Do you remember the first time you realized your hands had grown enough for you to reach an octave on the piano? It happened to my daughter today, and she was so excited! She yelled for me to come look and take a picture. These are the moments that are priceless.
Parents, moments like this are the reason to encourage yourself and your child to hang in there when music learning gets tough.
“Never pass up a good chance to shut up.”
Those are the words I heard J.R. Ewing say as I watched the TV series Dallas a few days ago in an episode from this past season. You just never know when you are going to hear a bit of wisdom like that! It was such an unexpected comment – he was speaking to his son about business negotiations – that I had to rewind it just to hear it again!
Of course I relate most things to music, music teaching, and/or parenting. I think the statement applies to all three, actually. Great musicians know that there is much beauty in well placed silence. Great music teachers know that deliberate moments of silence allow students time to understand more deeply, to explore, and to create. These same moments of silence are what give life to music and allow the notes to breathe. Great parents know that when we are silent we can hear our children speak – not merely by their words, but by their actions and by the way they respond to various situations.
So, kudos to the writer or writers responsible for this magnificent line! And now here is my chance to shut up.
This is a picture of my Dad and me on my wedding day 17 years ago today! As I think about him on this Father’s Day a very happy memory of how he supported my music learning when I was a child comes to my mind. Although I did not live with him as a child, my Dad made sure that I had a piano at his house so I could practice when I came to visit. I was so happy when he bought that piano and I played it all the time when I was there. Today, it occurs to me just how special that was for him to buy a brand new piano just for me to use one weekend out of a month. When I consider that many of today’s parents hesitate to even buy their child a $100 keyboard when taking lessons – let alone a piano, I am deeply humbled. My Dad must have seen something musical in me even then. I am so thankful for this gift he gave me and I hope he feels good knowing that because he supported my music learning each and every one of the families that I work with is benefitting from it.
If you have parents in your studio or prospective parents who question whether or not to make the investment in a good quality piano because they are not sure if they will stick with it, share my story with them or a similar story of your own and hopefully they will want to be a hero just like my Dad is.