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“Forcing a child to play an instrument rarely leads to the love of music making we want.”
(Dr. Robert A. Cutietta, author of “Raising Musical Kids”)
I have very mixed feelings about this statement. I was one of those children who’s parents “forced” them to play an instrument. In my family learning to play the piano was not optional for my siblings and me. Practicing the piano regularly was also not optional.
My parents made a deal with me during one of my many rants about wanting to quit. They said that if I could find 3 adults that had quit playing piano as a child and didn’t regret it then they would let me quit. I tried for years, asking every grown up I came across. Needless to say, my parents won. Every adult I spoke to said “I wish I would have kept going.” Not only did I develop my own love for the piano, but I also went on to study music in college, perform on multiple stages worldwide, and even become a piano teacher myself.
We’ve all heard of the cognitive and physical benefits of learning an instrument as a child. We’ve heard how students who study an instrument for an extended period of time have improved grades and test scores, increased creativity, and stronger balance in left/right brain function. Even so, it can be very difficult when our kids refuse to practice or argue to quit taking lessons. The competition is fierce with the internet, video games, sports, and even school work. As a teacher, I encourage parents to push through and continue through those phases (which is exactly what they are) in setting non-negotiable standards for their children. I do, however, recognize the need to maybe switch to another instrument or introduce new musical genres into the students repertoire. Music teachers and parents can work together as these different stages of growth arise for the young musician.
There are always ways to keep it fresh!
The Music Junction offers piano and voice lessons at our Burbank and Hollywood locations. Call us today to learn more.
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