7 Jan 2009 at 12:40 am

    Hi MS –

    I just read your comment about your friend Maggie and now I don’t have the heart to argue with you about this …

    What I meant to say was that in watching my kid play sports over the years … he’s had some coaches who didn’t teach the kids anything but how to shoot a puck or bounce a ball up and down, and missed the opportunity to teach them about leadership, commitment, accountability, etc.

    Of course as a parent, you can fill in the gaps, but it helps to have coaches who get that we’re trying to raise young men and women here, regardless of what their athletic futures may hold …

  3. 7 Jan 2009 at 8:16 am

    When we interview people here, we think any activity that shows discipline whether in sports or band is an important ingredient and something that we almost require. I am surprised that most job seekers leave both off their covers letters and resume.

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