Why Does My Child Want To Quit Piano?
In June you will ask "Why does my child want to quit piano?" June, the end of the school year, is when kids who hate piano want out. You’ve paid thousands for lessons, and now your child says, “I hate piano, can I quit?”
There could be many reasons for this. Your child may simply be overloaded with activities. I don’t know a child today who isn’t too busy.
Piano Is Easy
Your child may have given piano an honest try, but maybe it’s not for them. Maybe the child wants to play rock piano, but the teacher doesn't go past Beethoven.
Think of the child's point of view. The lesson may be scheduled at a time that is inconvenient for the child, or for you. Traveling to and from the lesson may prove stressful.
The Reason Is The Teacher
But there’s another more obvious reason why piano lessons may not be panning out: the teacher. Have you sat in on a lesson or two, as some parents occasionally do? I work only in people’s homes, so I am quite used to parent’s eyes over my shoulder.
And frankly it doesn’t worry me because I get so absorbed in teaching the child and having fun with them that I really don’t notice a parent’s presence.
But the child and the teacher may feel differently about your visit. The child will tend to be a little tense, since they will want very much to please you. Your presence is in general disruptive and counter-productive for the child unless your visits are very occasional.
This is not true in all cases and depends entirely on the age and personality of the child, and the relationship between the teacher and child.
The Teacher's Point Of View
The teacher’s feelings about your presence is another case. You can make simple observations that will help you to determine why your child is uncomfortable. The following should be said of piano teachers in general so that we run no risk of “teacher-bashing.”
We’re really rooting for both sides here, the student and the teacher. In the teacher’s defense, the piano is a difficult instrument, like all instruments, to play well. The real problem is the expectations of teacher and parent.
Piano Is Really Very Hard Work
Teaching a child the piano from the beginning is a very tedious process for the teacher in many ways. They are going over and over what are for them the most painfully basic of concepts. It’s hard to do this unless you truly love kids.
Simply dealing with kids can be difficult, unless you know how to do it. Add to this the task of learning a noble, complex musical instrument, and you have a hard job.
Having said that in defense of the teachers, here are observations you can make in the piano lesson to see why your child is unhappy. How does the teacher handle repetition? Piano requires repetition as all musical instruments do.
A clever teacher disguises the repetition in the beginning. If the teacher goes over and over the same piece or section, it may be too much for the child. How much variety is there? Does the teacher do the same sort of activity again and again?
Many children have a very short attention span. Some teachers are impatient and gruff with the child. Even if the teacher is well intentioned, they are not suited to teaching children the piano.
Children are extremely sensitive in the one-on-one atmosphere of piano lessons, and the teacher must find a way of correcting the child without humiliating them or hurting their feelings. There’s no reason for a child to be unhappy with a sympathetic teacher.
It never pays for kids to take music lessons if they are not happy with them. They don’t have to love it, but if they hate it, it’s a sign something is wrong. Better to wait and try again later than to turn them off forever. And you run the risk of that if you force them to take piano lessons.