“Mom, I want to quit piano lessons.” Every parent hears this sometimes, and I used to hear it a lot when raising our four children. None of them, including Eric, always liked to practice. And kids can often find an endless list of other activities that are more appealing.
Fortunately my husband had a plan in mind. He told our four children, “You can stop lessons when you prove to me that you’ve learned to play well.” That meant he expected them to be able to perform several pieces from memory, understand chording and use it to accompany, compose, improvise, and read competently enough to work up printed music on their own.
As the teacher but also the mother, I was thankful for Michael’s support. When Christian asked me over and over again to quit, I sent him to his dad. End of discussion.
Practicing is a discipline, but once that discipline is exercised and a certain level of competence achieved, playing becomes a joy. In Christian’s case, for example, he quit lessons as soon as possible and vowed to never touch the piano again. A few years later he was back at it, this time on his own. Now he plays almost daily and has also used his talents as back-up keyboardist for two touring bands as well as the worship team at his church.
I’m glad his father didn’t let him quit.