My Kid Wants to Quit Piano!?!?

Piano Cut in Half with ChainsawI have had many people over the years ask me: “Did you always love piano and piano lessons?” My answer is always an unequivocal “No, I did not always enjoy it!!”

I clearly remember going through several periods of less than stellar practice and motivation. I started playing when I was three, and by the time I got to middle school, I was wanting to quit. Really bad.

Part of the problem is that while many parents want their children to play the piano because it is ”good” for them, or because they themselves took piano lessons as children, few actually know how truly beneficial piano instruction is. For more information about that topic, please visit the Benefits of Piano Study section on this website.

Parents often also do not realize that children do not hate piano per se. Rather, they dislike the long-term commitment and daily year-round dedication that is required to master an instrument. Over the years, I have seen many parents who allowed their children to drift from instrument to instrument with the same result: the student did not want to commit to any of them after a few months of study. The long-term commitment required for successful music study is one of the many reasons to study piano. It is a skill sought after by employers, and college admissions officials; both know that music students will not quit after the first tough assignment or demanding course.

So, if as I do, you truly believe in the intrinsic value of a music education. If you believe, as I do and as Plato and Aristotle did more than two-thousand years ago, that music should be a integral part of the life and mind of any young person, the answer to the question: “Can I quit piano lessons?” Should be the same as to the questions: “Can I quit math?” or “Can I quit History?”

I help my students stay motivated with rewards. The Studio’s reward system acknowledges students’ hard work, participation in recitals and other music-related activities at the conclusion of each academic year. I can also help by gearing repertoire, within limits, towards your child’s tastes during those difficult years. Gershwin and Chopin may appeal to teenagers a little more than Bach or Beethoven and can be musically and educationally just as valid as learning goals. Because social development and acceptance are so important during the early teen years, I also arrange opportunities to participate with other teens—playing chamber music, duets, or any other musical group activity—which stresses classical training. The guiding principle is to find ways to make the musical experience as fun, exciting, and new as all those other activities that compete for a teenager’s time and interest.

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