The Real Goal of Children's Piano Lessons
What is the real goal of children's piano lessons? Do you have realistic expectations for your child in terms of musical talent, accomplishment and lessons? Do you want your child to be a pop star, or Leonard Bernstein or Kanye West? Or do you just want your child to enjoy playing the piano?
Parents need to think carefully before embarking on piano lessons for their children. What do you really want? Do you want to make a professional musician out of your child? If you do, you’re on the edge of child abuse. The world of music today is a brutal business in which young lives are chewed up and spit out for the benefit of a very few corporations.
No one wins, except the few music producers who churn out the violent garbage that the masses will buy. That is simply the truth, and has been for many years.
No More Carnegie Hall
There is, in essence, no more “Carnegie Hall” to which you may lead your child. The classical record business is gone, and classical artists do not have careers any more. They live from one month to the next, except for a very, very few superstars.
These classical superstars are in a selfish class by themselves. They return token rewards to the community while taking as much money as they can in their brief careers. When was the last time an opera star or piano virtuoso came to your kid’s school? In the old days, they did.
So having your child be a musician can’t be your goal. No one in his right mind wishes the life of a professional musician on a child.
Imagine The Child As Adult Hobbyist
Try to see deeper into the future, envisioning your child ten or twenty years from now. Your child will be a young adult, and your goal should be to have your child, someday, be able to sit down and play music which pleases them, and which they enjoy playing. That’s it. That’s the goal, and it is hard enough to realize.
Playing music can’t be a struggle, or work, it has to be play. Yes, there will be hard work to be done, but if the child is made to hate it they will never take up the instrument themselves some day in the future. But much of conventional piano lessons work against that goal.
A Bad Piano Experience Is Forever
If lessons make your child hate the piano, the likelihood is that they will never go to a piano again. Those are the facts. What you must do is set a lower goal, and if your child exceeds it, so much the better. Thus, the real goal of childhood piano lessons is to not make the child hate piano.
Failure Is Poison
Children naturally shrink from failure. Failure is an emotional scar that children have to live with, whether they’re aware of it or not. Don’t expect them to ask for more of it. So think ahead. Imagine your child at eighteen or twenty-five, or forty. Will they pick up the piano again? Will they try?
The answer lies in the lessons they are taking right now. If those childhood lessons teach them that they can enjoy piano in their own way, at their own pace, you have a chance. If the teacher convinces them that the piano is impossible for them, they will never be convinced otherwise.
Kids Try More Than Once
I have seen countless kids turn this corner, and take up the piano again after early childhood failure. Often, I am the teacher selected to start the process again. There are a thousand reasons for failure at the piano. There are other factors besides practically insurmountable obstacles such as lack of talent.
Dyslexia, ADHD, personality, parents, school. All of these affect the outcome of the initial set of lessons. Childhood piano lessons are not the goal, they are the seed. You need to patiently water the garden for future harvest.