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Check out the advertisements and you will find that there are lots of adds offering up private music lessons for our youngsters. There are many designations to choose from: conservatories, academies and studios.

There are educational offerings for kids starting at age zero to three years of age. Expectant mothers can start to introduce music therapy to their unborn child to get the jump on mothers who do not have the time or finances to begin the process early.

Parents, OK mothers because dad is too darn busy, are usually expected to be involved, learning the songs and rhythms in the private or group lessons. Each teacher and program offers up different costs and time schedules to choose from.

You will find helpful information about when your child should begin taking lessons. If your child knows the alphabet from A-G they automatically qualify for private piano lessons. We were told that our children should be able to practice for longer then 10-15 while having fun playing the piano.

Perhaps twinning the words/practice/piano and fun might be an oxymoron for many youngsters. Sad fact of life that we never ask our children if they want to take lessons or spend their time practicing on the keys. We assume that of course it is in their best interest.

To buy a new upright piano you are looking to spend $4,000 plus HST. I wanted to please my wife, Ella, and opted to purchase a baby grand piano for my two children to practice on when they were six and eight years of age. We had a very wise neighbor who invested in a paper keyboard for his son, Mike, to quietly play on. When he refused to practice the family wisely recycled the notes to light the family fire place.

We went through a number of teachers (4) who did their best to have our children enjoy the art of playing piano. Conservatory, private classic/jazz music lessons where our kids were supposed to enjoy practicing thirty minutes a day of “Mississippi Hot Dog”. We even went along with the Sunday afternoon recitals and the Kiwanis Festival competitions all to no avail.

I still remember a young, wunderkind girl, who I nicknamed, George, whose parents made her practice many hours a day. They even took along a piano- key- board on the family vacation trips to Florida for her to continue to perfect her lessons.

There are some children who play on the black keys and there are others that play on the white and then there are the majority of young people who do not have very much talent and find themselves playing in between the cracks.

I found some information for parents whose children wanted to quit their piano regime. It has an interesting connotation. It recommends a tit-for-tat agreement for a reward. Simple, if you bribe the love of your life to sit down at the keyboard with the promise of a day at Story Book Gardens they will not complain. “A little bit of sugar can make the medicine go down” goes the unending song.

I am defending the rights of the poor confined youngster who has been sentenced to a form of music purgatory. It isn’t hell but it sure is not heaven. Our children are constrained from being able to hang out with their friends in the great outdoors. Every child should have a voice to be able to say no or that is enough.

I am not denying that there are some children who enjoy pursuing private music lessons. But the vast majority of adolescents, especially young active boys, would rather be and out and about.

My two children completed their grade eight practical and grade two theory examinations. Their high school counselor equated their certificates to a grade nine semester physical education credit. Like the majority of my students that I counsel they too never play the piano. We get it tuned once a year and faithfully keep it shined up.

Folks you don’t have to spend after tax dollars on lessons. For talented youngsters in the London area we have the St Mary’s Choir School and the Lester B. Pearson school for the Arts. Our secondary schools have excellent teachers who offer up a wide range of credit courses in strings, choir, winds, band and percussion classes. You can have your family enjoy hours of music including the likes of Chopin, Brahms and Rachmaninov by tuning into the CBC Classics on your computer or radio.

Take a moment and ask a post secondary student who took music lessons if they still enjoy playing. I wager that they will admit that they too used to play.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com