Parent Musicians: Relationships and Interactions with Music Education

May 10, 2011 / By: Matthew C. Oyen

The purpose of this study was to gather impressions of parent-musicians’ relationships and interactions with music education by examining how their life experiences and musical training shaped the musical parenting of their children.  The review of literature revealed parent involvement research categories that would be the focus of the study; parent musical background, home environment, structure and support, goals and aspirations, musical stages of development, and relationships and interactions.  The review of research also revealed that the categorical constructs of parent involvement research were complex and interwoven.  The interpersonal relationships among parents, children, and music educators needed to be examined qualitatively.

Data were collected through open-ended interviews of four families consisting of at least one parent musician and one child who had participated in music at a high school in Minnesota.   Parent involvement research in music was a basis for the interview organization.

Results of the present study confirmed that parent musical backgrounds, home environment, structure and support, and goals and aspirations were influential in the musical development of both parents and children.  Furthermore, the interviews revealed correlations with Lauren Sosniak and Benjamin Bloom’s stages of musical development. The quality of relationships and interactions between parents, children, and music teachers was significant across all of the examined constructs of parent involvement.  Positive relationships and experiences with other musicians were significant for all of the subjects of this study.  The interviews also revealed the importance of the development of technical skills as a way to access and experience musical repertoire.  All of the subjects in this study reported positive and formative reactions to specific musical works and performances.  Many of the subjects also shared memories of important and significant experiences in chamber ensembles such as string quartets.