We let Finn quit piano lessons in June.
Finn, our one and only child, took piano lessons for four years and he was getting good. Really good. Maybe not Elton John good, but I was getting my hopes up.
But he was losing interest. Piano lessons had often been a chore, but now they were becoming more of a battle. He was older. Savvy. He knew how to push all of the right buttons.
Waterboarding is for amateurs. If you really want to get a terrorist to talk, ask him to make an unwilling 11-year-old practice piano. That terrorist will be reduced to a puddle of frustrated tears and verbal diarrhea in no time.
My last piano talk with Finn went something like this:
Finn: Mom, everyone says I will regret quitting piano when I get older. But, honestly, I really don’t care.
Me: I wish this was 1945, so I could beat the tar out of you.
Finn: You were allowed to beat kids in 1945?
Me: Oh yeaaaaahhhh.
Okay. That first sentence was true, but I might have made up the rest.
When Finn told me—very sincerely, in fact—that he just didn’t care, I finally got it. He wasn’t feeling it. He wasn’t getting any joy out of piano. It was mostly all our joy. And to his credit, his teacher was brilliant, but kind of a dud.
Jeesh, I felt like Andre Agassi’s dad. I can just see Finn now wearing his hair piece at Madison Square Garden…
This story is a lot longer and more complicated than this little blog, but Scott and I had an epiphany and let him quit. Scott’s epiphany came about a year before mine did. My epiphany was a late bloomer, but once she developed she was a knockout. So he quit!
But I’m a master negotiator, so I told him he could quit on one condition—that he keep music in his life. He needed to sign up for band or choir (my epiphany is a stubborn knockout).
Finn has always enjoyed the drums, so he joined the school band. He wants to be a drummer.
Right now, the percussion section is learning the bells. He’s teaching the other 6th grade percussionists how to read notes and play the bells. He feels like a rock star.
I feel smug.
This week the band director found out he knows how to play piano and asked him to come join the jazz band. You don’t even need to try out, she says.
So he woke up at 5:40 am today to get to school early to practice with the jazz band. “It’s mostly the 8th graders and I have a little bit of catching up to do, but it’s no big deal. It was fun.”
I swear I’m going to start encouraging the kid to be a drug-addled porn star.