Piano Lessons. The Gift My Mom Gave Me by Jim Tomlinson
Like most things in life, learning to play the piano in the traditional way can take a long time. I, like quite a lot of people who play, took traditional piano lessons from a very young age. My mom would take my sister and me once a week to our teacher’s house, where she, with a patience that bordered on the divine, would proceed to teach us. From what I can remember in the beginning, it was an exciting and new adventure to be embarked upon with all of the endless optimism and gusto that only a four year old can muster. Eventually, the reality of learning to play an instrument as complex as the piano set in, and it inevitably turned in to quite a chore for my mother to get me to go to piano lessons. By this time, my parents had bought a piano for my sister and me to practice on. I know now that this was a tremendous investment on their part, especially considering that we lived way below the poverty line. Needless to say, quitting was NOT an option for us. There were several times over the years that I wanted to quit taking lessons, and I even managed to “win” once or twice, and get my mom to relent and let me quit. It never lasted long, though. She always managed to talk me in to starting back up again. It was especially difficult once I reached the age of eleven or twelve. By this time I had a bike, and was constantly out roaming the neighborhood with my friends. As with most boys that age, how my friends saw me, and their opinion of me was incredibly important. You may not know this, but nothing says “Cool Kid” like having to leave whatever trouble we were up to, so I could run home and go to piano lessons. Try explaining that one to the pretty girls we had finally convinced to come hang out with us down by the creek. One way my parents kept me going was with some of the other activities I was involved in, which I did enjoy immensely. If I wouldn’t take piano lessons, I wasn’t allowed to do any of those, either. No matter the method, my mom always managed to get me to stick with it.
We see this in the piano business all the time. Pianos can be expensive, sometimes coming to several thousand dollars. Parents are understandably hesitant to make such a large investment, because they don’t know if their child will want to stick with it. The answer to that is simple. You have to make them stick with it, by whatever means are at your disposal. Of course your 5 year old doesn’t know if they are going to want to play for their whole life, and there will certainly be times that they will want to quit. My parents (mainly my mother) forced me to stick with the piano, and I can’t adequately express the depth of my gratitude to her for this. Playing the piano is a gift she gave me that I will have for the rest of my life. I will never outgrow it or lose it, and it will never get old.