Allow Your Child To Hate Piano Lessons
As a parent, you need to allow your child to hate piano lessons. Letting those feelings out is the only chance you have of saving your investment in your child and lessons. You'll never go wrong if you ask a child directly, as teacher or parent, if they are enjoying playing the piano. They may be surprised that you care to ask. What you hear should help you to be a better teacher or parent. If you think about it, the most effective teacher is one who is constantly monitoring the child's reaction to the learning process. If you keep them excited, then teaching them will be easy. Bore them and you'll be pushing stones uphill or herding cats.
Kids Want Fun, Parents Want Accomplishment
Many kids like piano lessons that are easy-going and creative. Parents, on the other hand, may crave guidelines and discipline. They may want, need or expect quasi-military, rigorous regimentation. This is usually due to the mistaken belief that discipline is a requisite of piano lessons. Most kids, unless already quite accomplished, hate this mentality. Other children don't really want to play piano at all, in the same way another person might not like a certain food.
The Challenge Of Indifference
These "difficult" kids are my favorite students, because I know I can get them to play, eventually. I enjoy the slow transformation from indifference to at least tolerance, if not acceptance. Kids who have an enormous amount of natural talent will not mind a modicum of hard work. They already are comfortable with the general idea of the piano. These kids expect more from it, largely because it comes easily to them and they learn quickly.
Play Whatever Music The Kid Likes
If you get a naturally talented kid like this, stand out of the way. Some kids like Beethoven, so play Beethoven. If they like jazz, play jazz. But these natural piano kids are the exception. We're talking about the average child, who can take or leave piano lessons. These kids have a reasonable amount of intellectual aptitude for the piano. These children form a huge, broad majority. You will find that they have many reasons to want to start piano. Then there are different reasons to continue, and yet others that make them ultimately want to quit.
The Factor Of Child Age
You have to distinguish and weigh numerous factors, such as age. The younger the child, the less they are sure of why they do anything. They are only aware that they do or do not enjoy the activity. The older the child, the readier they are for the intellectual challenges, but they are more distracted by other facets of life. So ask the child how it's going. Assure them at the beginning of the conversation that if they want to quit, you'll tell their Mom to let them quit and no one will get mad at all. You may discover that they are having a bad day. Or maybe they have a friend over for a play date and they are anxious to spend time with their friend. Or maybe they are just tired, hot or hungry. But if they tell you, with the candor of childhood, "Piano is boring," you have your review. Listen to what they say and find a way not to bore them. That's your job, should you decide to accept it.
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