Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Piano Lessons

My son has been taking piano lessons for nearly two years now. When he first started, I think my wife was hoping that he would turn out to be a piano prodigy. It quickly became apparent that he is not.

The routine when the piano teacher comes over to our house is that as soon as Kai hears the doorbell ring, he runs over to the family room, launches himself onto the couch, and buries his head in a pillow cushion. As we call for him to come to the piano and greet Vlad, he laughs, acts silly, and refuses to come until we go over to the family room to get him. Then, we have to take his hand and pull him to the piano as he playfully resists.

Once he starts playing, it can be hit or miss as to whether he will play nicely or not. Sometimes he will only want to play either the right or left hand portion of the song and not both. Then we have to threaten, I mean encourage him to play nicely.

Through all this, his teacher is extremely patient, certainly far more than I am, as he tries to get Kai to play. And when Kai finally does play, Vlad has a gentle approach to showing him how to play the current piece.

But this constant fighting is taking a toll on my wife. Even Kai’s daily piano practices with mom are battles as he often whines that the piece is too hard or that he only wants to play once or that he wants to play only a portion of the song. My wife is getting close to stopping the lessons.

After all, is it really worth it if Kai is resisting so much?

I’d hate to give up just yet. When he does focus and cooperate, he plays nicely. And I am still hopeful that he will gain an appreciation for being able to sit down at the piano and play music. He loves music, and my hope is that as he gets older, he will enjoy playing by himself.

I wonder if there is something we can change. Kai has high levels of anxiety about so many things; it would not surprise me if part of his reaction is due to having anxiety about playing a seemingly difficult piece. Also, his attention span seems shorter these days. If we can correct that, perhaps it will make a difference. Or, maybe Kai needs an instructor who can better show him how fun it is to play music.

His teacher said that next time he would bring a different lesson book, one that has more songs that Kai is familiar with. Hopefully that will make a difference.

I don’t want the music to stop. But if we can't hear the music over all the whining, then what is the point?


  1. Although the piano is the king of all instruments...there are other instruments. Does he have a particular inclination toward certain musical pieces played by a different instrument? Perhaps vocal lessons...on second thought...I think the voice is king of all musical instruments!

    Music is a valuable talent that, once learned, gives for the rest of his life. When he gets good enough...the ancillary rewards (appreciation from others) gives him a boost with others and he gets double the pleasure. He will later thank you for his musical skills...especially when he discovers the internal rewards of being able to make himself happy just by the ability of creating something beautiful.

  2. Yes, that is exactly why I would like for him to continue... so that he will discover the internal reward of being able to make himself happy. But, it is looking like it will be a long time before he gets to that point.


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