August 5

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Alternative Explanations

Parents of one demographic tend to give up on piano easier than most. And that's parents of very young students.

One of two things usually happens.

Number one. Student comes in for a trial lesson. Things go great. Parent asks the 4-year-old what she wants. The response isn't positive enough to merit the parent making the investment. 

And so, the parent decides the child is not interested in piano.

Number two. Student is in lessons and everything is going great. And then, out of nowhere, the student doesn't want to approach the piano anymore, for no apparent reason.

After two or three lessons of this, parents decide to pull the plug. They decide the child must not be interested in piano anymore, and don't want the battle.

Most of the time, the parents don't hang in there long enough for us to try to turn it around. But, this is where we miss an opportunity.

Young children are beautiful puzzles to be solved. But, we tend to interpret their outward behaviors the same way we would interpret an adult's behaviors.

For example, if a young child doesn't want to approach the piano or starts running around the room, our inclination is to think he's not interested in piano.

But children aren't that simple.

He could be tired. The lesson could be too close to lunchtime. The lesson could be too close to nap time. There might be a fun event after lesson time the student can't get his mind off of. He could be itchy. Maybe something in the room smells funny. 

There's an endless list of possibilities.

Like a scientist, you could experiment with every one of them.

But when lessons end, there are no opportunities to experiment. But a childhood of musical potential lost.

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About Jonathan Roberts

I am the founder and director of the South Shore Piano School, and I have been teaching the piano for nearly 20 years. My work centers around bringing music to the lives of kids, parents, and adults in an enriching, meaningful way. At the South Shore Piano School, my incredible colleagues and I accomplish this through skill-based teaching, community, and an innovative, people-first business model. You can read more about me here.


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