The Quest to Begin Music Education

I’m on a quest to buy a piano and thus embarking on the bigger and more important journey of music education for my kids.

As neither my husband nor I are piano virtuosos, buying one is a little overwhelming. I recently read an article that said there are about 12,500 brands of pianos. Not to mention the different model numbers made by each brand. Although we pretty quickly created our short list, there are still many other decisions—new or used, private sale or dealer, and do we go slightly above our desired price point to get a better instrument?

Eventually, I know that the most important element is sound and playability. I’ve heard numerous “horror” stories of how kids who start on old klunker pianos give up due to frustration. You can’t make an instrument sound good if the instrument itself doesn’t sound good. And I definitely don’t want that to happen.

As you can tell, I’m filled with anxiety. But I think my anxiousness doesn’t involve the actual piano. I really want music to be a source of enjoyment for my children and not a chore. I want them to love it, to stick with it, to practice because they want to. And even if piano doesn’t become their primary instrument, it creates a good foundation toward formal music education.

Well, I don’t have to tell any of you about the importance of music education. Every word in this magazine by every director and every student is a testament to its value. And I’m sure you feel it in your heart just as much as they do. From its ability to excite a crowd (read about basketball bands in “March Madness,” page 14) to its way of helping us build friendships and create cultural exchanges (read “Spring Fling,” page 26), music has a powerful impact on almost every aspect of our lives. As for me and my kids, we plan to start slow; we’ll tinker around for a few months before getting formal lessons.

And hopefully, cross my fingers, performing music will be a big part of their lives for years and years to come.

Musically Yours,
Christine Ngeo Katzman
Publisher and Editor-in-Chief

About the author

Christine Ngeo Katzman

Christine Ngeo Katzman has played the flute since the age of 8. She marched in the Northwestern University Marching Band, including the 1996 Rose Bowl and 1997 Citrus Bowl. She graduated cum laude from Northwestern with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1997. Since then, she has worked in the publishing industry as a writer and editor and helped launch Play Music, a magazine for recreational musicians, sponsored by American Music Group (now Music and Arts Center). In the summer of 2006, Christine worked at Yamaha where she interacted with staff and students in various marching bands and drum corps. Christine earned her MBA with honors from the University of Southern California in May 2007.