Thursday, April 29, 2010

"mom taught" piano lessons

I have played the piano since I was five years old.  I LOVE the piano.  I'm not sure I EVER loved lessons.  I am so glad that my mother had the foresight to keep me in them - even through all the fighting and tears.  She never forced me to take them.  I wanted to learn to begin with.  But when I decided I didn't like lessons anymore, she let me know that if I quit piano, I would also have to quit the other activities I was in (sports and dance).  She knew that I loved piano (just not the lessons), and down the line, I would be sorry if I quit.

These days, I hear people tell me all the time how much they wish they had stayed in lessons.  There comes a point, if you stick with it, that you are good enough to play the songs that you love.  That is when it is so enjoyable.

Fast forward from my childhood to my life as a mother.  My children have grown up with music in our home.  They expressed a desire to learn piano.  Oh boy - yes I knew what was coming.  Ditto my life as a child learning piano.  Here come the tears and the wailing and the "I hate piano.  Why do I have to do this?  Why won't you let me quit?"  And yes... that all came.

So why do I do it?  It would definitely be much easier on me to have someone else teach my children, but GOODNESS, when you add up the price of four children in weekly private lessons at $20 a pop...that's $320 per month!  Definitely incentive to do it myself.  I can think of many other ways I would rather spend that money.

Why do I make them stick with it? Because I listen to my children, in their free time, when they don't HAVE to be on the piano.  They choose to sit down and play their favorite songs they have learned.  They open the Primary Children's Songbook and play and sing their favorite songs.  They don't hate piano.  Lessons, yes.  Piano, no.

Is it getting easier to teach them?  Yes.  As they are learning more it is becoming more fun for them (and for me).  Our house is filled with music for much of the day.  I love that - although hearing the same "favorite song" played 40 times in a row does sometimes get on my nerves.  The breaking down and tears have become less frequent.  Kyle's lessons used to take me over an hour - pitting his will against mine - and we are both extremely stubborn.  He would cross his arms and say he wasn't playing another note.  I would sit there and think of what I could threaten to take away that would get him to finish his lesson.

Finding time for lessons has been another hard task.  They practice in the morning before school, but after school, my children are all involved in multiple activities.  Bryan has scouts and soccer (twice a week), Morgan has gymnastics and Girl's Activity Days, Colton has cub scouts and soccer, and Kyle has soccer.  Saturdays we always have 3 or 4 games to go to, along with whatever birthday parties the kids have been invited to.  I was finding it hard to fit piano in.

Then it finally dawned on me.  Why not do the lessons on Sunday?  Learning music seemed to fit with the idea of keeping the Sabbath day holy (as long as we could do it without the fighting).  So far that has seemed to work just fine.  Gone are the days of taking an afternoon nap, but I never did that much anyway.  I guess the things that are important to us are worth the sacrifices required - and music is something I deem worthy of my sacrifice.  I just hope my children appreciate their mother as much in the end as I do mine.

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