Where the inside of my mind leaks onto the screen.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Self-Motivated... Sorta

Long before we even got married, Kirk and I talked about piano lessons.  I'm sure it was tucked somewhere into a discussion about whether or not we would force our children to do something they didn't like.  The result was a list of things we'd certainly encourage (football, performing) and one item we'd force: piano.

I also knew all along that I would not be playing the role of piano teacher in this journey.  My mom taught me for a brief period of time before our constant battle resulted in me taking lessons from my Aunt Dawna.  Even that wasn't enough separation for me, however.  Aunt Dawna was an excellent teacher.  She expected me to practice and got after me when I didn't, and sadly, that hurt the familial relationship I may otherwise have had with her.  I mean, who wants to see their piano teacher at family parties?

My personal rule is that piano lessons start after the child is able to read.  With Adam's leaps-and-bounds progress on that front in school this year, I knew it was time to find a teacher.  But apprehension about the practicing fight coupled with indecision as to who to hire as a teacher helped me drag my feet.

It was actually Kirk's frequent suggestions, "Don't you think it's time to get Adam started on piano?" or "We really need to find Adam a piano teacher," which motivated me to get my act together.  Alex's preschool teacher also teaches piano, and since I've been thrilled with her teaching style for preschool, it seemed she'd be a good fit.  We had to wait a couple weeks for an opening, but he's officially been a piano student for 3 weeks.

I attended the first lesson so I could get a feel for her style.  Having been a piano teacher myself, I didn't want to push my way on him at home; I would rather support her way.  I was impressed.  For one, she really loves teaching piano.  (Insert image of me shaking my head here, because that's a concept I just can't quite grasp.)  Her rewards system, while a bit complicated, rewards practicing and allows the students both instant and delayed gratification through the issuing of tickets which can be saved up and exchanged for prizes.

I thought adding piano lessons into the mix would be a big headache and a constant battle.  Not so.  On weekdays, he simply practices the moment he walks through the door.  On weekends, he'd probably have yet to practice because I can't seem to remember it's a part of the new routine.  But a great phenomenon has happened.  Adam is self-motivated to practice (sorta... I assume the tickets affect that motivation), and he'll suddenly realize, "Oh, Mom... I need to practice the piano."

We're changing lessons from Thursdays to Tuesdays this week, meaning he had two fewer opportunities to practice this week.  Before school this morning, he quickly ate his breakfast and packed his bag so he'd have extra time to practice.  He seems to look forward to the lessons, remembering to pack his piano folder in his school bag so I can drop him off on the way home.  He has his flashcards down, and while his hand placement and timing leave something to be desired, he's only three weeks in.

I love hearing him say, "Oh, Mom... this is my favorite song."  I'm adjusting to not being able to leave my own piano music out on the stand all the time, and I love that my piano gets played at least once every day.  I'm still anticipating a fight down the road, but for now I'm grateful to see this in my home: