Parents... I get why you want to quit.
Can I just be honest for a sec? I understand that you want to pull your children out of their music lessons right now. Truthfully... I do, too. Practicing with my children is a struggle, and getting to lessons is exhausting. We are in that horrible place smack dab in the middle of the tunnel with no light in sight.
Friends, we are in the dark days of winter and everything feels cold and long and tiring- including dragging my kids to music lessons where they will likely under-perform since we’ve been in a practicing slump for weeks now. Raise your hand if you feel me on this. 🤚🏼
Why are we doing this again?
Was there some deeper purpose to these lessons? Brain development? Enjoyment of music? I have these vague memories of being very compelled to enroll my children in music lessons. Unfortunately, those thoughts are being crushed by the emotional turmoil of buckling three kids into the minivan with instruments, snacks, and colouring. At this point, brain development of any kind seems like a frill I can manage without.
Honestly, the only thing that keeps me going during these dark months is this: I remember feeling like this before... somewhere in between January and April of last year.
Here's the problem: This time of year, E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G is a struggle. Practicing. Driving to lessons. The coats. The boots. The snow. Parking. Getting out of bed in the dark. Homework. Limiting screen time (for my children, I mean. Obviously).
When parents approach me with desires to discontinue their children's lessons, I have to first do a bit of digging. What is the real cause? Because if you think it's your child's current lack of motivation to practice and attend lessons, guess what... we all are feeling that right about now.
Here are some of the questions I often ask parents (and myself) this time of year:
1- Is getting out the door to go anywhere a struggle? School, grocery shopping, dance classes? For your children, or for you too?
2- If you're being honest, do you secretly mirror your child's lack of enthusiasm for attending lessons and practicing? Children will pick up on this right away. And while the chicken or egg debate is a worthwhile thought exercise in this situation, the truth of the matter is that the only attitude we can control is our own.
Parents, we live in TORONTO, CANADA. Our city isn't the coldest place on Earth, but it is pretty darn hard to move around in the dead of winter when the streets and sidewalks are full of snow. Hot yoga in July does not compare to the sweat produced when preparing to leave the house with small children. Which is fine, because once the door opens and the cold air hits, your eyelashes will freeze on contact. If you've ever shoved a preschooler into a snow suit and then carried them to the car, you know what I'm talking about.
Guys. This isn't about not wanting to go to music lessons. It's not even a lack of motivation to practice piano specifically. It's a lack of desire to do pretty much anything that involves getting off the couch.
Here's the thing. In less than 6 weeks, it'll be warmer. We'll be going to work and coming home in the daylight. We won't always need mittens and a hat to leave the house. In a few weeks after that, we won't even need a coat. Spring is coming. I know. I too can hardly remember it.
Parents, take heart. I know it's hard to continue with music lessons this time of year when you have young children. But trust me on this one. This feeling will fade. Soon, we will be able to make it to the end of the day without needing wine (wait, what?).
Next year, we'll all want to quit again. But guess what? By then we'll all know that if we push through, we'll make it through to June. And we'll be happy we did.
Still need more practicing help? Check out our post on 2 Steps to Happy Practicing.
About the Author:
Rebecca Lane is the director, founder, and owner of Upper Beaches Music School. She teaches at the school on Saturdays, but most days you can find her chasing after her three young children, all of whom now take lessons at UBMS.