"Don't look at the keys! LOOK AT THE MUSIC!"
There's a tight knot in my stomach and I'm not even playing.
My 7 year old is the one having the lesson with the slightly scary russian piano teacher. We all have to go; so the other two are fidgeting on the sofa and I'm trying to crochet a granny square, willing him to hit the right notes...
Taking a deep breath and heading down the music route has the potential to be seriously stressful (and expensive). The lesson itself is one thing, but getting them to practice can be a whole world of pain.
Worse than homework. In my experience.
And to be clear, there was no pushy, tigery grrr mum stuff involved here - he was desperate to have piano lessons, and it seemed fair because his brother does so much football. But once he realised he wasn't going to be able to play the Simpson's theme tune any time soon, it all went a bit pear-shaped.
We had tears and tantrums....and a lot of banging the piano keys with his feet.....Soooo so draining. I hadn't taken on board just how much of a commitment it was for both of us.
I was close to calling it a day 6 months ago. Surely there's no point making a child do something they don't want to do - or a parent for that matter? End the misery, save the cash.....but it felt too easy. I wanted him to start learning he couldn't just quit because it was hard. Not yet anyway. I also thought of friends who wish they hadn't given up.
Now we are a step or two further down the road. The battles can still be bloody and I wouldn't have a hope without a bit of bribery. But when I hear him play, I'm pretty sure I made the right decision. Painful as it was.
What works for him is little and often - this seems to help avoid meltdown the night before a lesson. The piano has also done wonders for his confidence. Recently he played in front of his whole school. He was fine. I was a nervous wreck.
Maybe you've not had any problems, and it's all been plain sailing (lucky, lucky you) But if you are on the verge of stopping/screaming/selling said instrument, I'd say give it another shot....if you can bear it !
There is something lovely at the end of that long, dark tunnel.