Tomorrow, our son is participating in the local Federated Music Clubs Festival for the 8th year in a row. It’s about time I add a post, so I thought I would take a moment to thank the clubs for the opportunities they provide for so many students. The kids in our Suzuki Strings program (and the piano students from around the city) have all been practicing like mad to earn their Superior ratings (we hope). They learn music theory and get to perform some pretty complicated pieces. We would still have a good strings program in our town without the Music Club Festival, but this gives many of the kids the incentive they need to really polish a piece. That and recital are the high points of the year, at least for individual performance. Though only some will go on to be professional musicians, the appreciation for music that they develop, along with the discipline that it takes to excel, will remain with them their whole lives. And many will continue to play in one context or another for the rest of their lives. Without the many hours of volunteer work that goes into organizing the Festival, many of these kids would not receive the encouragement they need to excel with their chosen instrument.