Is your once-enthused child suddenly losing interest in the piano? Read on as Oakland Gardens, NY teacher Ophelia T. shares three steps to take before it’s too late…
“I don’t want to learn piano anymore! It’s boring! I always have to practice the same thing over and over again! I’m sick and tired of it!” an 11-year-old boy shouts to his parents.
This is a common case scenario for many parents and children who have taken piano lessons, and it can be due to several reasons. A common one is when parents want their child to learn an instrument, but the child was never interested in it to begin with. Another is when the student loses motivation and interest midway into their piano learning. If your child is beginning to fight you, take the following steps to help him or her get back on track for enjoying learning.
1) Identify the reason.
Music is a channel for creativity and passion, so learning piano should never be dull or boring! Instead, music should be the aspect that sparks one’s interest, since it has an unlimited amount of possibilities and there’s always so much to learn! If you find that your child is losing motivation and interest, there must be a reason. As a parent, you should try to identify what the reason is.
2) Find the spark!
Motivation stems from interest. Sometimes children lose motivation and interest because piano lessons become so stagnant in their lives and nothing new comes from it. It’s a common stage for all piano students. As a student of piano myself, I can testify that this was once a struggle for me. As I practiced piece after piece with my teacher next to me nodding her head, I found that there was no major challenge. I mastered how to read the notes and it was just a matter of slowly sight reading and putting it together with my hands. Piano lessons became boring and irrelevant to my everyday life.
However, I soon came to realize that although piano may not be relevant to my everyday life, music definitely is! As I incorporated music I liked to listen to, like popular music, R&B, jazz, and blues in my piano learning, the lessons became fun again. I asked my piano teacher to teach me new styles of music in addition to the classical pieces that she assigned, and soon I looked forward to the challenge of accomplishing new pieces every week.
Speak with your child’s piano teacher about adding new elements for more challenge and something fresh. For example, if your child has not learned music theory, ask your piano teacher to incorporate it in their lesson plan. Music theory is fundamental to piano learning and getting familiar with it will make your child an overall better musician. In addition, oftentimes children start off learning classical pieces. Take this as a good opportunity to ask his or her teacher to explain the musical form of the piece and/or go over the history behind the piece or the composer. This makes the piano lesson much more interactive and interesting, and allows your child to “get to know” the piece and build a personal relationship with it. After all, encountering a new piece of music is like meeting a new friend and it takes time to learn what they are like, what they don’t like, and their personal story.
Finally, enjoy and have fun!
Whatever the reason may be for your child’s loss of interest, identify the problem first, and then communicate with your piano teacher to figure out ways to solve it. When in doubt, reintroduce them to piano lessons as simply music: something to enjoy and get creative with. Don’t pressure him or her into thinking it’s another type of schooling. Music is a form of art and is best learned and developed when your child is interested in it, having fun, and then creating their own form of art in music.
Ophelia T. teaches piano and tutors in math, English, reading, and language in Oakland Gardens, NY. She is a Hunter College graduate with a B.A in Music with concentration on Music Performance and Music Theory. Learn more about Ophelia here!
Photo by Philippe Put