Saturday, May 19, 2012

goodbye piano

My husband and I decided to let our oldest son quit taking piano lessons.  He has taken piano for two years now.  It was a painful decision.  I teared up as I placed his books in the closet and closed the door.  He was so good at it, but he disliked it immensely.  It is interesting to watch your kids grow into themselves, and not into you or your husband... as would be expected... right?

When is it ok to let your kids quit?  My husband is worried that our daughter will also want to quit her piano lessons now.  Am I starting our family down a slippery slope?  Or worse, am I instructing them on how to avoid hard things? (...because our oldest now knows exactly what to do)

Complain bitterly - on a daily basis - before, after, and while you participate in the activity
Negotiate with mother regarding the initiation and later length and quality of your participation in the activity - until she can hardly see or think straight
Appear as if you are diligently struggling to succeed - with tears in your eyes... as you participate in the activity
Politely and routinely - at least every other day - request that you be allowed to stop participating in the activity, offering a sound reason for your request

Then... wait two years, and mother will inevitably give in.

I will miss dearly the sound of E playing the keys on our piano.  Maybe, just maybe, he will miss it too.


From A Doctors Wife said...

This may not be what you want to hear.... I wish my parents would have made me keep taking lessons. It's hard to spend money for something that your kids don't enjoy doing everyday, but now as a adult I really wish I could play better than I do. I can play for fun, I can barely play when anyone sings, and basically my half developed talent isn't serving anyone well. Had I taken lessons more seriously, and taken them longer I may be proficient enough to enjoy it and bless others.

MedStud's Wife said...

I'm going to ditto what was already said. I was took piano lessons from kindergarten to college, and in the end, I LOVED the piano. It is such a blessing to be able to play in church, seminary, and institute. He may miss it now, but he'll for sure miss it when he's older.

Anonymous said...

The first few years are rough for any instrument and once they hit their stride, they'll love it. (I'm a former music teacher). Maybe it's something he can revisit later but try not to let too much time pass, as they tend to get more squirrely as they get older.

Marisa said...

Later, he will probably wish he had continued taking lessons - at that point, he can can continue to learn. In high school, I refused to attend Confirmation classes. I regret my decision, but I enrolled in adult Confirmation classes this year and was Confirmed Easter weekend. On the other hand, I quit basketball in high school in favor of cross country and track, and it was a great decision for me. After I complained about an activity, my parents would make me stay with it for 6 months. If I still didn't like it, I could explain the reasons why I want to quit and propose an alternative activity - if you quit basketball, I'm going to run cross country, and if I quit Confirmation classes, I'm going get a job working 3 days a week - then I could quit. I feel like that was a pretty good way to handle it.

Anonymous said...

I never regretted that I stopped taking piano lessons. Sure - it's 60 years later and I would like to be able to play beautifully but it would have taken many years of lessons and my parents didn't have the money for that. Plus I didn't have the desire. Maybe E will become interested in another musical instrument - guitar, drums, trumpet? - and now he has a background that will facilitate that. It will work out for the best. He'll learn important lessons either way.

Jamie Lamb said...

Interesting topic--everybody seems to have an opinion on this one!

I truly think that each parent needs to make the call personally--family harmony is more important than piano in the long run, and you know when enough is enough.

But with that said, there are a few life skills that are non-negotiable for me as I raise my kids. Swimming lessons, piano lessons, school work etc. are a few of the things I definitely want my kids to succeed at whether they like it or not. I completely respect that those may not be your priorities, they just happen to be some of mine.

He's still young anyway, maybe he'll be more up for it in a year or so if you think it's important enough. Good luck!

Katie Tyler said...

Boy, there are a lot of comments on this one! And I am on the fence. I wish I would have stuck with piano longer- but I was also miserable when I was taking lessons. Years later I tried again with a new teacher and it made a huge difference (and maybe so did my maturity) but it was so hard to discipline myself and very hard to pick up a skill like that as an adult.
The good thing here, is that you are helping him find the things he loves (like sports) and letting him chooses some things he wants to give up. If nothing else, he is learning how to make choices and live with the consequences. And at least he is finding himself (like you said) :)