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Is there such a thing as "not being musical'?

There’s so many times in our lives where music is classed as “right”. We need to be mindful of the impact this has on the subconscious development of children’s musical confidence and ability to identify themselves as musical beings.

Here are just a handful of examples to demonstrate how easily music can be made “out of reach” or exclusive to those who are talented.

All of this undermines musical confidence and leads to adults who believe they cannot sing in tune and children who slowly lose their innate abilities.

how are children told they are not musical?

• We joke “she got her musical ability from me!” or “glad she got dad’s sense of rhythm!” innocently- but laying the insidious belief down that some people have it and some don’t. •We shy away from singing to our children if we don’t feel confident about our voices but expose them to “perfect” recorded voices frequently. Children need to hear the whole spectrum to know that just because someone has a lovely tone and practises a lot- maybe even has a deep talent- music is still for everybody to create • We have the “good singers” sit up front in school choirs or cultural groups and confirm the suspicions of those seated in the back that “music isn’t their thing” •We over-expose children to polished recorded music and music videos more than they get to experience live music with all of its mistakes and less-than-perfect moments leading them to develop a core belief that music should sound a certain way to be “correct” • We acknowledge the children who “perform” over and above those who sit quietly and take in music and dance….. some of the most deeply musical children we’ve worked with have barely participated in an active way in class, yet have a deep understanding and sense of timing that was developed because they were allowed the space to learn the way they needed to.

All of this is to say- let’s be mindful in our approach to musical development in children. Let’s not repeat mistakes of the past and tell some children (directly or indirectly) that they are not one of the lucky ones.

The truth is there is absolutely varying degrees of musical “talent” but everyone is musical and everyone has the right to play and create and enjoy and deeply know that they are not lacking.

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