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Re: Why Do Children Drop Out of Piano Lessons?
wr #1840842 02/08/12 06:48 PM
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Originally Posted by wr
I stopped reading when I got to the part where he started some kind of blather about people not being musicians unless they could improvise, an attitude which is a sure sign of a certain kind narrow-minded cluelessness, IMO. But I already knew there was a problem when he said earlier that teachers bore the responsibility for keeping the kid interested. That's pretty weird thinking, if you ask me.

Anyway, why shouldn't children drop out of piano lessons? I did, and lived to tell the tale.

I noticed that too. I have never felt the desire to improvise nor have I had the interest to compose. There is so much wonderful literature, I am satisfied with what we have. I do realize learning composition can help me become a better pianist, but my time is so limited, I choose to spend it learning music, not writing it.

I think the trend today is to put all the blame for failing students on the teachers. In my experience, the fault invariably lies with parents who neglect their kids or refuse to give them clear expectations, boundaries and consistent consequences. When it came to piano, my parents set a clear boundary. I knew from experience that they would enforce it. I was lucky in that I adored playing, but in the back of my mind I always knew if I didn't practice, they wouldn't pay for my lessons. I believed their threat because they always followed through.


Best regards,

Deborah
Re: Why Do Children Drop Out of Piano Lessons?
LadyChen #1840843 02/08/12 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by LadyChen
I'm with gooddog -- I started lessons when I was 7 and loved them right through high school. My parents used to beg me to stop practicing so they could go to bed wink.


Same here, I started learning the electronic organ at the age of 11. There was no day that I spent without practicing and playing. I felt my day was not complete without playing the organ. My older sister begged me to stop practicing so that she can study. My parents never encouraged me to practice etc, it was totally me.

Re: Why Do Children Drop Out of Piano Lessons?
Jolteon #1840887 02/08/12 08:18 PM
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My mom would just get me lessons here and there, for as long as I was interested. Which usually wasn't very long. I was dreadfully handicapped by poor sight reading, and I remember complaining to one teacher after another, I can't sight read.. it's really hard for me to sight read... They never paid attention because somehow I showed up the next week knowing the music. But it made practicing so extremely difficult as I would spell out each note, locate it on the keyboard, try to fix it in memory, then look back and try to find the next note on the sheet music. I could keep this up for about a few months at a time, then would give up, start showing up at lessons saying "I didn't work on it... didn't get a chance to do this..." Then lessons would stop. It made me feel really bad. I remember times just staring despondently at the wall behind the piano and trying to gather up strength to go on with the next measure and wondering why I didn't have enough discipline to do this (which my mom said I lacked)... oh gosh it was just horrible discouragement. You couldn't just go on youtube to find out what something sounded like either. At 16, I poked at the first measures of the Rachmaninov prelude in G-minor op.23-5 and could not make heads or tails of what was going on, and that was the end of lessons. Forever. Or almost forever. wink
But I am so happy to be able to sight read better now, it is like whole vistas opening up, which I always felt were closed when I was a teenager!

Re: Why Do Children Drop Out of Piano Lessons?
btb #1840888 02/08/12 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by btb
Wow!! As a Piano Teacher I wish I could find dream parents who did all this (from chobeethaninov):

“Many parents I know (please excuse my bracketed findings)
1. listen to their children's piano lessons,
(mow the lawn instead)
2. help supervise the practising as needed,
(scream and go for a walk)
3. play piano music around the house,
(dead silence ... generation gap)
4. invest in buying a decent piano,
(settle for a crummy cheap job)
5. attend all music recitals with their kids etc...
(play golf instead)
6. and they turn music into a "family" thing. ”
(switch off and watch TV)

Such benign spirits won’t touch sides in checking in with St. Peter at the Pearly Gates.

I'm heading for the Other Place.


Ok, what I said might sound "too good to be true" but many Asian parents in particular do spend that much time and invest that deeply in their children's music education (without being Tiger Mom's). I know also that my family is rather like that which I described.

Re: Why Do Children Drop Out of Piano Lessons?
PaulaPiano34 #1840897 02/08/12 08:59 PM
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Originally Posted by chobeethaninov
Originally Posted by btb
Wow!! As a Piano Teacher I wish I could find dream parents who did all this (from chobeethaninov):

“Many parents I know (please excuse my bracketed findings)
1. listen to their children's piano lessons,
(mow the lawn instead)
2. help supervise the practising as needed,
(scream and go for a walk)
3. play piano music around the house,
(dead silence ... generation gap)
4. invest in buying a decent piano,
(settle for a crummy cheap job)
5. attend all music recitals with their kids etc...
(play golf instead)
6. and they turn music into a "family" thing. ”
(switch off and watch TV)

Such benign spirits won’t touch sides in checking in with St. Peter at the Pearly Gates.

I'm heading for the Other Place.


Ok, what I said might sound "too good to be true" but many Asian parents in particular do spend that much time and invest that deeply in their children's music education (without being Tiger Mom's). I know also that my family is rather like that which I described.


My mom was probably too "conflicted" about giving up her own serious piano studies, to encourage me 100% to pursue mine. There was always a strange, silent, sort of disapproving atmosphere when I practiced, or didn't practice. I don't remember getting any help, or any praise, or any comments at all on progress or lack thereof. She didn't even tell me to practice, even when I didn't practice all week! The lessons would just... stop. It makes me wonder: If a parent pushes a child and lives vicariously through the child's musical success, can the opposite happen too? If the parent squelched his/her gift, does it have a dampening effect on the child as well? I've often wondered why I felt so discouraged, when it seemed so unnecessary, and help could have been so near at hand.

It doesn't matter now, as I feel nearly completely un-discouraged wink I guess I have finally gotten too old to be discouraged, haha...

Edit: Mom finally did re-discover her own love of music, later in life... playing hymns with beautiful arrangements and a very elegant "approach" to the keyboard. But she never played Chopin again. She was very gregarious and lively, but something about her earlier ambitions-- it was just a closed door for her, and somehow a closed door for me as well... Mystery! And too late to ask her what she felt about music...

Edit #2: Parents in general... Mystery! wink

Re: Why Do Children Drop Out of Piano Lessons?
RonaldSteinway #1840932 02/08/12 10:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Damon
Originally Posted by Kreisler

I dare anyone to name a single activity that a child remains interested and self-motivated in from the ages of 7 to 18.


Video games.
The consumption of ice cream.


laugh laugh laugh

Originally Posted by RonaldSteinway
Originally Posted by Kreisler

The key to staying in lessons and learning is discipline, not interest. Discipline is what gets us through school (filled with subjects that we are not constantly interested in.)

Having taught hundreds of kids, the single most determining factor in whether or not they remain in lessons is discipline - much of which has to be instilled by the parents.


I totally disagree. Discipline has nothing to do with this. Kids may not have the discipline but if they love playing piano, nothing will pull them away from playing piano. The main reason is that the kids or adults do not like enough to play piano. A teacher also cannot keep the students if the students really have no interest in learning to play piano, regardless how good of a teacher.

School is different from learning to play piano. We do need to go to school whether you are interested or not. Most people will finish their 12 years of schooling, but we do not need to learn piano or any other musical instruments. Parents can instill the discipline for certain duration. If the kids have no interest, sooner or later, the kids will have no desire to play (don't even mention practice diligently).


I think it is a middle ground. I think children need to be interested AND have some amount of discipline to stick with something productive (even though I play a lot of video games, I will be the first one to tell you they aren't productive activities laugh ). There are always extremes, but for me, I started music at a somewhat older age than many people. My first formal lessons were on classical guitar, then I started taking piano lessons too. I do have discipline, but interest in music is what drove me then, and continues to drive me today.


Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.
Re: Why Do Children Drop Out of Piano Lessons?
PaulaPiano34 #1840941 02/08/12 10:57 PM
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Originally Posted by chobeethaninov


“Many parents I know (please excuse my bracketed findings)
1. listen to their children's piano lessons,
(mow the lawn instead)
2. help supervise the practising as needed,
(scream and go for a walk)
3. play piano music around the house,
(dead silence ... generation gap)
4. invest in buying a decent piano,
(settle for a crummy cheap job)
5. attend all music recitals with their kids etc...
(play golf instead)
6. and they turn music into a "family" thing. ”
(switch off and watch TV)


I think that the issue is far more complicated than the one line answers people have given. In addition,
I don't think that the scenario quoted above is unrealistic, and I am an American parent.

Both of my children have played the piano and I have supported them according to the the quoted statements first made, not the parenthetical ones.

It has not always been easy. I have sworn to my husband that I will let them quit on numerous occasions (especially when they, out of frustration, have fallen to the floor in a pool of tears). My oldest son (now 15), has moved from piano only (4-10) to piano + saxophone (10-12), to saxophone only (12-14), to classical guitar (new obsession). We have paid for private lessons on each instrument and have supported him completely in each endeavor. Sure, if it were left up to me, he would play the piano, but today, that is not where his heart is (he tinkers with the piano, just this evening he was trying to plunk out the Skyrim theme song). The most important thing is that music, regardless of which instrument he is playing, remains an important part of his life. I think that it is important, as his mom, to create an environment where he can pursue his musical interests easily.

My younger son plays the piano and he is getting ready to go to middle school. No one has mentioned the fact that many children might quit the piano right around this age because they attempt to play two instruments simultaneously (in our school system, one cannot play the piano as their "school" instrument of choice). This is what happened with our oldest child. Our school has a very good music program and each child is required to play their instrument at least 20 minutes every night (practice cards need to be signed by the parent). It was next to impossible for my oldest son to play the piano, practice his saxophone, and complete his homework each evening (he is an honors student with advanced courses and he also plays soccer and has 4 hours of training each week).

My youngest son and I agreed that he would not learn a new instrument in middle school and would continue with the piano instead. It was a decision we reached together. He fully understood that attempting to master a second instrument would necessarily reduce his commitment to the piano. Only time will tell if my younger son will stick with the piano. I don't think that his commitment to the piano right now is any greater than my older son's was at the same time. We simply know more now and this knowledge will help us create an environment that will better support our second son's interest in the piano.







Christine










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Re: Why Do Children Drop Out of Piano Lessons?
cefinow #1840982 02/09/12 12:39 AM
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Originally Posted by cefinow
My mom would just get me lessons here and there, for as long as I was interested. Which usually wasn't very long. I was dreadfully handicapped by poor sight reading, and I remember complaining to one teacher after another, I can't sight read.. it's really hard for me to sight read... They never paid attention because somehow I showed up the next week knowing the music. But it made practicing so extremely difficult as I would spell out each note, locate it on the keyboard, try to fix it in memory, then look back and try to find the next note on the sheet music. I could keep this up for about a few months at a time, then would give up, start showing up at lessons saying "I didn't work on it... didn't get a chance to do this..." Then lessons would stop. It made me feel really bad. I remember times just staring despondently at the wall behind the piano and trying to gather up strength to go on with the next measure and wondering why I didn't have enough discipline to do this (which my mom said I lacked)... oh gosh it was just horrible discouragement. You couldn't just go on youtube to find out what something sounded like either. At 16, I poked at the first measures of the Rachmaninov prelude in G-minor op.23-5 and could not make heads or tails of what was going on, and that was the end of lessons. Forever. Or almost forever. wink
But I am so happy to be able to sight read better now, it is like whole vistas opening up, which I always felt were closed when I was a teenager!


Did you do well at school or average or below average? I noticed smart kids have good sight reading ability. Average kids at school usually have problem with sight reading.

Re: Why Do Children Drop Out of Piano Lessons?
GlassLove #1840986 02/09/12 12:44 AM
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Originally Posted by GlassLove
My oldest son (now 15), has moved from piano only (4-10) to piano + saxophone (10-12), to saxophone only (12-14), to classical guitar (new obsession).


This shows that your son is interested in learning how to play musical instruments. He may not be the most patient person, but he does not hate learning how to play musical instruments. Otherwise, he would have quit long time ago.

Re: Why Do Children Drop Out of Piano Lessons?
Jolteon #1840991 02/09/12 01:00 AM
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Imagine Glasslove (A Madam with an iron hand)
owning up to saying of their progeny taking piano lessons ...

“I have sworn to my husband that I will let them quit
on numerous occasions (especially when they,
out of frustration, have fallen to the floor in a pool of tears ”
But adding:
“Only time will tell if my younger son will stick with the piano.”

The ambitious dreams of proud Mums so easily hit the fan?



No wonder they leave home asap.


Re: Why Do Children Drop Out of Piano Lessons?
btb #1840994 02/09/12 01:30 AM
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Originally Posted by btb
Imagine Glasslove (A Madam with an iron hand)
owning up to saying of their progeny taking piano lessons ...

“I have sworn to my husband that I will let them quit
on numerous occasions (especially when they,
out of frustration, have fallen to the floor in a pool of tears ”
But adding:
“Only time will tell if my younger son will stick with the piano.”

The ambitious dreams of proud Mums so easily hit the fan?



No wonder they leave home asap.



Why do you assume the frustration was due to overly heavy handed parental pressure?


Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.
Re: Why Do Children Drop Out of Piano Lessons?
RonaldSteinway #1840998 02/09/12 01:38 AM
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Originally Posted by RonaldSteinway
Originally Posted by cefinow
My mom would just get me lessons here and there, for as long as I was interested. Which usually wasn't very long. I was dreadfully handicapped by poor sight reading, and I remember complaining to one teacher after another, I can't sight read.. it's really hard for me to sight read... They never paid attention because somehow I showed up the next week knowing the music. But it made practicing so extremely difficult as I would spell out each note, locate it on the keyboard, try to fix it in memory, then look back and try to find the next note on the sheet music. I could keep this up for about a few months at a time, then would give up, start showing up at lessons saying "I didn't work on it... didn't get a chance to do this..." Then lessons would stop. It made me feel really bad. I remember times just staring despondently at the wall behind the piano and trying to gather up strength to go on with the next measure and wondering why I didn't have enough discipline to do this (which my mom said I lacked)... oh gosh it was just horrible discouragement. You couldn't just go on youtube to find out what something sounded like either. At 16, I poked at the first measures of the Rachmaninov prelude in G-minor op.23-5 and could not make heads or tails of what was going on, and that was the end of lessons. Forever. Or almost forever. wink
But I am so happy to be able to sight read better now, it is like whole vistas opening up, which I always felt were closed when I was a teenager!


Did you do well at school or average or below average? I noticed smart kids have good sight reading ability. Average kids at school usually have problem with sight reading.


Um, I wasn't exactly average, no... but still couldn't sight read. What an odd perspective on the sight-reading question, though. It's not rocket science. There are certain keys to sight reading that could be easily grasped by anyone, but I wasn't getting them "back then." My teacher now had the same problem-- poor sight-reading, relied on memorization, but in conservatory improved to the point that she won a sight-reading award. So she has a little more empathy for my predicament, and with her guidance, my sight-reading seems to be improving rapidly.

Re: Why Do Children Drop Out of Piano Lessons?
Jolteon #1841000 02/09/12 01:42 AM
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You ask Horror,
“Why do you assume the frustration was due to
overly heavy handed parental pressure?”

Surely the excessive zeal of parents SAYS IT ALL ...
when progeny
“have fallen to the floor in a pool of tears”.

Re: Why Do Children Drop Out of Piano Lessons?
Jolteon #1841009 02/09/12 02:03 AM
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Could have been frustration with a certain part of the music. wink


Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.
Re: Why Do Children Drop Out of Piano Lessons?
Jolteon #1841018 02/09/12 02:27 AM
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As an old hand at the piano teaching game Horror,
I can say with well-travelled experience that ... the problem of a difficult piece of music can always be reduced to it’s parts ... and thereby steadily mastered .

However, sight-reading is the biggest bugbear for most students ... when collapse in utter frustration is a well-known by-product
(often heralding giving up piano lessons).

Thus for a child to
“have fallen to the floor in a pool of tears” ... speaks for a tyrannical Mum.

Ipso facto ... to quote the good books.

Re: Why Do Children Drop Out of Piano Lessons?
Jolteon #1841069 02/09/12 05:18 AM
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I don't know why people are arguing over this issue.

There are thousands of reasons why kids quit piano. Thousands. One could take a survey and find percentages for each reason. Maybe there are a dozen or so "most popular reasons to quit lessons," but there just isn't ONE reason people quit or ONE reason people will come back to piano later on.

Any further discussion will just be a pool of anecdotes and opinions.


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
Re: Why Do Children Drop Out of Piano Lessons?
Jolteon #1841084 02/09/12 06:02 AM
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Especially since we don't know 99% of them personally.


Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.
Re: Why Do Children Drop Out of Piano Lessons?
btb #1841113 02/09/12 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by btb
As an old hand at the piano teaching game Horror,
I can say with well-travelled experience that ... the problem of a difficult piece of music can always be reduced to it’s parts ... and thereby steadily mastered .

However, sight-reading is the biggest bugbear for most students ... when collapse in utter frustration is a well-known by-product
(often heralding giving up piano lessons).

Thus for a child to
“have fallen to the floor in a pool of tears” ... speaks for a tyrannical Mum.





Ipso facto ... to quote the good books.


Thanks for the hearty laugh BTB. The whole family, over their cereal bowls this morning, had a wonderful time laughing at your comments.
While my husband thought your comments were genuinely funny (and an absolutely absurd characterization of my disposition/parenting style), my children weren't laughing at first. Laughing commenced the moment I glared and raised my iron fist.


Christine










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Re: Why Do Children Drop Out of Piano Lessons?
Jolteon #1841231 02/09/12 01:03 PM
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Taking after Maggie Thatcher with the iron fist
Glasslove ... but the whole idea on this Forum is to have fun.

Your husband obviously plays golf to laugh at
my crazy jokes .

Re: Why Do Children Drop Out of Piano Lessons?
Jolteon #1841266 02/09/12 02:04 PM
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My husband has never touched a standard sized golf club in his entire life (he has, on occasion, played with the wee ones on miniature golf courses with the children--that is, when I unchain them from their desks/musical instruments wink


Christine










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