As I look at my budget with an eye on cutting back more to get out of debt more quickly, the thing that consistently leaps out at me are the music lessons. My younger two have taken lessons for almost four years now and the two oldest for a couple of years. Last fall, when I lost a long term client and almost a third of my steady income, I had to cut back…first thing I looked at was music.
Now many would ask, why do you do music? Surely the kids wouldn’t mind not having to practice regularly and taking it out of your budget altogether would certainly speed up the get out of debt process?
My answer: Multitudes of studies have shown that music opens up the brain in ways no traditional learning can, and having two children with some learning issues this is a huge factor. In addition, music speaks to the soul and temperament as nothing else does and I want, and my children need to have that outlet and release with everything else going on in their lives. Lastly, I have two children who have shown a significant aptitude for music, not concert piano type aptitude but enough that I want it to be available to them.
That is my current justification for continuing with music lessons so how have I made it work in my budget? Well, I think I’m found a good middle ground…at least for now.
First, we only do music lessons from mid-September through April. This is when we do our heaviest schooling (homeschool) and we are pretty consistent with lessons and practice.
Second, and this was a change last fall when my budget was cut significantly, each child only takes one instrument and only goes every other week. So each child gets two lessons a month. (I worked out with the teachers to only do 4 weeks a month to 1) save money and 2) be more consistent with my budget.)
Third, we find most all lessons, music, etc. supplements online and either use an iPad or print them so we don’t incur music book/printing charges.
Lastly, and logically to me, all the kids share the musical instruments. We have 1-folk guitar, 1-full size keyboard and 1-full size set of drums, and these are their only musical options. (My daughter is longing to play the violin; however, I have pushed that off a couple of years telling her that I had to see consistency in her practice and dedication to existing instruments before I invested in another one.)
So what do you think? Do you agree that continuing music is a good idea? Or should I eliminate it to speed up my debt pay off?
We will do evaluations in a month for end of school year term, so if advised to cease and desist, it would really not affect us til next fall when music started back up.
I had already written this when I stumbled upon this video from TED Talks…again backing up how important music lessons are, but I also consider that putting them off a year or two to get out of debt probably wouldn’t by pass our window. I’m anxious to get your thoughts on this.