My mom doggedly taught me piano lessons while I was growing up. I hated every minute of it. I didn't practice like I should have. I dreaded my lessons (because I hadn't practiced). My mom promised me I'd regret not practicing. She was right.
In the past few years, I've taken up practicing again. I'm not all that good at playing the piano, but I do enjoy it more than I used to.
My kids have all three taken piano lessons. Emma is the only one that will sit down and play when it's not designated practice time but they all have enjoyed it for the most part. Mark's been taking lessons for a few years and lately hasn't seemed to be progressing very quickly. He can play by ear--so can I--and it's something of a curse when you don't have self discipline. As long as he knows how a song is supposed to sound, he can play it without reading the music. The curse part is that you can only progress so far with that method.
I talked to his ever-patient teacher, who also happens to be my friend Sarah. She suggested that if I sat with him and listened to him practice (and made sure he was practicing what he was supposed to be), it would help.
I haven't ever wanted to do that. I didn't want the piano to become a power struggle. In other words, I didn't want them to feel about it like I did when I was growing up.
But Mark's not making much progress.
So I sat next to him. He played. I counted out loud for him. I corrected him when he played the wrong notes. I said, "Now play it again." "No, that's not the right note." "You're not counting that correctly."
I thought, I remember this. I sound like my mom. I bet Mark hates this.
As if on cue, Mark snuggled himself into me there on the piano bench. "Thank you for doing this with me," he said.
So here's what I learned: Mark is a much nicer kid than I was.
I didn't appreciate my mom enough. I know for a fact that she had more to do than teach me piano lessons.
Don't you hate it when you realize you are a jerk?