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Stop Forcing Your Kids To Learn A Musical Instrument


I really don’t see the point of this essay. He’s saying that ballet and violin lessons aren’t as useful as some parents claim (true), so we should stop forcing kids to take these classes. Instead he suggests:

We just need to sign them up for classes that make more sense, given that it’s 2013, not 1860, and that I don’t need a violin-playing daughter to cement my class status. Look, I love the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto, but one could make the argument that Rebekah would be better off learning to play the Lumineers’ “Ho Hey” on guitar. That skill would certainly be more of an asset at summer camp.

But then he turns around and says, 

The sublimity of art is tied, after all, to its uselessness (cf. Dazed and Confused). More than anything, I want children to find pursuits, whether useful or not, that they can take with them into adulthood.

So uselessness is ok, as long as you keep doing it as an adult? Why is that the metric? Is a useless thing somehow better because you do it for a long time? 

TL;DR: click-bait headline, mediocre article.

I’m p. sure he meant “There’s nothing particularly useful about playing the violin or doing ballet. That doesn’t make it bad! Uselessness is actually what makes art sublime. But it DOES mean that if your kid absolutely hates playing the violin and you’re imposing lessons on them because you think it’ll make them more “cultured” you might just be wasting their time and making them miserable.”

I never learned to play a musical instrument. It was tried with me and my complete and utter lack of any innate skill regarding music (I had to be taught to hear a beat, years later (for horseback riding*), and it took hours and hours of listening to a Capella music) was apparent early on. My sister however showed real talent and was able to play the piano by ear super early. So my mother REALLY pushed piano on her.

My sister was kind of a worst case scenario. She was super skilled — like, could be a pianist for a living if she went through with the years of practice — but she often would have rather been doing something besides playing the piano, or going to a high-pressure piano teacher that provoked the shit out of her anxiety. I remember daily screaming matches between her and my mother - not with my sister as a teenager, but with her as a elementary schooler begging to not have to play the piano today.

She will not touch the instrument now as an adult. It’s really tragic to me, because she WAS really, shockingly good at it. But all the joy has been sucked out of it for her.

The article is suggesting that kids  shouldn’t be given hobbies as a form of drudgery because it’ll somehow make them “better”. They shouldn’t even take on hobbies because they’re “useful”. They should take on hobbies because they enjoy them, and will actually stick with them, and will get to use that hobby in adulthood. All of those musical instruments long put away that never get touched suggest that the people learning them didn’t build up a lifelong enjoyment for playing them — they did it because their parents really pressed them do so.

He’s making the point that violin/ballet/whatever-piece-of-middle-class-concerted-cultivation are pushing on today’s youth are not inherently more useful than pretty much any other hobby. And in fact, other hobbies may be more suited to your kid’s usefulness.

I am all for not forcing kids to play musical instruments. I am all for not forcing kids to take part in any kind of art whatsoever. It ruins art. It sucks all the joy from it.  I would encourage a child, certainly, to sample many kinds of art and give it their best shot but I’m not going to force a child who dislikes, or is even ambivalent, to playing music to learn an instrument. It is not useful. It is the opposite of useful. And I feel like this article was spot on.


* I actually enjoyed riding horses, for the record. I don’t do it as an adult because I’m wheeeyy out of shape and I don’t know where I’d go to do it and I am nowhere near wealthy enough to own a horse.

But I did learn a lot about working with animals that I use on the regular as an adult. Which is more than I ever learned in the months of flute lessons I had to attend as an elementary schooler before they realized I was a lost cause and abandoned that path with me.

(Source: dduane)

Posted: 5 hours ago - With: 32 notes - Reblog

Stop Forcing Your Kids To Learn A Musical Instrument

Posted: 6 hours ago - With: 32 notes - Reblog



Primeval Predators

These scientifically accurate toys are based on the half-billion-year-old fossils of the Burgess Shale from the Canadian Rockies of British Columbia. The ancestors of all animal groups appeared in the greatest evolutionary explosion of all time – the Big Bang of evolution – 500 million years ago. The best view we have of these first animal communities on Earth exists in the Burgess Shale fossils first discovered on Mt. Stephen in 1886. In 1975, Dr. Desmond Collins led the first ROM expedition to the Burgess Shale. He returned for 18 seasons and discovered new Burgess Shale fossil sites and collected many thousands of unique and bizarre fossils…

(find out more: Royal Ontario Museum)

* thanks to CrankyDinosaur for letting us know about this.

I think I need this…

(via dinosaursandotherawesomestuff)

Posted: 3 days ago - With: 1,359 notes - Reblog


Solar System Necklace

Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto are all included in this solar system necklace. Don’t hold the whole world in your hands. Hold the entire solar system around your neck. Hung on an 18” chain. Sold on Etsy.

This would be so cool if Pluto wasn’t on it. Because if you’re going to put Pluto on it, why not put all the other dwarf planets we’ve since discovered on it? :I


(via ladystormcrow)

Posted: 3 days ago - With: 13,165 notes - Reblog

Happy International Sir Terry Pratchett Day!

Quote from (x)

Art by Paul Kidby

Pterry’s writing is sometimes problematic. However, he’s an incredibly imporant writer to me. I was raised in a fundamentalist Christian household and bought into the hyper conservative garbage I was taught pretty hardcore as a kid. I discovered Pterry’s books when I was 13. To say they transformed me would be underselling them. There were many factors in my life that made me a better person than I was taught to be, but I don’t know how many of the would have taken hold without Pterry’s gentle teaching in these books. 

(Source: randombrethren, via ladystormcrow)

Posted: 4 days ago - With: 4,839 notes - Reblog


Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal

Posted: 4 days ago - With: 59 notes - Reblog

"classical music is boring"



Stravinsky’s rite of spring is about a girl who dances herself to death to appease the Russian god of spring.

When it premiered the crowd got so amped up they opened up a mosh pit in the theater and the night would be forever known as the “riot of spring”

There’s a piece in the bassoon repertoire called “Dead Elvis” and when you buy the music you have to contractually agree to only perform the piece in a full Elvis costume.


(via adistinguishedvillain)

Posted: 5 days ago - With: 40,573 notes - Reblog




Are Millennials Sick and Tired of ‘Are Millennials’ News Titles?

"So what else do you do to the largest politicized tech savvy generation? You gaslight them, flood the media with news stories that victim blame us for our failures to not turn out…

Posted: 5 days ago - With: 607 notes - Reblog

Registration Window!


We are pleased to announce that Flight Rising will be opening a registration window for new users Monday, April 14th starting at 5:00 server time and ending at 5:00 server time on April 15th. We are excited to welcome new players to our game! We will be monitoring site performance during the window and week following. If this window goes well we will be opening up additional windows shortly thereafter, with open registration as our final target.

As a reminder for our current players, individuals are limited to one account per person. Additional accounts are against our TOS and are problematic for the site. Registering a second account can result in the closure both accounts. Please be awesome, stick to one account, and have a great time! Doing so will ensure and a fair play experience for everyone. Our players make the community and game the amazing, creative space that it is.

Flight Rising is opening a registration window if any of y’all wanna come play dragons!

Posted: 1 week ago - With: 1,367 notes - Reblog

Just discovered Season 3 of Bob’s Burgers has gone up on Netflix.

R is asleep because he has to be at work early tomorrow.

I can’t wake him up.

We watch the show together.

*Hands tremble*

Posted: 1 week ago - With: 0 notes - Reblog




Happy Bones Time


(Source: mirrornyotauhura, via moyaofthemist)

Posted: 2 weeks ago - With: 3,013 notes - Reblog


back to the booty

Oh god I just started following you and this is awkward but my eyes unfocused while I was scrolling down my dash and for a moment I thought the icon of your snake was a drawing of Darth Vader sitting on a penis.

Posted: 2 weeks ago - With: 7 notes - Reblog


…dude, is there any show on television that has not made *horrifically* bad choices in the last few weeks? Because I for one can’t come up with one!


You know sweeps have been really bad when Glee is the only thing that comes to mind.

The last episode of Cosmos was pretty cool? It had Patrick Stewart voicing William Herschel. It talked about black holes! But that’s non-fiction so. idk.

Posted: 2 weeks ago - With: 4 notes - Reblog

nm got a hat now

Posted: 2 weeks ago - With: 0 notes - Reblog


Everyone with a top hat is now marked for account deletion. This is the only way we could destroy this horrible website. Happy April Fools day.


And here I was sad I didn’t have a hat.

(Source: petervidani, via nocogsorwheels)

Posted: 2 weeks ago - With: 125,189 notes - Reblog