THE POINT OF PIANO LESSONS IF YOUR CHILD DOESN'T BECOME A
What is the
goal you see at the end of your child's piano lessons?
No sane parent
wants their child to be a professional pianist. It is a
heartbreaking, competitive business nightmare that you wouldn't
wish on your worst enemy.
realistic goal is that your child becomes a hobbyist, or an
amateur who enjoys playing in their own way.
A better vision
of the future for your child and the piano is this: someday your
child will be a successful professional and will enjoy playing
the piano in the evening. I teach many such adults, who are
stockbrokers, doctors and business people, salespeople, teachers
and from all walks of life.
The danger zone
is the years between early childhood, when lessons begin, and a
period of greater maturity, usually the teenage years. The fact
is that kids who had lessons during early childhood and
continued lessons without quitting become the only candidates
who survive into the teenage years, where they are mature enough
to pursue a decision to try the piano more seriously.
So the usual
progression of lessons-disillusion-quit produces kids who hate
the piano, and do not survive the middle years of childhood,
6-12, as a pianist. And they rarely take it up again.
teachers might do well to nurture this group, rather than take
their money and then discourage them. The result would be more
pianists, and more interest in the piano.
It is piano
teachers themselves who are, year by year, cutting down the
reservoir of potential piano hobbyists. This is the result of
their rigid methods that treat all students as cadets headed
straight for Carnegie Hall.
The real goal
of childhood piano lessons is to stimulate interest while
lowering expectations so that the child survives lessons long
enough to gain the maturity necessary to continue "properly."
In general, this happens in the teenage years.
The secret to
getting children to survive this period is lowering the bar, and
making it easier for the child to pursue piano as an elective,
recreational activity rather than a courser of dull academic
allows all children to eventually succeed. If a child shows
unusual promise, it will be obvious and proper lessons in the
conventional manner may be included in a course of study
suitable for the youth of the child.
The goal of a
foolish piano teacher is to disseminate their method. Nine out
of ten fail to grasp "the method," whatever it is.
The goal of a
forward thinking piano teacher is to keep as many students as
possible happily playing the piano by whatever means works.