I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Tiger Mom's In Your Tank

Everybody's talkin' 'bout Tiger Mom:

No point in my repeating the rejoinders to this obnoxious woman, but I thought I could add a few things from my music educator/coach perspective:

- The WSJ article (firewall) had a picture of one of Chua's children playing at Carnegie Hall. That's nice, except for this:
Third, Chinese parents believe that they know what is best for their children and therefore override all of their children's own desires and preferences. That's why Chinese daughters can't have boyfriends in high school and why Chinese kids can't go to sleepaway camp. It's also why no Chinese kid would ever dare say to their mother, "I got a part in the school play! I'm Villager Number Six. I'll have to stay after school for rehearsal every day from 3:00 to 7:00, and I'll also need a ride on weekends." God help any Chinese kid who tried that one.
Uh-huh. Hey, did you know you can rent Carnegie Hall? Music teachers do it all the time so they can say their students "played Carnegie Hall."

So who's deluded about their kids' abilities here?

-  The "little White Donkey" story takes me back to my piano teaching days. I had a lot of students - a LOT of students - over the years. More than once, I'd have a new kid come in, I'd ask him or her to play something, and they'd rip into a really hard piece. "Wow," I'd think, "This kid is good."

Then I'd ask them to sight-read something - nothing. I'd ask them to play a I-IV-V7-I cadence; they'd look at me like I had three heads. Improvise? What's that?

I remember looking at one kid's music: he had worked on this one hard piece for nearly a year. His old teacher had written "Sloppy!' and "Garbage" all over the music. He couldn't play anything else. We had to start from ground zero to build up his musicianship. I left that studio a month later to go to grad school, and his parents told me he wouldn't be continuing.

Just saying.

- I'm sure Chua's daughters are lovely girls. I wish them all the best, and I hope they will be successful, happy people. But it's a little early to go around crowing about what a great parent you turned out to be when you're oldest kid's only 18.

I'd print Mrs. Jazzman's comments about Tiger Mom here, but this is a family blog.

No comments: