[Discuss-sudbury-model] Learning Piano

From: Arlynn Liebster <abfab_at_abfabinc.com>
Date: Mon Dec 5 16:15:01 2005

Hi, I am a new listmember and wanted to add something to the Piano learning conversation. My ex (we are still very good friends) is a professional keyboardist/pianist. He is one of the best in the world and gets paid for his sounds and playing. He loves his life's work. His father was a professional guitarist. His mother used to make him practice the piano when he was little. She used to have to actually tie him to the piano bench to make him practice his scales. He remembers hating to practice because he wanted to go out and play baseball with the guys. We had this conversation so many times. He is SO glad his mother made him practice. It is his life's love, he is amazing at it, but he wouldn't have had the early life career chances he did (playing in very well known bands at 17 yrs.old, etc...) unless his mother had forced him to play. He is ever grateful to her and says it often.

Now on another spin, my mother is an artist. She used to force me to paint when I was little when I wanted to go out and play I was stuck in our basement painting on Saturdays. I hated it then and I refuse to paint to this day. I am an artist by profession (I could not ignore genes and my life's work even though I tried to in my early 20's), but she made painting so onerous a task that I hated it then and I hate it now. I never learned how to do it well. When the time came to do art, I chose photography, ceramics, sketching and advertising graphic design (anything but oil painting) and have made my career ever since.

So, I guess I'm saying that I have seen forced practicing go both ways. My ex's mother says she saw his great talent and knew he must work at the piano, that his great talent needed to be expressed. My mother just wanted me to do something *she* wanted me to do. I do not have any great talent for painting, she just wanted to teach me to paint. So, now I think it might have something to do if the kid needs encouragement thru a distracting period where they might drop their piano playing due to too much peer influence, like baseball or hanging out, then I think I would encourage my child to continue practicing with a kind method of encouragement. But if my child just wasn't into the activity of playing the piano and didn't shine like the proverbial sun while playing, I think I would just let it go and allow him to not play anymore.
It might be seen by the parents as "Look, my little Johnie plays piano (or kicks the soccer ball or paints the best picture) so well. Doesn't that reflect so nicely on me and my parenting?" And I don't buy into that mode of thinking.
-Arlynn
Received on Mon Dec 05 2005 - 16:14:28 EST

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