My Child Isn't Interested Anymore
An email from a concerned client. Posted with permission.
"My child seems to have lost interest in the piano. She used to practice at least three times a week, but now she hasn't touched it in three weeks. She is fourteen years old. So maybe she's more interested with what her friends are doing. When I asked her if she still wants to take lessons she said 'yes'. She loves her piano teacher. Should I still be paying for lessons? Or maybe I should give her an ultimatum; either practice, or no more lessons. Just seeing what ye think." - Mairead F.
Well Mairead, your struggle is real and not uncommon.
A child not practicing, but still wanting to continue on with lessons is a bit of a conundrum. They are enthusiastic enough to want the lesson, but not motivated to practice.
It's a tough call to make, and a hard nosed approach, regarding an ultimatum, may do the trick depending on how your daughter responds to that sort of action, but there are other things to consider.
Most professional artists will tell you that spending time away from their instrument gives them an opportunity to approach it from a different angle when they return. However, if you stop lessons, and our daughter wants to pick it back up, your time slot may be gone, and you might have to settle for whatever availability the teacher has when you return.
Perhaps your daughter has reached an artistic plateau of sorts. She might be skilled enough at this point, depending on how long she's been playing, to bluff her way through several pieces and exercises to the teacher's satisfaction. Simultaneously, she may not be interested in the material she's been given
Teenagers! Don't forget that she might also be at the age where showing enthusiasm can be deemed "uncool". Peer pressure is always something to consider for teenagers, and fitting in can be tough for some, especially if they have a talent for something.
I think a quick conversation over breakfast, lunch, dinner, or while dropping your daughter at lessons will quickly resolve it. Questions to ask would be:
-What are you learning in piano class?
-What song would your really love to learn?
-What's your favourite thing about piano lessons?
Ideally through these questions you'll learn what they're going over in class, what she wants to go over in class, and what part of the lesson she enjoys the most.
If you can afford to keep the lessons going while she goes through this patch, that would be ideal, but don't let it go on for too long, otherwise you will be throwing your money away.