Contemporary Musical Parenting

Room set up with music stands and chairs ready for music band rehearsal

Contemporary Musical Parenting

Quality of interactions between teachers, parents, and music students is key improved music learning. Parents are a major influence on students’ musical lives. Contemporary musical parenting is part of a broader ecosystem of influential people in the musical education of children.

Research has previously identified that quality interactions between teachers, parents and students (Creech, 2010) are crucial to a supportive and productive musical education for young students. Parents often play a lead supporting role in the musical development of their children. Although parents may themselves lack the necessary musical skills and education, they indirectly support their childs’ musical education via being an important link. Through activities such as driving to lessons, watching concerts, discussing lessons with the teacher, setting expectations and supporting their childs’ musical progress, the parent is an import supporter in music education.

Musical parenting is viewed as a developmental process. Through early childhood, middle childhood, adolescence and early adulthood, parents form valuable beliefs about the purpose of a music education and install these values into their children. The stronger the belief of the parent in the value of a music education, the more important a music education will be in the life of a child (Sloboda et al., 1991; Sosniak, 1985).

Intensive Parenting Phenomenon

Contemporary research has identified that parental involvements in the lives of a child’s education has substantially changed over time. In Western middle and upper-class families, there is the phenomenon of intensive parenting (Furedi, 2001). Intensive parenting has been characterised by constant supervision and monitoring as well as specific beliefs and behaviours towards children and child rearing. Some views held are those which are concerned with getting children ahead in an increasingly competitive world. For example, enrolling children in a wide array of extra-curricular activities is one example of this trend of cultivation to improve future opportunities.

Building a CV

For some, intensive parenting sees music education as a way of improving skills and abilities while building a curriculum vitae which will get their child ahead in the world. This however, can be at odds with music educators. The scheduling for the multitude of extra-curricula activities leave little time for effective instrumental practice. 

The ideology behind musical parenting has shifted for some to be seen as a commodity, and therefore suspect to change. If music teachers now find their students have little time to practice due to all the other after-school activities of their students, it can be that parents value a music education in different ways to perhaps when we had music lessons. 

There is still much to understand about musical parenting in contemporary society. What we do know are that parents are a key factor in the music education of children. It is important for music educators to discuss with parents and find out what parental values are held and how music educators can hep to shape musical parenting which is empowering for both teacher, student, and parent.


Creech, A. (2010). Learning a musical instrument: the case for parental support. Music Education Research, 12(1), 13-32.

Furedi, F. (2001). Paranoid parenting. London, England: Penguin. 

Ilari, B. (2018). Musical parenting and Music education” Integrating research and practice. Update : Applications of Research in Music Education, 36(2), 45-52.

Sloboda, J. A., & Howe, M. J. A. (1991). Biographical Precursors of Musical Excellence: An Interview Study. Psychology of Music, 19(1), 3-21.

Sosniak, L. A. (1985). Learning to be a concert pianist. In B. S. Bloom (Ed.), Developing talent in young people (pp. 19-67). New York: Ballantyne.


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