Piano Lessons

Piano Lessons

by Mia Cronan
My five-year-old daughter has been taking piano lessons now for six months, ever since I agreed after weeks of her talking about it. Coming from something of a musical family, I was thrilled by her interest and was anxious to find a suitable teacher for her. I sought out and found a wonderful lady who is also the organist at a local church and felt very good about the endeavor. I didn't even mind spending the money, and as we all know, when one is part of a one-income family, every expense must be carefully weighed.

Things started off well. We practiced for about 10 minutes each day, even after the teacher said to practice just five minutes a day so that her fingers would get stronger in time. Each week, I was told her fingers were indeed gaining strength, and she was really learning her notes. The piano teacher indicated that, by not taking a break over summer in keeping with the school schedule, we would continue and flexibly dodge the vacations, events, and family activities that summer brings. "It's better than no piano at all," she said. A couple months went by, school let out, summer began, and we did a bit of traveling. In that time, we had very little time to practice, or to even think about the piano.

When things calmed down, we made an effort to get back into a routine before the next batch of summer travel hit us. After two weeks of no piano, I told my daughter it was time to practice so she would be ready for her lesson that day. My goodness, was I sorry I hadn't done a better job of encouraging the regular routine! She sat down, looked bored, and clearly wanted to be elsewhere. I opened the first of her four books and tried to get her started where we last left off. She stumbled through a couple notes and asked if we were done yet. Nope. We had a couple more books and several pages to go. I stepped out of the room for a moment to check on her little sisters, and when I came back I found my daughter rolling on the floor playing with the cat. Time for a chat, or should I say, speech.

We sat down together, and I asked her if she really liked taking piano. She most assuredly said yes! She went so far as to say that she wanted to be really good at it, just like her uncle. I asked her if she knew how her uncle got to be so good. She said, "Yes, by practicing," and it was at that moment that the light seemed to burn extra bright behind her pretty blue eyes. So the idea was not totally foreign to her, nor the cause totally lost. So we talked about how you can grudgingly set out to do something in a mediocre way and say that, yes, you did it. Or, you can set out to do your very best for a short amount of time and walk away satisfied that you could not have done any better with all the effort in the world.

She stood up and said, "Mom, I'm ready to do my best." She went over to the piano, sat down, and played her Christopher Columbus song with confidence and rhythm, not missing one note. Then she looked over at me with a knowing grin on her face and said, "Well, how was that? I did my best!" And she had. She finished her lesson and bounced away with her earned piece of gum, and said she was ready to go to her teacher's house.

That short episode left a message on my heart. We as parents have so little time to teach the important lessons in life, the ones that will shape our children's evolving personalities and define who they are when they're on their own. I saw the value in taking five minutes to explain a life concept to my daughter and she grabbed the ball and ran with it. Now I realize how often those opportunities present themselves, several times, every single day. I thank God I can be home with my children everyday so that I am the one teaching them those lessons and reinforcing them to myself as I do so.

"Children need their mother's affection and guidance, and long periods of time with alone with her. That's what gives them security in an often confusing new world." ~ Jackie Kennedy Onassis

About the author

Mia Cronan is a married full-time mother of three girls, ages 5, 4, and 2, and a newborn son, living in Pennsylvania. She owns and edits http://MainStreetMom.com, the magazine for modern mothers with traditional values. Mia can be reached at mia@mainstreetmom.com.


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