Why is being in a musical ensemble so important for a child?
Most parents expect obvious results from their child's music lessons. They want to see some 'tangible' progress, such as learning repertoire, reading ability and theory. While I do think that these aspects of education are important, I find that when made the entire focus of the lesson, they hinder progress. This is why when I create a curriculum for a student I look at what the product should be and I make it very clear to the parent that we are creating a love for music as well as a well rounded musician, not just a technically proficient percussionist/pianist.
The word product can mean many things, however in this case I define it by asking the student a few simple questions; What do you want to learn? What interests you? What do you want to be as a musician? There answers help me to form a curriculum that combines musical theory as well as aspects that will be fun for them and hold their attention.
This usually leads me to focussing on compositional techniques (which help with reading music), Jamming and non verbal communication (which helps with performance and musical understanding) as well as letting the student choose their repertoire (we often write our own or pick popular songs or I write repertoire to fit their needs). Through all of this the product is not only a more well rounded musician, but also a student who enjoys what they are learning.