I love being a piano teacher. It's the perfect mix of keeping my hobby alive without over-dosing on music like I did in college. The only thing I think I'm over-dosing on now, is the internal STRUGGLE involved in helping my own child find his path while also trying to teach him concepts of dilligence and persistence in the pursuit of developing talents.
It's one thing to get to be the teacher & get to shed tears of joy somedays when your students show up playing the most beautiful music from their hearts and applying all the skills and concepts you've been trying to teach them week after week. It's another thing entirely to be the parent who helps them remember to practice (and practice correctly) day in and day out. Oh, my word, is it different.
These are my darling piano students. I'm proud of all of them. They all take a challenge, push themselves, and practice consistently. Their parents are involved and are encouraging, and the results are evident in their progress. Tyson joined us this March in his debut performance on the piano of, "Tick Tock Goes the Old Clock" and "Old MacDonald Had a Farm". He was so cute, and I was so happy for him on his very beginning black key songs.
Tyson has also been participating in the Let's Play Music program for the last 2 years. He was cracking me up at their recital a couple weeks ago. He's such a ham on stage...even if he's not a ham in practice at home. :) The 1st year was our favorite of the program, the 2nd year...well, let's just say we survived it, even though I considered pulling him out in January. This particular music method is a bit fast paced for what I'm used to for kids his age, and I'm actually quite thrilled with the concepts he absorbed from his in-class participation, even though he was losing interest at exponential rates in his final months. It's been interesting to be on the parent side of this. It's hard to do homework for something you don't love 100%. My friend, Lauren, said one time, that it's okay for Tyson to just be Tyson, and not Tyson-Debra Jo's-Son. I definitely agree with her--our kids don't have to be extensions of ourselves, they need to have their own identity and talents. In the end, I don't care if Tyson plays the piano, or the trombone, the drums, or the kazoo, so long as he's happy with it.
I don't regret enrolling Tyson in a music class to build an early foundation of musical concepts, intonation, & theory. But at the same time, I'm not going to force him to continue at the ripe old age of 5, if he finds no interest in practicing. I just want him to enjoy learning, and I want him to be the best Tyson he can be (even if that means he just wants to catch bugs all day for now).
As I've watched my students and my children I am beginning to understand in an entirely new light that there is a very DELICATE balance in helping your child find their interests and work with dilligence & consistency to develop that talent. Here's to hoping we figure it out for our other kids, too. :)