Lauren Haley

September 11, 2019

Congratulations on your success as a best-selling author! Can you describe the inspiration behind your book, “Kids Aren’t Lazy”?

One of my students, whom we’ll call Maria, inspired the book. Maria’s father would repeat in lessons, “I know Maria is smart, I know she could be talented. The problem is that Maria is lazy!” Maria, just six years old at the time, had all the potential in the world. So I wrote Kids Aren’t Lazy to empower even the busiest parents, like Maria’s, with breakthrough strategies for furthering their child’s motivation, soft skills, and musical talent. It’s been my experience that motivation and talent are not innate, fixed in place, or even the result of perfect parenting. Instead, motivation could be defined as the learned rush of joy from conquering challenges, and talent redefined as the sum of current skills that makes learning new ones easier. Kids Aren’t Lazy is a heartfelt message to parents who believe in their children just as passionately as I do.

At Eastman you pursued a performance degree, but you are also an avid educator! How do you find balance between the two?

I chose performance because my dream has always been to make conservatory technique accessible to even the youngest beginners. How can students know what they might achieve musically if they don’t first hear that level of performance from their teachers? The balance between performance and pedagogy is natural because teaching really is the best form of learning. My students inspire me to keep growing as a performer.

How did your experiences at Eastman help shape the career you are currently maintaining?

So much of Eastman is reflected in Kids Aren’t Lazy and in my own studio. I was fortunate to belong to three ESM studios: Phillip Ying’s, Zvi Zeitlin’s, and Oleh Krysa’s. Phillip Ying shared with me the joy of chamber music. Zvi Zeitlin saw more potential in me than I saw in myself and invested so much in my development as a violinist. I will always be grateful for his determination. Oleh Krysa leads a studio full of kindness, friendship, and musical excellence, all while covering so much incredible repertoire!

I also had a fabulous mentor at the University of Rochester, Russell Peck. I took every English class he offered while I was studying at Eastman. He and his wife, Ruth Peck (a pianist) showed me that music and academics (writing, especially!) are hugely synergistic.

What advice would you give to any young writers wishing to publish a book?

The writing process can be exceptionally difficult, and that’s okay! It’s just like practicing: you can see the massive potential in your work even as you critique it. This is especially important when you’re hammering through the early phases.

Seek advice from other authors: sharing your manuscript helps you stay on track and refine your writing, even when you’re busy with your day job. When the feedback is motivating, run with it. When it’s discouraging, remember that not everyone can see potential in unfinished works. Look for people who can.

You perform, you write, you teach, you are engaged frequently as a speaker, and you find time for new projects! Where do you envision your career going in the next ten years?

Gosh, it’s so exciting to think of what we could build! I love partnering with performers, educators, and administrators to develop new programs for musical families based on strategies from Kids Aren’t Lazy.

Looking ahead to this year, I’ve been confirmed for a Neilly Series lecture at the University of Rochester on Tuesday, February 11th at 6pm. I’m also thrilled to share my recent interview with Michael Hagerty on Houston Matters / News 88.7 KUHF FM (Houston Public Media – my NPR station).