We said good-bye to our Piano-Man Teacher tonight. He is a lovely man. He has worked with four of my kids for over a year. He had a talent for teaching chords, improvisations, and embellishments, in addition to the basics of piano theory and technique. He came to our house each week with such a cheerful and can-do attitude. It really was wonderful to watch the kids grow, under his tutelage, in their piano-playing skills.
But, the kids are done. While they enjoyed learning with the Piano-Man Teacher, over the last few months their hearts have not been in it. I know that I could have buttoned down and forced them to practice more. I know that I could have provided incentives for their continued participation. I am consciously choosing not to.
Rose is in the high school choir this year. She has spent hours each day in vocal practice. She sits at the piano, not to practice the Piano Teacher's assignments, but rather to pick out the Alto part of the new choir piece she is learning. Her interests have turned from piano to voice. And I'm going to let her run with it.
Nonny is still a percussionist in the middle school band. Between that and the rigor of her school courses, she is feeling a bit strained. She still loves piano and wants to continue to progress and learn. But she's at a point where she wants to concentrate on learning individual piano pieces rote. And I can help with that! So she has also opted to forgo piano lessons.
Monroe and Joe still love piano, but after a long day of sitting at school all they want to do when they get home is run and play. Sitting for another half hour or so to practice piano has become awful for them.
The truth is, I felt kind of bad about signing them up for piano lessons in the first place. The reason... I play piano and I have taught piano. But when I tried to teach them some basics, they would get frustrated with me and with themselves. I talked to my Mom about it years ago. My Mom is a talented pianist, but she didn't teach her own kids to play the piano. She had other people do it. Her reason...her kids (ie. me and my siblings) would get frustrated with her and with ourselves. When she first realized that, she and another piano teacher decided to swap kids. My Mom taught that gal's kids piano and that gal taught us piano. And surprise, surprise: the kids started learning the piano instead of getting into fights with their Moms.
Although I will miss the Piano-Man and the beautiful music he brought into our home, I think we'll be alright. He gave my kids the fundamentals. He encouraged them to find joy and fun in the piano, to not be afraid to make things up, and to not fall apart if you made mistakes. My kids may be done with the Piano-Man, but they are definitely not done with the piano. We are going to restart piano lessons with Mom.
Wish us luck!