A One-Sided Conversation About Music"Why aren't you kids practicing your instruments?"
"I don't care if the new Batman is on, you're supposed to practice your music for 30 minutes a day. Now let's go."
"Do you want to practice for an hour instead?"
"Alright then, get moving."
"What? How is making them practice more going to make them not want to practice? They already don't want to practice. This isn't going to make it worse."
"Fine. Okay kids, if you don't practice today, I'm not going to let you practice tomorrow."
"What? You wanted to motivate them and make them want to practice."
"So what privilege should I take away from them?"
"Wait, wait, I got it. Kids, if you don't practice, you can't eat your vegetables for dinner.
"There's no pleasing you sometimes."
"Okay, let's try this. Kids, the reason we want you to practice your instruments is because we want everyone in our family to study music at some point in their lives. Two of you are learning to play the guitar, and Sweetie, you're doing great on your drums. And I think you will all learn to enjoy music as you get better. But you're never going to get any good at it if you don't practice every single day."
"Yes, Buddy, Jimi Hendrix practiced every day."
"A few hours at least."
"Yes, per day."
"Yes, every day."
"Well, how else was he going to get so good? He certainly didn't do it practicing 30 minutes a day after his father nagged him to do it."
"Yes, Sweetie, Neil Pert practiced several hours a day too. That's why he's such an awesome drummer."
"I know you don't have a drum set. But if you keep practicing and show that you're dedicated to it, we'll see if we can get one for your birthday."
"So go upstairs and practice. I'll see you in 30 minutes. Buddy, work on your Jimi Hendrix song. I want to hear you play it when you're done."
"Yeah, I know you have to go through this every day."
"No, they're not going to practice without being told."
"Because they're kids."
"Because kids never do what they're supposed to, only what they want to."
"Because NO kid ever does what they're supposed to. They're kids. They're giant bags of spontaneity with poor impulse control."
"That's because you weren't a normal kid."
"No, I was a normal kid. I never wanted to do what I was supposed to, I only wanted to do what was fun. Practicing my guitar wasn't fun, so I didn't do it when I was supposed to."
"Easy, like this: 'yes, I practiced my guitar.'"
"No, I wasn't."
"Okay, technically, I guess it WAS lying."
"Well, they were at work when I was supposed to practice, and I would practice every other day to make sure I wasn't lying all the time."
"They made me quit when they saw that I wasn't getting any better. No point in spending money on lessons when I'm not going to do what it takes to get any good."
"That's why we need to keep nagging them to practice, because they're more like me than they are you. They're not going to start practicing on a regular basis until they really start to get good and realize how much they enjoy being that good at it."
"In the meantime, we just have to nag them until they get to that point."
"Four, eight, and 10 years."
"Because they'll be in college and we won't have to worry about it anymore."
My book, Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself (affiliate link), is available on Amazon.com, as well as at Barnes & Noble and Borders bookstores. I wrote it with my good friend, Kyle Lacy.
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