Sunday, December 19, 2010

To play or not to play?

 Photograph by Milaya Bealer on my Droid phone

As I was reading a blog that I look at quite a bit lately, I saw this post by Miss Mustard Seed about Raising Creative Children. Brian and I have been trying to get Milaya to practice her piano and enjoy doing it. She HATES to practice. Throws a fit every time we say it is time to practice.  She is really good and can even play some things by ear, but she gets so frustrated. Then we get frustrated with her because she is being too hard on herself. She is good. Why can't she see that? We tell her that, her teacher tells her that. I just hope that as a parent I haven't failed in teaching her that she doesn't have to be perfect. So hence the reference to Miss Mustard Seed. I think that she did WAY too much. Her parents must have been COMPLETELY EXHAUSTED! But she did have a good point that her parents wanted her to try different things. She didn't have to be good at them, they just wanted her to try. That is all that we want for Milaya. 

She begged to let me let her take ballet when she was younger...I did. Then she wanted to quit halfway through the year saying she was "bored". So I got tired of the throwing fits and whining, so I let her quit. Then last year she BEGGED me to let her play the piano. We enrolled her in lessons and she was cruising through the books doing really well. Then after one year she wanted to quit. We didn't let her. Now we are going through the same thing of not wanting to practice, crying at the piano, sulking and wasting her practice time, begging me to let her quit. We have tried setting a specific time for her to practice and that hasn't worked. We have tried to reward her with money if she practices. That didn't/isn't working. She really wants an Ipod or mp3 player and we have discussed that as a reward at the end of the year. Something to be working towards. That doesn't seem to be working either. We have asked her why she wants to quit and we get the same's boring.


I mean, I want to ring her little neck, I love her so much, but geez louise! I remember taking piano when I was young so I called my mom the other day and asked her if I ever did that. She said sometimes. I remember not liking to practice. Now I wish I would have practiced. I wish I would have stuck with it. I can sit down and pick things out, but I can't play well. I chose another path. Dance. She said that I never complained about going to dance class. I never felt that way. I loved it. One day I hope to find out what that one thing is for her so she can start to develop her talents that I know she has. 
Brian even asked his mom (since she teaches piano) of what to do. I think that she had some great suggestions on what to try next. At this point I am willing to try anything to just get her to practice and try. Here are some things that she suggested.

*Is she getting too many songs to practice?
*Is there something bothering her about the lessons or learning to play?
*Maybe we need to let her take a break and revisit the issue when she is older.
 * play through their songs 3 times each every day.  
*have them play one song each day 3 X then the next day play another song 3 times. ( The trick is is have them practice a little every day for short periods of time so that it establishes a routine. 
Can I just say that I LOVE MY MOTHER IN LAW! She said some things that made complete sense. Hopefully we can try these things and it will make a difference. Like she said too...I just want them to have a love of playing the piano and an appreciation of music. 

That is all that I wish for you sweetheart. I love you.
But the question is still make her play or not to play? 
This is Milaya playing "Fur Elise" by ear. After hearing me play it. She has also figured out part of the theme song to Harry Potter.


Jedda said...

Oh this is a tricky one! I always say that learning the piano is like riding a roller coaster. On the way up it's hard because you are learning new things and it's so much work. Then you finally reach the top and you feel so great because you did it and it's finally easy. Then you ride down to the bottom again because you start a new piece and it's hard work again! ah! So part of the trick is having her play things that she has "mastered." And letting that be a part of her piano time. That way the balance is better" Something she's been working on for awhile and getting stronger at, something she's mastered, and something she's new at. If it's too much new stuff. It's too much hard work. But, so you know. Much of what you describe is perfectly "normal." If you get desperate, try changing teachers. A great teacher should INSPIRE her to want to learn. Though we all know teachers can only do so much-so that's not necessarily it....good luck!!!

Amanda said...

Great job Milaya! Learning to read music is challenging sometimes but it will help you a TON with being able to play by ear and even with writing your own music! One day you will thank your parents for finding ways to get you to practice. Even if the piano isn't your favorite instrument-- it will help you to be able to play ANY instrument.
Love you! Aunt Amanda

Rachel said...

maybe try a different teacher. have her keep playing. once we're older we look back and wish.. have her wish come true now. good luck.