February 26, 2018

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

By Ann Van De Water

No, I’m not talking about breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend, but a piano teacher.  Last week I broke up with my kids’ piano teacher of four years.  I was nervous.  Would she understand?  Would she try to make us stay?  Would she be hurt?  Offended? 

I have been strongly encouraging, okay, some might say “forcing” my girls to take piano lessons this year.  They complain about going to lessons, about practicing and have asked repeatedly to quit.  They both have done very well and made a lot of progress and I really hated to let them quit, but I was done with the tension, tears, and yelling.  Oh, and that was not just on my side.   One of my kids decided to try another teacher and I think this teacher may be a better fit for her. My other daughter started voice lessons.
I know my kids are not the first to lose interest in or quit music lessons.  I know our piano teacher has students who quit every year, but I still felt guilty about having my girls quit.   The teacher told me she was sad, but taking lessons is a privilege and I shouldn’t have to fight with them about lessons.  She told me she has a feeling my girls will be back, that she had students who quit for a while and come back for lessons.  She gave me a hug too. 

I think it was the best break-up I’ve ever had. 

Ann is a stay-at-home mother of twin 10-year-old girls and a former high school English teacher.

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  1. She’s right about everything she said… about the privilege of taking lessons, about how they do sometimes come back. You were also right about trying something else. My wife and I own a few music studio locations and while most of the time the worst idea is to switch teachers on a kid (because the relationship is such a significant part of the progress), if the kid is not enjoying their lessons, practice, or instrument, before quitting altogether its not a bad idea to switch teachers, or the instrument. We’ve had teachers who teach in the same building at the same time have students switch from one to the other. There is definitely no hard feelings when they find out they switched to another teacher. I think all our teachers are fantastic. But there have been student/teacher match-ups that were clearly not the right match. But just go and Google “benefits of music lessons” and see for yourself just how huge an impact it can have on a kid’s or an adult’s life. This is why I say instead of just quitting altogether, doing what you did and trying anther instrument is such a good idea. Your teacher may have been excited to see the fruits of your kids’ labors up on the recital stage, or he/she might have grown attached to them personally and may miss them, but if she’s anything like our teachers she’ll just be thrilled to find out they’re still pursuing music lessons on another instrument. Good luck!

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