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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Mom, Please Can I Stop Piano Lessons?

These were the words my daughter uttered through tears. “Why do you want to stop?” I asked. She went on to explain that she is too busy—she has too much homework, soccer practice and besides all of that her brothers don’t have to play. These were all good points, however she has been playing for two years and it seemed a shame to let all of her hard work fall to the wayside.

Reluctantly, my husband and I agreed that she could take a break. I must admit that paying for weekly lessons (which is not cheap by any means) and trying to crack the whip to practice was not much fun for me either. It was just another thing that I had to stay on top of. There have been many days when an hour before her lesson I realized she had not done her piano homework and we scrambled to get it done. I’m no help, I can’t read music anymore. I have a bad track record with music—at age 8 I quit the piano after 3 months, I stopped playing the flute after 6th grade and as an adult I made it through 6 weeks of guitar lessons. I wish I had stuck with one of those instruments. I guess that is why I want her to continue playing in some way, shape or form. I don’t want her to look back one day and regret that she stopped playing (this is a hard concept to explain to a 4th grader).

Fortunately, I happened to mention this dilemma to one of my friends. She had some terrific insights and advice. She recommended I try a different approach. Maybe it was time to switch teachers (her teacher was great BTW), try someone new with a different style. My friend helped me realize that even practicing with a high school student and just playing for the sake of playing might be best for my daughter right now. So this afternoon she is giving it a try. A high school friend is going to come over and help her practice the piano. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this will work. That this will keep her interest going and that she’ll want to play and practice just because it is fun.

Share Your Story
Did your child take a break from piano lessons or did he/she stop altogether? At what point did you let he/she quit? Was it two years in, three? If they continued, what did you do to encourage them to keep going?

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