What should you do when your child wants to quit piano lessons?

January 27, 2021

Music Lessons in NYC - Piano Lessons NYC

Are you a parent of a child who just doesn’t seem enthusiastic about taking their piano lessons anymore? Do you often ask yourself “Should I let my child quit piano”?

Many parents struggle with how to keep their child interested in piano lessons. There are multiple factors affecting each individual situation, but we can give you some advice based on our long time experience as piano teachers working with hundreds and hundreds of children. 

First and foremost, please believe us when we say: there are no children in the world who  are always excited about their piano lessons.

Most children resist practicing piano,  just as they  they do not feel happy all the time doing math, writing, or science homework. These are difficult disciplines to learn, and children usually have their own ideas of what they want to do with their time! As adults, we know that children will not become well rounded and educated humans without these core disciplines.

Taking music lessons is not usually a core discipline, but it gives your child just as much of a boost in brain development as math or reading. Is it easy to get this boost? Not at all. Learning a musical instrument requires full mental concentration, patience, and discipline to become progressively better. Children do not innately posses these qualities. They must be developed.

In order for these skills to develop, it is important to encourage your child so that they know that they can achieve difficult goals with patience and diligence. That said; it’s OK if your child is resisting practicing piano occasionally. That means you have a child who is developing normally!

Interest and progress as far as playing the piano cannot be depicted as a straight equal line on a graph.

If we try to create a chart expressing the students’ progress in playing the piano, then it would look like a series of plateaus gradually moving from lower to higher and back. It’s never just a straight line getting better little by little every day. Instead, children have to work hard on understanding new musical concepts and using them in new pieces, all of which takes time for the new neural connections to form in the brain.

Students often feel discouraged when they feel they are not getting better and “not getting it” during this phase of growth. Eventually, when all the new pieces click together, it feels like a breakthrough and students fire up to the next level/plateau. It’s completely normal that children don’t feel consistently happy at the beginning and in the middle of learning new piece. When they can fluently play the piece, they feel very enthusiastic and proud of themselves. 

So how can you, as a parent or caregiver, help your children to get through the dips in their interest in piano and the desire to quit piano? 

  • Make piano lessons and practice a “no choice” situation. Just like going to school and doing regular homework, is not a choice for the kids. This way, piano will become a regular part of the daily routine.
  • As much as possible, try to help your children with home practicing. If you don’t know anything about piano playing, then ask the teacher to give you very specific instructions (for homework and practicing) after each lesson. A good piano teacher will be very happy to do so.
  • Don’t forget to praise your kids for their efforts in learning to play a musical instrument! Take a video of your child playing, share it with your relatives and friends, encourage everyone to give positive feedback. It’s very important for the children to see that what they are accomplishing is giving joy to other people.
  • There is nothing wrong with creating a reward system for working hard at the piano: stickers, a little bit of extra screen time, sweets, or actual rewards are all good to encourage your child.
  • Talk to your piano teacher about including pieces that your child really enjoys. We can still teach many concepts in piano lessons using a theme song from a cartoon or video game, a favorite pop song, or anything really. Any piece of music can be played on the piano, even at a beginner level. 
  • And lastly, don’t hesitate to talk to your piano teacher about the problems that you are experiencing. The teacher might have no idea that your child is struggling between lessons. Together, you can come up with adjustments that will help your child. 

This is not an unsolvable problem. You can do it!

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New York, New York 10019

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