My kids have been playing the piano for over five years. They used to have lessons every week in school, then in our home, then we downgraded to every other week.
Their schedules got busy. They had homework and sports and other activities that were their priorities. They started to practice less. And now every once in a while, my 14-year-old daughter and my 11-year-old son tell me that they want to quit piano.
I reject the possibility outright.
I want them to keep playing the piano, even if they have less time to devote to it and if they are doing it under protest.
But they’ve been asking me why lately, and I’ve been having a hard think about it.
So here is my list of why I want my kids to keep playing the piano.
1. I do not play a musical instrument and I’ve always regretted it. Yes, I know, I shouldn’t live through my kids. But I feel that their music literacy is a gift that they should not waste.
2. They are just the right-kind-of-good at it. Let’s be clear: They are no prodigies. No one has their eye on them as the next Beethoven. They are more athletes than musicians, and yet they can play. It won’t overwhelm their lives, it will enhance it.
3. The piano is not a piece of furniture. When the kids started taking piano lessons, we rented a piano. And then when the rental period ended, we bought it. At $5,000ish it was quite an investment. And I want it to pay dividends. Musical ones, preferably.
4. I don’t believe in quitting. Oh, I believe in quitting things that are obviously a waste of time, like a low carb diet, but I don’t believe that piano is a waste of time. I think persevering through the practice and the lessons will pay off.
5. I like the music. I get such a kick that my kids can create such beautiful music. It’s uncanny to me that the same kids who can have an endless argument about totally stupid crap can play so beautifully.
6. I think it’s good for them. There are times when they are tired or bored and yet when they sit down to practice the piano, it transforms them. The music lifts them, it distracts them, it does all that stuff that music is supposed to do.
7. They’d just waste the extra time they had with TV or electronics or bickering.
So I’m thinking that they should continue piano. And college will be a time when they can decide for themselves whether to drop it or not.
Photo source: iStockPhoto
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