Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Why Do My Children Play The Piano?

We have all of our girls in piano lessons with a wonderful piano teacher.  I do not play the piano, nor do I read music.  It was always a mystery to me, one that I didn't like not knowing.

So I did what all good mothers do.

I gave my daughters the opportunity I never had... whether they liked it or not.

The mystery has been solved.  Playing the piano is a lot of hard work.  The quote: A Journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, comes to mind.  Practicing the piano is a great metaphor for anything you wish to accomplish in life.

There is no mystery, just daily diligence, and with it, you will arrive at your destination.

But enough life lessons my little grasshoppers....

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, with all the girls playing piano pieces in the local music festival, this week is a busy one.  It is my youngest' first time doing this and she has had a few tears over the whole thing.

In the midst of the melt downs and worried questions I have to admit I wondered if there was any value in making her do this? Obviously if she ended up being too frightened to walk up to the piano I would not make her, but I figured she should at least try. But why?

This morning was the first time she played.
She dressed up in her Sunday best.

It was with mixed feelings that I brought her, and watched as she nervously waited her turn.

Is creating a competition a healthy thing I wondered?

Competition seems so healthy and worthwhile when my girls are playing soccer, or volleyball, or even bowling for that matter.
But here in the music wing of the college?

Shouldn't piano playing be about enjoying the music and creating beauty?

I had my answer quickly enough.
It was the smile my daughter gave me, after she had finished playing her piece, that made everything very clear.

She had performed to the best of her ability and she felt great about it.  The gold seal on that piece of paper was worth more than any positive comment I or her teacher could ever give her.
She had accomplished something.  And she had a piece of paper to prove it.

She is already looking forward to playing her second selection tomorrow.

I am so thankful that her teacher made sure she was properly prepared so that she could feel what success tasted like.

She overcame her fear of the unknown.

This wasn't about playing the piano anymore.  It was about her building self confidence and understanding, that with preparation along with the willingness to try, she will experience a wonderful feeling of accomplishment.  

And no one will ever be able to take that away from her.

Signing off a very proud mama indeed,

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  1. Lovely Post. My girls are starting piano lessons this summer as we just purchased a piano. I am actually hoping to learn right along with them.

  2. woooohooooo! way to go, girlfriend! this is such a great post. we often try to shield our kids from feeling anxiety or fear or...fatigue, even. i love that she persevered and felt pride for her accomplishments. this is a great life lesson for her, one that she can remember for always. (and one that you can USE for always when the going gets tough!)!

  3. Feather,
    I will definitely have to reread this post as daily piano practice is often the one thing the girls and I have tiffs over. But it is worth it. Its just sometimes hard to see the forest for the trees : )

  4. How beautiful - and now I'm bummed I never learned how to play the piano, I guess I'll have to make my children learn!

  5. Okay, the piano teacher is BAWLING now! Beautiful, thanks Dana!

  6. Just in time! My daughter gives me lots of grief about piano but I tell her it's a non-negotiable house rule. But sometimes I wonder... Thanks for Postong on this.

  7. Lovely post. My kids started on piano but then moved to other instruments that better suited them. As an ex-professional muso myself, I can tell your girls from experience that if they put the time in now, there will be a point down the track when they can jump up and play what ever they want - and that is a really freeing thing to do

    Cate :-)

  8. I will tell you about my perspective as the child. I wish my parents made me go to my practice even when I didn't want to. I started and stopped too many things and I wish they had taught me that a journey of a thousand miles starts with one step.
    So from me to you: Keep at it Mom you're doing an awesome job

  9. Lovely post. I was a bit worried when I started reading this! Dana, my 3 kids have a recital this weekend, their first! I get some grief from my kiddos, but I love hearing it in the house. So for now,they get piano lessons & I get to listen.{It's good fro their brains, don't ya think?}

  10. Loved this post Dana- great job little one! I was forced to play for years, and needless to say it was a struggle as I was not dedicated or talented at music. Looking back I am thankful for some of the life lessons it provided along the way, however remain undecided as to how long I will force my kids to stay at piano should it cause extraordinary grief! One thing is for sure, my parents are most perseverant, and I am thankful to be able to read music and play today!

  11. What a sweet post. You are right about the certificate with the gold seal. I still have the trophies and ribbons and things from my youth that I take out and look at every now and then. She will remember this.


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