Must students learn to play at least one musical instrument?

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   If you randomly ask some children on the street whether they know how to play a musical instrument or not, eight (or nine) out of ten will reply with a “yes”. Piano, violin, flute, cello, double base, drum, trumpet… These musical instruments can be found in nowadays children’s houses. In the past, not all children had the chance to learn to play musical instruments. Only a few of them could learn how to play one. However, nowadays almost all children know how to play one (or more). Why would this happen? That’s because some schools have a policy called “All students must learn to play at least one musical instrument.” For me, I disagree with this policy. In my opinion, I don’t think students MUST learn to play any musical instruments. They have the choice to choose whether they want to learn or not. They should not be forced to learn by the school. They should treat it as a hobby–they can do it whenever they want. Moreover, there are some more important reasons why I disagree with this policy.

   First of all, not all students’ families can afford the high cost of the musical instruments and its lessons’ fees. A musical instrument is very expensive, for high quality ones it can cost a thousand to a hundred thousand. The lessons’ fees aren’t cheap either, they can also cost a hundred to a thousand for each lesson. And also we still have the cost of maintaining the musical instruments service (such as fixing the strings) and its cleaning and maintaining products. By adding these numbers up, it will be a huge sum of money and a big burden. Not all families can afford this sum of money. People have already spent a lot in their “necessary list”, still they have to save money for the future, make investments, there is no room for them to spend money on their children’s musical instruments and its lessons.  Not to mention the poor families. They have low income, sometimes they couldn’t even buy daily necessities, how can they let their children learn to play a musical instrument? Some of you may say that they can get sponsors, welfare and scholarships. However, are they really enough for them? Every month two to five thousand? I am not positive that they can afford it. Therefore, I think students from low income families can choose to learn to play a musical instrument or not. It is voluntary for them, not compulsory. In other words, it is not a “must”.

   Second, nowadays students are very busy. Their schedule is closely packed. They have a lot of homework and exercise, lots of other tutorial lessons to attend… They don’t have much time to learn one more thing. It will be a burden for them if they have one more lesson to attend and also hard for them to leave some time for practice. This will make them very busy, and have a lot of pressure. They will have less time to take a rest and do their favourite things, and they may even have to stay up late because they still have things to do. They can’t balance their time. This is also not good for their health. Therefore, I think students who already have a lot of things to do and only have very little time left, can choose to learn to take another lesson and thing to learn or not. It is important for them to rethink whether they have time or not. It is voluntary for them, not compulsory. In other words, it is not a “must” too.

   Someone may say that this policy is actually for their own good. This policy can help the students to develop a new hobby and talent. This talent is good for their future. Yes, it may be true. However, this may also bring more bad effects to the students than good effects. In some students’ point of view, they don’t think that learning to play the musical instrument is a hobby. They will just think that it’s just another homework given by the school. A homework that does not contain any marks. Then they will not take it seriously, and won’t learn it wholeheartedly. That is because they do not have the interest. Then they won’t like this musical instrument or may even hate it. They won’t take a lot of time to practice, and they cannot perform well in the end. This wastes both time and money. Now some of you will be saying again, not all the students will think like that. Some good students will take it seriously. They will put a lot of heart and effort on it. They will love it. Umm then let me say like this: if the students put too much heart energy and time on practicing the instrument, they will have less time to do other things. This may also affect their studies. The most common example is the students spend too much time on practicing the instrument and forget or even don’t want to study, and their study results are affected. Comparing studies and hobbies and talent, I think studies are more important.

   In short, I disagree that all students must learn to play at least one musical instrument, as some of their families may not have the ability to afford the high cost of the instruments, the time to practice and learn how to play the instrument, the interest and the heart. Therefore, I think it is not a must for students to learn at least one musical instrument. They can choose to take it or not.