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You shouldn’t let your child quit piano lessons. There, I said it. But first, hear me out. I am both a parent of four children who each wanted to quit lessons, and a piano teacher of many children who did quit. And while I don’t believe this statement is hard and fast (as explained in my post, 5 Reasons you SHOULD let your child quit piano lessons), I do think parents tend to give in too quickly.
For instance, your child begged for piano lessons for months, and, within weeks of starting, is begging to quit. She won’t practice, “it’s too hard”, and she doesn’t like it. The situation escalates into more of a fight than it’s worth for you. You’ve already spent countless hours taxiing her to lessons while you wait, not to mention money for books, lessons, and gas (which ain’t cheap).
Coming from the perspective of someone with a degree in music who’s taught a number of years and parented these piano protestors myself, I want to share with you five reasons why I don’t believe you should let little Susie give up. (Yet.)
1. Regret eventually surfaces.
The first reason you shouldn’t let your child quit piano lessons is he’ll regret it later in life. I hear it all the time – including confessions from my own oldest daughter, who fought me tooth and nail until I let her quit. She now wishes she played better. Think about it. Have you ever heard an accomplished pianist voice regret over all the years of practice?
2. Practice breeds discipline.
I once taught a couple of sisters who had very little natural talent. They also had no desire to practice. Upon conversing with the mother over this delicate subject, she said, “I know that. But it’s not about talent. It’s about discipline. It keeps them busy and occupies their time, and also implements daily practice and responsibility for attending lessons, books in hand. When they’re done high school, they can quit if they like.”
She gave them a pep talk, they improved their practice skills and, to my surprise, developed talent over the years. The girls grew up to be very successful – one of which is a doctor. Kudos to that wise mama.
3. Commitment is a learned trait.
Kids need to learn that if a piano teacher is procured, that means she is getting paid to teach. It is her job. Money is being exchanged. She needs paid every week for her job just like mom or dad. (Sadly, some parents need to learn this.)
Your child observes from a very young age whether or not you take commitment seriously according to how you handle their practice and lesson attendance. You shouldn’t let your child quit piano lessons until you’ve at least fulfilled your monetary obligations. (And maybe your child should fork over allowance money for missed practice time?)
4. Self Esteem flourishes.
As little Billy learns, he improves. As he improves, he plays for grandma, grandpa, Uncle Charlie, Aunt Sally, and the friendly neighbor darting in to borrow a cup of sugar. He gains praise, which builds pride in her accomplishment. Don’t discredit this one, mama – it bears a lot of weight. I found this to be true in my own life.
The memory of my college senior recital is still a highlighted achievement – the culmination of years of blood, sweat and tears.
5. Future instruments are more easily learned.
So I let my eldest quit piano after 5 years because I was not only the teacher but the mom, and needed to pick my battles with “Ye Old Strong Willed One”. But I didn’t let her off the hook. Because she was musically inclined, I let her choose another instrument. She chose flute, and became quite proficient – AND, she was able to read the music due to her piano background.
You shouldn’t let your child quit piano lessons because letting them quit something “hard” too soon teaches them it’s ok not to do hard things. Give it a reasonable amount of time, say, six months to a year. Be willing to be invested in your child’s future as well as his sense of commitment. He could develop a skill set to earn money later in life.
Even though I realized my dream of becoming an accomplished pianist, I wanted to quit plenty of times too. I’m sure thankful my parents did let me!
Raising a Rockstar
Nurturing your child’s musical talents; how to get kids to practice every day in 10 minute chunks
Part of the Emotion Coaching eCourse
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