For years we’ve been advocating a certain kind of piano lesson experience. And when we have conversations with successful piano players we often hear “why didn’t I find you years ago” or “I wish I had this kind of piano lesson”.
Then there are those who “dropped out” who are feeling some regret. They wished “their mother had made me” or “I just got busy with other things”.
There’s a slightly different group that worries me the most. It’s the students/parents who didn’t continue in our program. It’s about what didn’t happen for them.
The contrast: we currently have a group of students in the studio who persisted. The oldest is 16 and the youngest is 12 or 13. They’ve been in our program for a few years and we get together one evening a week and they improvise for each other and they play their latest piece that they’re reading or memorizing. High skills in both areas. Becoming complete musicians. Feeling comfortable creating arrangements, stylings and playing some heavy duty classical and new age pieces right from the book. Identifying chords quicker than you can flash a flash card, playing in the school jazz band, capable of teaching our program in our studio. Are they musical hermits? One plays varsity basketball, another on the school golf team and a competitive skier, another a state champion water skier for her age group, another on the high school drill team.
We learn it again and again: you can build an exciting, productive, complete, piano lesson model but someone at home who isn’t paying attention can override the best efforts by teachers and a complete curriculum.
The parents who never discovered how to manage a piano lesson or taught their kids to “hang in there” are raising some kids who could have . . . but didn’t.