I haven't read the book but judging by the comments the theory is probably soundly based.
We've been giving birth to children since long before we learned to talk. Before our brains evolved to do verbal language, infants only learned to do things by copying. Setting an example (without telling the child they are supposed to be learning from it) is still a good way of producing preferable behaviour. Suppose you want your child to read counterpoint and harmonization. One way is to give them the book and tell them to read it for half an hour every day. Another way is to read it yourself and wait until they ask if they can read it. Of course, that takes more effort on the parent's part - especially when I can't tell a fugue from a toccata - but it can be very effective (especially with teens who instinctively observe the law of reverse effect and will want to do the opposite of whatever the parent says).
This example setting extends beyond or, rather, begins before wresting with Piston on Orchestration. It is less likely that parents who don't demonstrate any passion or commitment to anything will find their child passionately committed to music or anything else. That's probably not a popular message but it's true. It's not exclusive and there are exceptions, but it's harder for parents who don't bother, to get their children to care. Parents who have hobbies other than watching TV, especially hobbies they can be observed doing by the child, are more likely to find their child enthusiastic about their own hobby, be it music or anything else.
Children learn by example all the time - without meaning to. Parents are the most readily available example, certainly in the first four or five years. That's the time to have Radio 3 on or, even more importantly, to be taking your child to live music. It doesn't have to be of a high standard but it does have to be live. Expose your child to live music when they are infants and their brain can learn music as a language at the same time it learns English. Recorded music is no substitute. (Similarly, if you want your child to speak Japanese when they grow up have someone Japanese read in Japanese to them while they're in their pram. They won't understand a word but their brain will get wired to recognize the phonemes so that when they learn it later in life they'll do so as a mother tongue. Recordings don't work.)
On the subject of Reward, it's very important. Neurologically, reward is an essential part of the learning process. The mistake is to make the promise of reward the incentive and motivation for the endeavour in the first place. It's one thing to give your child a reward for washing up/tidying their room or any other positive behaviour, but "Tidy your room and I'll give you Â£1" is likely to produce kids who absolutely won't tidy their room unless they are paid so to do. Reward doesn't have to be material. Appreciation and approval are preferable most of the time.
I expect that's a load of stuff no one wanted to know, so I hope you'll forgive me.
QUOTE(dacapo @ Jul 21 2006, 08:47 AM)
QUOTE(unmusicalmum @ Jul 20 2006, 06:35 PM)
QUOTE(yamaha @ Jul 20 2006, 01:49 PM)
I just hope my pupils aren't disappointed. My grade 4 will be though, her parents had promised her Â£40 for a PASS, Â£50 for a MERIT and Â£100 for a DISTINCTION!!
Needless to say, she worked her socks off!
Does anyone else find this a bit shocking? I'm feeling quite speechless. The poor kid - perhaps the extra pressure contributed to her getting the lowest pass mark as well as the stingy examiner.
My daughter who is a teacher and now also mother of a nearly-2-year-old, recently introduced me to the writing of Alfie Kohn. So far I've read his book Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason
and found it very thought-provoking. For readers' views of another of his books Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise and Other Bribes
go to the following Amazon page where you can read a number of Customer Reviews. http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/custome...239&s=books