Hello, my name is Mrs. Gray and this is my confession of a music mom. My last confession was a word to all the music parents to not give up! Don't give up on your child and don't allow your child to give up on music. If you missed the last article I encourage you to go back and read it. Today, I want to share with you some of the things that my husband and I have learned along the way.
Let me first start by saying congratulations to our students and parents for completing GMG's first quarter! I would like to confess and share with you why GMG is structured the way we are. I married Mr. Gray when I was 21 years old as we were just finishing our last year of college. After we graduated college my husband had an opportunity to go on tour with a cruise line company but declined because he couldn’t see himself being away from his family for such long periods, instead God placed in him a desire to begin teaching music. So what started in the backroom of an elderly facility has 16 years later provided countless students with the gift of music, including our own daughter. We were a young family when we opened up the music school so our family has “grown” so to speak with GMG.
Growing up, Mr. Gray’s parents couldn’t afford music lessons and his first keyboard was a blue toy piano when he was in 6th grade. By high school, he was playing for a church and was able to save enough money to purchase his first professional piano. Through his process of learning to play the piano, he worked hard, remained diligent and found pieces of inspiration along the way. He would spend hours as a teen practicing while his friends were hanging out or playing outside. He was dedicated to the process of learning.
There’s a saying that says when the student is ready the instructor will appear. Although Mr. Gray didn’t have the privilege of private instruction God has certainly placed teachers in his life along the way, in the end, it was up to him to decide what he would do with the tools provided to him. I think GMG and his musicianship is evident as to how he invested his time and tools. So I say all of that to say that hard work is inevitable in achieving anything worthwhile in life and the value of hard work can be seen in what we teach our own children and is apparent in the fabric of GMG.
Hard work was just one of countless lessons we've learned along the way and running GMG. There are so many values that run parallel with one another as foundational truths. Values such as there's not a shortcut to success, time is essential to growth and the importance of visualizing the bigger picture as to why your child is taking music lessons. This vision is then transformed into a plan in which we (the GMG Staff) partner with the student and parent to help achieve.
Another important point is consistency, which allows you to carry out the plan. It's the day to day things we do such as making sure our children have an environment to practice in, helping them complete their weekly home assignments and establishing a practice routine.
These values have helped our family become stronger as we grew with GMG and we believe that the same way it has worked for our family it can work with you! We didn’t go to business school to learn how to grow a business, we are not a family who owns a business, we see GMG as our family business and we believe in old fashion strong family values! Unfortunately, as students get older we've seen parents fall out of the educational process and leave their child to navigate it alone. I do understand that students grow and become independent, but staying involved is crucial in many cases. Teachers appreciate an involved parent because they know that the parent values the learning process.
At GMG we believe that the learning process is a family affair. We don’t expect parents to know it all and many aren't even musicians themselves and that’s okay! We need GMG parents to simply be a bridge of connection between the student and the instructor (home and the music school). Especially in music education, if the parent remains vested and interested the student remains as well. But we’ve seen it so many times where a student starts strong, but the focus from the parent shifts followed by their child’s and soon after, the student drops out.
I’m not saying that GMG is for every student, we have high standards for our students, but they are achievable on every level, but this musical journey is a thousand times better when not taken alone. You can’t force a seed to grow, but you can create an environment that is conducive for growth. Nurture your child’s interest by taking them to a concert, exposing them to new musical experiences, listen to them practice, have a mini-concert for family and friends, record them playing a song and post it on social media, applaud them when they do well, help them through difficult moments, contact the teacher if they need extra help, schedule a private lesson.
The last part of my confession is probably one of the most important lessons we've learned and that's being present in our children’s lives. This doesn’t mean buying the world for them, but simply being there for them. There was a time where I was Youth Pastor at our church and Mr. Gray and I were super busy running GMG. We were getting home late and the effects of our busyness were taking a toll on our family. We made the decision not to offer music lessons on the weekend, but to spend that time with our family and to change our closing hours to an earlier time so we can eat dinner together as a family. Sometimes it’s best to just slow down as a family and regroup. Eat dinner together, go for a walk together or sit down on the couch and have a family movie night. We’ve found in our own lives that strong families produce strong families.
At the end of the day we all want our kids to be successful, but there may be times where we need to re-evaluate our definition of success. My husband and I have had to do this and we found out that success is a legacy that you leave within your child rather than material things that you leave with your child. The time we spend with our children and the values we teach them now creates a firm foundation to catapult them towards achieving their heart's desire.
So if you've ever wondered about why GMG is structured the way we are or why we don't claim to be the "fun" music school or even strive to be the biggest, I truly hope that my confession gives you a little more insight.