Five reasons why you shouldn’t let your child quit piano lessons

Ruthie Gray Rearing 10 Comments

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I’m sure well meaning family members have said you shouldn’t let your child quit piano lessons.  I am both a parent of four children who wanted to quit, and a piano teacher of many children who did quit.  And while I don’t believe this statement is hard and fast (as explained in my post, 5 Reasons you SHOULD let your child quit piano lessons), I do think parents tend to give in too quickly.


5 reasons why you shouldn't let your child quit piano lessons. Ideas to get kids to stick with keyboard practice from a piano teacher/mom. #pianolessons

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For instance, your child begged for piano lessons for months, and, within weeks of starting, begged to quit.  She won’t practice,  “it’s too hard”; she doesn’t like it.  The situation escalates into more of a fight than it’s worth for you.  You’ve already spent countless hours taxiing her to lessons while you wait, not to mention money for books, and gas (which ain’t cheap).    

I understand – I reallllly do.  However, possessing a degree in music, having taught several years, and parented piano protestors myself, I have broad perspective on the subject.  Allow me to share  five reasons not to let little Susie give up.  (Yet.)

5 reasons why you shouldn't let your child quit piano lessons. Ideas to get kids to stick with keyboard practice from a piano teacher/mom. #pianolessons

     1.  Regret eventually surfaces.

The first reason you shouldn’t let your child quit piano lessons is he’ll regret it later in life.  I hear it all the time – including confessions from my oldest daughter, who fought me tooth and nail until I let her quit.  She now wishes she played well.  Think about it.  Have you ever heard an accomplished pianist voice regret over all the years of practice?

     2.  Practice breeds discipline. 

I once taught a couple of sisters who had very little natural talent.  They also had no desire to practice.  Upon conversing with the mother over this delicate subject, she said, “I know that.  But it’s not about talent.  It’s about discipline.  It keeps them busy and occupies their time, and also implements daily practice and responsibility for attending lessons, books in hand.  When they’re done high school, they can quit if they like.” 

She gave them a pep talk, they improved their practice skills and, to my surprise, developed talent over the years.  The girls grew up to be very successful – one of which is a doctor.  Kudos to that wise mama.


     3.  Commitment is a learned trait.

Kids need to learn that if a piano teacher is procured, that means she is getting paid to teach.  It is her job.  Money is being exchanged.  She needs paid every week for her job just like mom or dad.  (Sadly, some parents need to learn this.) 

Your child observes from a very young age whether or not you take commitment seriously according to how you handle their practice and lesson attendance.  You shouldn’t let your child quit piano lessons until you’ve at least fulfilled your monetary obligations.  (And maybe your child should fork over allowance money for missed practice time?)

5 reasons why you shouldn't let your child quit piano lessons. Ideas to get kids to stick with keyboard practice from a piano teacher/mom. #pianolessons

     4.  Self Esteem flourishes.

As little Billy learns, he improves.  As he improves, he plays for grandma, grandpa, Uncle Charlie, Aunt Sally, and the friendly neighbor darting in to borrow a cup of sugar.  He gains praise, which builds pride in her accomplishment.  Don’t discredit this one, mama – it bears a lot of weight.  I found this to be true in my own life. 

The memory of my college senior recital is still a highlighted achievement – the culmination of years of blood, sweat and tears. 


     5.  Future instruments are more easily learned.

So I let my eldest quit piano after 5 years because I was not only the teacher but the mom, and needed to pick my battles with “Ye Old Strong Willed One”.  But I didn’t let her off the hook.  Because she was musically inclined, I let her choose another instrument.  She chose flute, and became quite proficient – AND, she was able to read the music due to her piano background. 

Related post:  Strong-willed child battles?  Get help with these 7 hacks!

5 reasons why you shouldn't let your child quit piano lessons. Ideas to get kids to stick with keyboard practice from a piano teacher/mom. #pianolessons

You shouldn’t let your child quit piano lessons because letting them quit something “hard” too soon teaches them it’s ok not to do hard things.  Give it a reasonable amount of time, say, six months to a year.  Be willing to be invested in your child’s future as well as his sense of commitment.  He could develop a skill set to earn money later in life.

Even though I realized my dream of becoming an accomplished pianist, I wanted to quit plenty of times too.  I’m sure thankful my parents did let me!  

Looking for equipment to motivate your little Mozart?  Here’s what I recommend!

7 Ways Bible study calms an overwhelmed mom; Learn to study and interpret Scripture on your own and grow your faith with short bursts of time in the Word.


Comments 10

  1. We had one that took piano from 2nd grade all the way to 12th grade, another one who hated it. She ended up in sports. They are all unique in their own way.

  2. Yes, this is only the story of my first. Spoiler alert – i had others that didn't stick with it even 5 years. They were meant for other things as well – which is why I'll present the other side next week!

  3. I begged my parents to let me quit piano as a kid and remember being kind of disappointed that they let me. I don't even know why I complained, I don't think I hated practicing all that much, it's just what kids are supposed to do – complain about stuff!

  4. You're right, Jenny, kids are kids and adults really need to not listen to not listen to them on this for a while and let it gel. I'll give a time frame in the next post today! Thanks for reading!

    1. Hi Ruthie. After 2 years of taking piano lessons my 10 year old daughter just told me today that she doesn’t want to keep taking piano lessons. It broke my heart. I’m trying to teach her commitment, discipline & self esteem as you mentioned. She has not been successful in any sports or activities she has tried and we think it’s because she’s doesn’t have the will power or know how to put her heart and mind into anything although she wants to be good in everything. She takes weekly lessons and getting her to practice at least once a week is torture. She’s in the band in school (saxophone) which she likes. But find piano hard to learn and boring. She good at piano and that why I’ve been pushing her to stay with it. She’s kind of upset about quitting I started to feel it’s s waste of time and money. What should I do!
      Thank you.

      1. Well, you know she will regret it later, especially since you say she’s good at it. You’re trying to teach her discipline, and this is an excellent way to teach perseverance through “boring” or even stressful times. If she’s lacking willpower to stick to commitments, it sounds like you may need to tighten your belt and require her to practice more than once a week. Because honestly, if it’s only happening once a week, that’s just wasting your money.

        So basically, I think you should decide whether you’re going to require her to practice 5 times a week (and this will be an exercise in discipline for you too LOL), or let her quit. My kids that quit piano regret it now (I had two that quit and 2 that stuck with it). Good luck!!

  5. I am really struggling with this subject. I have 3 sons who play piano. The oldest took lessons for 10 years and we let him quit if he promised to keep playing on his own and for church. He has continued, and enjoys piano very much (success!). The other two, though, have finally brought me to tears. The 14 year old has played for over 8 years, and the 13 year old for over 6 years. They are GIFTED musicians. The piano comes so naturally to them. They truly know how to make beautiful music. Both have consistently scored the highest rankings for judges each year. If they continued with their work, they have the potential to become amazing pianists. Unfortunately, they both want to quit after (but they’ve never wanted to quit before!). I think it’s out of laziness and rebellion. I’m just so tired of fighting with them to practice, to put forth effort, or to care. I know in my heart that if I let them quit, they absolutely will regret it someday. But if I keep making them play, I know it will be an ongoing struggle and heartache for me. The 14 year old is also a percussionist in band (which he loves) and the 13 year old is also a violinist. I don’t know what to do.

    1. Hi Lisa! Oh my I KNOW how you feel, girlfriend. Yes, the will regret it if you let them quit. However, sometimes when there’s a compromise to be had (such as them continuing in band and violin) it’s worth letting them quit for your peace of mind. I also wrote reasons why you SHOULD let them quit – here’s the link for that one: Because I did eventually let mine quit and felt so much better about life. What happened next was they practiced their secondary instruments with more joy and went on to actually pick the piano back up on their own later!! It’s crazy, but my son now leads music at his church AND plays keyboard with a guitar slung around his neck. And my daughter plays both by ear and my sight. I’d love to know what you decide!

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