Make Your Kid Hate Piano Lessons
Parents don't realize how easy it is to make your kid hate piano lessons. Offhand comments can have a devastating effect on a child's desire to play the piano, and as a result the child never plays again. A year ago, I was teaching piano to a 13 year-old. He's a very bright kid, and has a great attitude with himself. He is patient and non-judgmental.
He played countless pieces, Beethoven, pop songs, Bach. I had taught him since he was six. Seven years of hanging out at a piano half an hour a week. But recently he composed another song, a kind of heavy rock riff. He is very proud of it, and I am, too.
The Kid Was Hooked
He plays it incessantly, and I can only imagine how much he plays it when I am not there. Thus his obsession is exactly what I am talking about when I say, "Get the child to play something they love and want to play over and over again." After all, repetition is the only way to refine music.
As time went by, I got him to understand the concept of variation, and with that in mind he proceeded to compose section after section. Some were better than others, but he was in a white heat of inspiration, and forged ahead.
Then Came The Voice From The Kitchen
At every lesson he would pull out his new version of this piece and play it for me. Privately, I thought it was a bit repetitious, but very good for a first-time composition from a 13 year-old. I listened intently.
Then one day a voice came from the kitchen. "I hate that piece," wailed his Mom, because she had heard it ten thousand times.
But what she really did with that statement is to replace her annoyance with the destruction of her son's interest in the piano. She could have been silent and said to herself, "My son is composing! And he loves it!" But she decided to be selfish, and thus destroyed his piano experience.
His Desire To Play Was Gone
I watched his face. Because of his Mom's comment, he was crushed. He had no concept of any reception other than complete acceptance. The playing stopped, and he said, "I don't want to play any more." He left the room. The lesson was over. As a result of her comment, all lessons were over forever.
His Interest Was Crushed
I said nothing to the mother, because she clearly didn't understand what she had done, and nothing I could say would make her understand. After that, lessons went downhill. No piece I picked out for him or suggested was enough to pique his interest.
And so his interest in the piano withered and died, all because Mom didn't realize the gift her son was giving her.
If your child composes anything at the piano, praise it to the skies or keep your mouth shut.
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