I was very fortunate to have piano parents who encouraged me to work hard, be responsible, and never quit. Here are 3 key elements that made my parents my secret weapon for all the success I’ve had:
My Parents Called the Shots
My parents never forced me to take piano lessons. That was all me. My grandmother had a piano at her house and I fell in love instantly. I begged for lessons at the age of 5.
However, once they actually signed me up for the lessons I begged for, they made it very clear that quitting piano lessons simply because it was hard or I didn’t like what I was playing at the moment was not an option.
I cried and begged my mom on a few occasions to let me quit because I thought it was too hard and I couldn’t do it. Nope.
My mom also ensured that piano lessons and practicing were a priority before hanging out with friends, watching TV, playing outside, etc. Kids need the guidance and discipline of parents to keep them motivated and to know that when you sign up for something, you’re committing to it and it’s now a responsibility even if you have to miss hanging out with your friends or your TV show.
My parents never asked me, “Do you still want to take piano lessons?” because depending on whichever way the wind blew that day, my mood, or my day at school, my answer could vary. So they made the decision based on my progress and overall enjoyment of lessons and playing because I did enjoy playing the piano most of the time, especially when I played things that I really loved.
My Parents Made Piano Lessons and Practicing a Priority
Knowing that piano was a commitment, piano lessons and practicing was just as important as school work or brushing your teeth. It was a routine that never broke and we very rarely ever missed a lesson.
Recitals were a big deal and never optional because my parents knew that teaching me responsibility and commitment at an early age would transfer over to every other area of my life.
This is why I don’t quit things easily, why I have a high level of discipline, and why I follow through on commitments in my life as an adult. Sometimes, piano isn’t just about piano.
My Parents Were Practice Partners
My piano was in the living room with no door so my mom could always hear me and be close by. She knew exactly what piece I was supposed to be working on, she knew which parts were tripping me up, and most importantly, she knew when to chime in.
Rather than saying, “Did you practice today?” or “Go practice”, my mom would say, “Play me what you worked on” or “I’d love to hear you play.” She’d come in randomly in the middle of me practicing to tell me how beautiful my piece is sounding or that she got goosebumps listening to me.
My dad is not a pianist or musician in any way, shape, or form. I believe he’s probably tone-deaf. But he LOVED coming in to listen to me play. He came to every single recital and even brought me to all of my music school auditions.
To this day, he still says that he’s never been prouder of me than when he heard me audition at my alma mater as he crouched outside the door. I knew without a doubt that me learning piano was something both of my parents valued and it made all of those rough spots where I wanted to quit a bit easier knowing they were both in my corner.
There are 3 key elements for your child’s success in piano: your child (the actual piano student), the piano teacher, and the piano parents.
They form a triangle, which is the strongest out of all the shapes because it has strong support.
It starts with you as the parent and the kind of importance you put on piano and making that commitment/discipline. That discipline affects your child’s attitude and progress so that their piano teacher can effectively do their job to help your child become the player they want to be!
If any one of these three pieces is missing or faults, the triangle collapses so build that strong foundation at home and you’ll see all the benefits.