The Most Irritating Question

You know what it is. Every child asks it when you present them with a multi-day or multi-week challenge or anything that requires consistent effort no matter how minimal. I have encountered this question many times during my teaching, and it irritates me every time. So…what is the most irritating question?

“What do I get if I do it?”

The real answer to the question is that the child gets a sense of accomplishment and gains new skills. They get to say, “I Did It!” Sadly, though, for today’s kids this has no value. Sadly again is that if you do come up with a prize, unless they see it as truly valuable they will refuse to do the assignment because to them it is not worth the effort. 

How Can I Know If Piano Is Right For My Child?

Sometimes I get calls from parents who are somewhat interested in enrolling their child in piano lessons but are a little reluctant because they are not quite sure if  their child will be interested enough to stick with it. I always tell parents that when dealing with children and piano lessons the parent needs to be able to commit to at least a school year of lessons before making a final assessment of whether or not this is right for their child. The reason for this is that learning to play an instrument is a slow process for most people since there are a variety of skills that must be learned. This takes time and dedication. Truthfully, there will be lots of days when the child will need the parent to encourage him or her to stick with it. The following is a list of clues that can help parents know if piano might be right for their child:

1. Your child gets excited whenever they hear music.

2. Your child often sings along with music or makes up her own songs to sing.

3. Your child sings in the tub/shower.

4. Your child loves to dance.

5. Your child watches other people play instruments with great interest.

6. Your child asks you to get him lessons.

These are just a few clues that learning a musical instrument might be right for your child. If your child exhibits any of these behaviors, give lessons a good try – at least a year and see what happens. They will love it and stick with it as long as you show a genuine interest in it (at home and at lessons) and you have the right teacher!

From Piano Parent to Piano Student – What My Mother Now Knows Pt. 3

Hello Readers! This is the final post of the series about my mother’s adventures as a piano student. In yesterday’s post she shared what it feels like to actually be on the bench during a lesson. Today you will get to find out about her biggest challenge so far in lessons. She writes:

I Can’t Play This!

After my first Hanon song, I procrastinated a month.  Then I started translating the next song.  I discovered that notes began to change within certain measures.  But that translation helped me get those notes correct.  Afterwards, I sat at the piano and pecked out the song.  As time progressed, I developed courage, moved beyond pecking, and played rhythmically.  On several occasions I told the teacher that I would be ready to play Hanon by the next week.  But I didn’t feel comfortable when that day came.  Within a two-month period I went and demonstrated to my teacher that I could play  my second Hanon song.  Her face lit up and she was very proud.  Indeed that let me know that I had WHIPPED Hanon just as I told her I would.  “Whew!  The work paid off.

Five months of piano lessons is an honor and a privilege.  I’m venturing more and am determined to let each song tell its own story.  I have a sway, a rock, and a love all my own!

Coming Full Circle – Twice!

You already know that I have moved from being a piano parent to a piano student and that my teacher also taught my younger daughter. But there is more! I taught my teacher, Gisele Gentry, when she was a college student. You never know where life will take you! Enjoy the journey!