Minnesota School Of Music September 2019

09. 2019 763-432-9713 www.mnschoolofmusic.com

THE MONTHLY MUSICIAN

WHAT FOOTBALL CAN TEACH MUSICIANS MAKING A DIFFERENCE ON THE FIELD

W hen you think about it, buses are back on the road, the leaves are changing, and football is getting ready to kick off. Now I may no longer be in school, and I’m a little old to be jumping in fall leaves, but the return of NFL games has me excited. Not only do I look forward to this season but I am also nostalgic for my past connection with the sport and the lessons it taught me. Naturally, I’ve been a Vikings fan my whole life. Long before we had Kirk Cousins on the team, I grew up cheering on Jim McMahon, Herschel Walker, and the other heroes of the ‘80s and ‘90s teams. Heck, I still have my Vikings starting-lineup action figures — my kids enjoy playing with them to this day! In fact, it looks like my son is growing up to share my love of the team and the game. Three years ago, Caleb and I actually witnessed a (small) part of Vikings history. On Aug. 28, 2016 we entered U.S. Bank Stadium for the team’s inaugural game against the Chargers. I thought seeing the building from the outside was impressive, but, as anyone who’s been inside “The Ship” will tell you, being under that glass ceiling is an incredible experience. there’s a lot of anticipation this time of year. School When I think back to my own experience playing football, I don’t jump to memories of touchdown passes or game-winning interceptions. I think

about my mom. As a full-time nurse and a single parent, she couldn’t make all of my games. It just wasn’t feasible — I knew she was doing her best to support us, whether she was there or at work. Then, in seventh grade, the injury happened. I wish I remembered more details about the play. All I remember is that I got the ball, ran for my life, and then took a hit. The next thing I knew, I was looking up at a circle of coaches staring down at me, concerned. I remember thinking, “This is just like when the pro players get injured on TV.” Then I felt the pain in my leg. It was worse than anything I’d ever felt. I started panicking. Was it broken? Was I going to lose my ability to walk? Could I ever play again? That’s when a new face entered the circle above me: It was my mom. Seeing her calmed me down almost instantly. Somehow, I knew everything was going to be okay, and the pain was fading away. I got up and was helped gingerly over to the sidelines. In reality, I’d rolled my ankle, painful for a seventh- grader, but nothing life-altering. Still, that moment I learned my mother was there for me sticks out in my mind. It underscores the real, tangible benefits of supporting your kids. Young musicians can really benefit from this, too. Sure, guitarists and pianists may not be rolling their ankles all that often, but a difficult chord progression can be incredibly frustrating, even disheartening. Having a parent there to give them a high-five when they succeed,

or commiserate with them when they struggle, can make a huge difference in your child’s willingness to practice. I feel like this kind of support comes more naturally where kids’ sports are concerned. Regardless of whether we’ve played the sport ourselves, we’re used to watching them on TV — rooting on our kids the way we root on the pros isn’t much of a leap. Supporting music practices can be more intimidating, however. I can’t tell you how many times parents have told me they don’t know enough about music to help their kids get better. But here’s the thing — you don’t need to have a musical bone in your body to help make music practice an incredible experience. My mother was not remotely a football player. She didn’t need to know what it was like to be injured on the field, what the rules were, or what my position was — none of that mattered. What made the difference was that she was there ; she saw my struggles and supported me through them. I had coaches to teach me the ins and outs of football, but none of them could make me feel calmer and more confident than my mother. As parents, that’s the best thing you can give your child. Here’s to a great season,

–Eric Nehring

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