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Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Momentum lost

Well, I guess it was bound to happen.
My 13 year-old son quit piano lessons. We had him going for a few years, but this year has been hard, what with the Bar Mitzvah and his new responsibilities, which include an hour and a half at the Kollel each night. But I think the real issue was that his last teacher switched to Saturdays only, and we had to get him a new one. And this guy has been busting my kid's chops pretty hard. I think he turned him off. I mean, 4 weeks of 3 day yontifs, starting school and learning in the Kollel, and going into overtime preparing for the Bar Mitzvah, and this new teacher gives him a hard time about not practicing enough!

I did try to talk with the guy, but the damage was already done. My kid's got enough on his plate, and he doesn't need one more source of stress. I explained to my son that this will be his last possible year for lessons, since he won't get them when he goes away to Yeshiva. He understands, and he told me that he would rather work with me. So we're going to work on some of my old songs, and I'll teach him how to comp and do keyboard parts. And if it works out, we may do a little performance together (and with my daughter).

I've always felt that getting kids to study music was all about momentum (actually I think this is true about almost everything- exercise, learning, making minyan). If you can keep them going, they continue. If you let the momentum get lost, the game is over. It's kind of like starting a bar-b-que. You want to put enough lighter fluid on so that you can keep the flames going, but not so much that it blows up in your face. You hope that eventually the coals will catch and burn on their own. Until then, you try to keep the fire going by whatever means necessary.

Oh well. On the brighter side, my ten year old wants to take up flute.


Shira Salamone said...

I confess to being a bit confused. I thought Kollel was for post-high-school guys. I'm more than a little surprised that a thirteen-year-old would be going to Kollel. Did I miss something, as usual?

Your son probably has a long school day and plenty of homework, in addition to his daily time at Kollel. I was wondering whether he has time to kick off his shoes and relax.

PsychoToddler said...

Generally speaking, you're right. But in Milwaukee, it's more of a community resource. So they do a lot of outreach, a lot of education, and they bring in a lot of regular folks to learn there at night with the rebbeim.

They "encourage" the 8th grade boys to get a nightly chevrusa there to go over the gemora from class. Basically, if you want to be competitive vis a vis yeshiva admission, this is what they look for, plus it's a good study session for him. We really want him to stay at the yeshiva in town, and they have limited slots open.

It's supposed to be an hour, but by the time they're done with Maariv, it's 90 minutes. I don't mind; it keeps him away from video games. But it doesn't leave much time to relax, so I try to cut him a little slack elsewhere.

My feeling about music is that it helps with general academics, and will give him a good stress reliever in the future, but I'm not going to force it on him.