Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Are piano lessons for children popular now? I hear of swimming, soccer, ballet, tennis, etc. It seems like there are all kinds of instructions for those little minds and bodies to keep them busy, engaged and competitive. It's all good. We parented by that old philosophy: "wear them out so they'll go to bed at night." I have great memories of Boy Scouts, piano recitals, basketball games, and Little League.

(Keeping them extra busy is sound advice especially for parents of teen-agers. Wear them out because nothing good happens after midnight anyway.)

It's hard to know what activity a child will love until they try it. So several attempts must be made, no doubt about it. And then sometimes an activity must be encouraged and endured because, well, "it's good for them."

We demanded piano lessons for the boys. I think they both started around 1st grade and continued through their senior year. At times it was simply a lesson in perseverance, for them and me. Attending piano lessons and practicing was difficult one minute and extremely fun the next. We had great teachers and they learned the Suzuki method, which involves careful listening first and playing second. (It did not include any sort of motor bike but I'm sure they would have welcomed that!) Sometimes they wanted to quit and that was not an option. They were required to go to school, church and piano lessons. All was good for them!

Neither son is a concert pianist, but that was not the goal anyway. They both have a wonderful appreciation of GOOD MUSIC, they can identify it. And statistics tell us that any form of musical instruction helps in other studies as well. (One son continues to play and owns a piano, I've apologized to the other for all those endless lessons. He forgives me.)

My own piano instruction started right down the block from my elementary school. Instead of playing with friends during the afternoon recess, I walked to the home of Miss Alma. She lived alone in a big and very quiet house. Her antique ticking clock was the only sound audible when a student was NOT sitting on her piano bench. She patiently taught me the basics and I am grateful to this day. I had a couple of other very good teachers through high school. It was a serious career choice for them and I thank them for that choice. Because of them I have had some fabulous experiences accompanying high school choirs, soloists, quartets, women's groups, children's choirs, & church congregations. I've played the piano for funerals and weddings. My best memory is playing for a large retreat in Dallas while 3000 people sang "Amazing Grace."

Learning to play the piano is tedious, there is NO fast forward way to accomplish it. It just takes a lot of time.

Enjoying the piano is the result.

Last night I picked up the music to Scott Joplin's "The Entertainer" and livened up this quiet house. Playing the piano for sheer enjoyment is incredibly rewarding. Teaching the granddaughters to pick out the keys for "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" is PRICELESS!

1 comment:

  1. The benefits of piano lessons for kids extend beyond music education. Kids who play musical instruments perform better in school and develop a better work ethic that lasts a lifetime. Piano is a wonderful instrument that can be fun, challenging, and promotes a positive response to your child. Moreover, he/she will carry these benefits through his/her adulthood.

    A new study by Frances Rauscher of University of California-Irvine indicates that just a few minutes of piano practice daily will significantly improve your child’s skills in subjects such as math and science. “Music instruction can improve a child’s spatial intelligence for long periods of time—perhaps permanently,” Mrs. Rauscher said.

    When a child learns to play an instrument, he/she will be learning both art and math and would better understand concepts behind science and engineering. Playing piano improves his/her motor skills and hand-eye coordination and general dexterity. Also, programs specialized in easy piano for kids enhance their spatial-temporal reasoning abilities, music appreciation and self-esteem.