It’s a question nearly every parent must face: should you let your child quit piano lessons? You want to be sensitive to your child’s desires, but you also want to set them up for success in life – and thus a predicament is born.
In this blog, our London piano teachers weigh in on whether or not you should let your child quit, when an appropriate termination period would be, and what questions to ask as you think about it.
Should I Let My Child Quit Piano?
No. Generally speaking, both you and your child will regret quitting in the future, and the problem most likely isn’t the piano itself, but rather discipline or motivation. You may need to work on discipline, find a better teacher, or tap into what makes the piano worthwhile. Some young students “burn out” because they are forced to compete, constantly work on difficult repertoire, or their desire to play certain genres of music are ignored.
It’s a two-way street: students must learn patience and commitment, and teachers/parents need to learn how to engage the student and pique his or her interests.
Here are some reasons not to let your child quit piano:
Discipline and Commitment are Learned Behaviors
No child wants to sit and practise at the piano (in fact, we hardly blame them!). They don’t want to sit through literature class either — but you make them do it. The ability to listen, learn, and study comes with practise, and piano is no different. The discipline always pays off.
You Might Be Treating Piano Like an Extracurricular – You Shouldn’t
Many parents treat piano lessons like sports or another extracurricular activity. These activities are not mandatory, and they are often the first thing to go when the student becomes overwhelmed or starts to underperform in school.
The problem is that piano cannot be viewed this way — if you are serious about giving your child the gift of musicianship, you will have to treat it with the same gravity as a course at school.
Reasons Not To Quit Piano
Your Child Will Eventually Regret Quitting
A US poll at the Baltimore Sun recently stated that 85% of adults who do not play a musical instrument wish that they had learned at some point. Piano teachers everywhere can attest to the fact that many adults come to us late in life (it’s never too late!) and are still determined to get started.
But not every adult can afford the time to practise and take lessons — most adults simply wish they had learned as a child. Children have time to practise, and believe it or not, it’s much easier for a child to learn (after a certain age) than it is for an adult!
It’s a Long Term Investment
Playing the piano is hard, and it takes years to become proficient. But with the investment comes huge returns.
Many parents give in to the short term pressure of a child who doesn’t want to practise, but they lose sight of the big picture — a child who grows into a teenager or adult with the ability to play and participate with music. Such children always thank their parents for “making” them continue learning piano.
Additionally, it’s hard to overstate the profound impact the piano can have on one’s self esteem. Many adults wish they had an artistic skill to round out their lifestyle, and many adults pursue lessons to improve their sense of worth and make themselves more interesting. How much better would it be if they had simply grown up as a pianist?
Should I Push My Child To Play the Piano?
Not necessarily. Once a child feels like he must do something or else he’ll get in trouble, the joy may be lost. A better approach is the “discovery” approach. When they are young, surround them with music and musicians (take lessons for yourself if you’d like!). Perhaps make the piano a family activity, and let your young child play around at the keyboard without any structured learning. Then, when they are interested, you can pursue more formal piano education.
You might want to read our blog about the best age to start piano for more information.
When Should I Let My Child Quit Piano?
If you must let your child quit (we understand that life happens), wait until they have accrued a critical amount of piano knowledge — if you let them quit within one or two years, that knowledge will probably be lost, and it will have been for nothing.
Wait until they can read bass and treble clef notes, sight read piano music (it doesn’t have to be advanced), play a bit by ear, recognize some music theory elements (chords, keys, etc.), and play with good technique. That way, even if they have to quit lessons, they will be able to keep playing on their own, teach themselves new music, and pick up where they left off in the future.
Talk To The Experts At the London Piano Centre
If you have questions about piano lessons for your child or live piano lessons online, we would be happy to speak with you. We’ve taught many students of all ages and skill levels, and we’d be happy to set up a consultation lesson for you or your child. Call us at +44 7710 617106 today.