Have you ever considered the obstacles and benefits of missionary kids taking piano lessons? Maybe you have because you’re a missionary and want your kids to learn piano. Or maybe you’ve never thought about it until now. However, because your church supports missionaries, you are reading this in order to better relate to their families.
This post is the first in a 3-part series about MK’s and music lessons. We will discuss the obstacles, benefits and solutions for missionary families who want the blessing of their kids learning music!
Obstacles to Taking Music Lessons
1. Constant travel
As a missionary you are constantly traveling. On deputation. Then to the field. On the field you may have to travel from village to village for various ministries or from your rural area to a city for supplies. Then you travel back to your home country to get in a car again and go on furlough. After that you head back to the field. And the cycle repeats. Again and again. Until your children decide whether to stay on the field permanently or return to your home/passport country.
With so much travel it’s almost impossible to find a teacher who can accommodate your needs. If you do, it’s in one country or the other. If ministries grow and are taken over by nationals, your family may move to a new location meaning your students have to find yet another new teacher. With all of the changes they may feel like they missed part of their music education along the way!
2. Language barriers
When your family first moves to a new country or area your child has to start life over with a new language. Although kids tend to pick up a new language quickly, musical terms are not necessarily the first vocabulary words they learn. Usually there will be a transition time when your family is acclimating to a new culture and language before you can start pursuing interests such as music.
3. Trustworthy teachers
It’s hard enough to find a trustworthy teacher in many areas let alone in a foreign country. Suddenly you have to evaluate a total stranger from another culture and in a new language for whether it’s safe to leave your kids with them. You also have to determine what kind of music he/she will teach your child and whether they are qualified to teach. Will your children learn helpful things within the culture or questionable things from this person? In many places there may not be anyone in the area who can teach piano.
Let’s face it, music lessons are expensive! They are worth every penny because they are so valuable to one’s life but that doesn’t mean they’re cheap! As a missionary, you may be trying to make ends meet on your current support while having enough money for ministry expenses. You just can’t afford the high price tag that comes with so many teachers.
If you’re not a missionary, perhaps you could consider sponsoring an MK who would like to take lessons. What a blessing to a family to have this expense taken care of each month! Ask your pastor or contact me if you want to be connected with missionaries who could benefit from this partnership.
We have discussed several obstacles to giving missionary kids a solid training in music. However, there are also many benefits that make it worthwhile to find solutions. Stay tuned over the next two weeks as we explore the benefits of and solutions to making piano lessons work for MK’s!