Tuesday, 4 December 2007

I Hope It's Worth It

I'm sitting here listening to the piano practicing that is supposed to happen in our home every day. The sound of music filling the house reminds me of my own piano lesson days and how much I resisted practicing. Of course, now I look back and have great appreciation for all the piano teachers I had and for my mother, who wouldn't let me quit. I enjoy sitting at the piano and playing for my own enjoyment, and I can also accompany others when they sing or play in church.

My oldest daughter took piano for a few years until we pulled her out because we didn't have the funds to pay for her lessons. She finally begged me to get her back into piano because she really wants to be able to play. She doesn't mind practicing and does well, but wishes she had more time to put into her lessons. Having a teenager who chooses to take take the lessons on her own is a treat.

My middle child hasn't taken lessons since grade 2. He used to throw such fits for the teacher that she finally wouldn't take him anymore. I taught him for a little while, but that fizzled over time. This fall when we were discussing lessons, the youngest asked why she had to take them when her brother didn't. Her sister replied, "It's because we are girls." Boy, was I sending them the wrong message. So this fall he entered grade 8 and was signed up for piano lessons - under protest and with the promise that he could quite when he can play two songs out the the hymnbook we use at church. The funny thing about the situation is that he gets up every morning on his own to practice without any one having to remind him. He has also has caught up to his older sister, but don't even hint that you think he likes it.

Then there is the youngest. She has the ability, but completely lacks the desire. She is constantly trying to think of reasons why I should let her quit. So far she hasn't succeeded in convincing me, and I don't even try to tell her she will be glad for the skill someday. That's something she is going to have to figure out for herself. Meanwhile, we have to endure the grumpiness and tears and the sour notes, hoping it will all be worth it.

Every once in a while, a piece is played with such sweetness and skill, that I've begun to believe it is already worth it. The kids are developing musical ability, and they are learning not to quit. And even if they are never highly skilled at the piano, at least they can say they tried.

I think I should have no other mortal wants, if I could always have plenty of music. It seems to infuse strength into my limbs and ideas into my brain. Life seems to go on without effort, when I am filled with music.
-George Eliot


Nicole Hunter said...

I know what you mean about the "sour notes", but it will be worth it in the end. I stopped taking my piano lessons, despite encouragement from my parents to contiune. Daniel, my husband, on the other hand, continued to play. He is now an amazing pianist, used it in his mission, as the ward organist, and has played for a number of weddings. It's so wonderful to hear the music he can now play!

Marcia Mickelson said...

It's worth it. I never took piano, but wish so much that I had. My 8 year old son is taking lessons and he's enjoying it, although getting him to practice isn't always easy. He's supposed to pracice 15 minutes, but we usually just say practice each song one time. It's a good compromise.

Kimberly said...

What sweet reflections. When I play piano on Sundays (I'm the branch pianist), I'm so grateful to my mum for making me continue on.

Don said...

I took piano for years, but you'd never know it to hear me try and play now.

However, it was hardly time wasted. I got a good, solid musical foundation that has served me well over the years and the many other instruments I have learned to play. Saxophone, xylophone, baritone, tuba - whatever the band needed.

I give a great deal of credit to my piano teacher. Piano lessons are absolutely worth the effort.

Stephanie Humphreys said...

Today my son asked me if recitals are mandatory. My younger daughter got involved in the conversation and they both decided piano would be a lot better if they never had to play on public.

I know they have done studies showing that children do better in the core subjects when they have had some musical training.

Mandi said...

I remember many occasions when all I wanted to do was quit, and in many ways I wish I had practiced more diligently. I am so grateful now that I put those years of lessons in and now can play the piano.

Ronda Hinrichsen said...

I'm listening to a bunch of sour notes right now and enjoying it at the same time. Enough said.
Thanks for your blog.

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