Midori: I think that every child should have the opportunity to play or explore whatever kind of music speaks to them and to take that experience into adulthood. The eventual manifestation could be as a devoted listener, a casual player or a paid professional musician; whatever that might be, simply having those musical opportunities as a child ultimately benefits the individual as well as the larger culture. No matter the level of experience or talent, I am always amazed by children’s capacity to love music and to embrace it. At the very beginner level, the focus should be on the individual and to nurture the child as a whole person, rather than focusing on a specific talent or skill. For instance, at Midori & Friends (my nonprofit organization in New York), we emphasize a process-oriented, rather than goal-oriented, approach to music education. As I mentioned above, whether or not this young person grows up to play the violin professionally or for fun or not at all, just having this exposure to the arts will benefit and enrich their lives tremendously.
This interview with Midori is worth reading. We had the opportunity to bring Midori to our school last year. Her commitment to music education is unwavering. Notice her statement about nurturing "the child as a whole person." That needs to be the core of our educational mission in this country.