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    “But I Don’t Wanna Play The Piano….”

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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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    What To Do When Your Child Wants to Stop Taking Music Lessons

    For every child who begs his parents to stop taking music lessons there are just as many adults who, years later, regret that their parents let them quit.

    So, what do you do when your child wants to stop? How do you find the balance motivating them to learn something that they might appreciate later in life and not having them dread touching the keys on the piano?

    Like many other parenting issues, the answer is not easy.  Still, here are some tips to dealing with the issue:

     

    Have An Exit Strategy: Talk to any entrepreneur, and chances are she has carefully crafted her exit strategy just as much as she has spent time thinking about her company’s launch.

    Parents also need their own version of an exit strategy for music lessons and communicate it clearly with their young musician.

    When your child approaches you about quitting you should already have an idea about how long you want music lessons to last.  Some parents require a year’s worth of lessons, hoping that the child will understand the fun and benefits of music in that amount of time. Other parents stand firm that music lessons will last throughout high school. Find a length of time that works with your parenting philosophy, your child and your beliefs the power of music education.

     

    Communicate: Does your child want to genuinely end music lessons or is he currently struggling through some difficult passages and techniques? Talk to his educator at The Music Junction and ask about any issues occurring during instruction. Sometimes some extra encouragement or added patience can solve the problem.

     

    Be Honest: As adults, we know the numerous benefits of exercising but that doesn’t mean we’re on the treadmill every day and eagerly sweating it out. Sometimes it is hard to find motivation.

    Your children have the same feelings.

    Acknowledge that practicing can feel tedious and repetitive at times and it’s fine not to love it.  In fact, famed cellist Yo-Yo MA once told the Washington Post about his childhood:  “I hated practicing! I spent more time thinking about practicing and dreading it than actually practicing.”

    As adults we understand that practicing makes us better musicians but children do not intuitively comprehend this concept. Help them make the connection.

    Make Music Fun: At The Music Junction we offer recitals as a way to make music fun and a social experience. Find other ways to achieve this goal. For the young child, that could mean setting up music play dates with children who are also taking lessons. For older children, that may mean finding music summer camps where they can make friends and become better players.

    The Music Junction offers piano and voice lessons at our Burbank and Hollywood locations. Call us today to learn more.

    See Our Rates Contact Us

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