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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Know when to fold 'em....

3 years ago Peter started taking guitar lessons and Sarah started taking piano lessons.

They begged me for these lessons before I relented and said they could start.  Begged.  Peter even bought his first guitar with his own money.

And the lessons progressed nicely.  They were 7 and 8 at the time so of course I had to remind them to practice and they did with minimal complaining.  But now, three years later, we are at a cross roads.

The kids rarely practice unless I remind them and even then it is a struggle.  And because they aren't practicing enough, they aren't progressing. 

And these lessons aren't cheap. 

For the last year I've been struggling with letting them quit.  Or letting them take a break.  Or just pushing through.  I chose the path of least resistance and we've just been pushing through.

Meanwhile, for the last couple of years the kids have played basketball with the local Upward organization.  Upward is a learning league with Christian values.  There is  prayer before each game, the parents are strongly encouraged not to be rude to the players and refs, and the rules were relaxed a bit so that everyone got a fair chance at scoring. 

It was a great experience for the kids but after several seasons, they both decided they were ready for something more.  They want to play for their school this year. 

I was checking out the school calendar and realized something was going to have to give.  The practice schedule and game schedule were overwhelming to me.  Twice as many practices and games per week as they were used to.  And they practice at school which is 20 minutes from our house verses the Upward location which was 6 minutes.  And half the games are away...which means more driving, more time spent away from other activities.

I was looking at the basketball schedule trying to figure out how we were going to get all those practices and games in with Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and with homework and with piano and guitar.

I was feeling great stress about it until I decided that something needs to go.  And that something is music lessons.

Even if I could get everyone where they needed to be (which I'm sure I could if I called in the Grandma and Grandpa cavalry) there would be zero time to practice.  I am 100% certain that their currrent minimal practice time would turn into no practicing at all.

And did I mention that music lessons are expensive?  I can't rationalize spending the money if they aren't going to practice at all. 

And the timing seems to be about right.  Peter's new guitar teacher is leaving after this month and basketball starts in October.  Sarah has been asking to take a break from piano for several months now. 

My main issue revolves around the fact that I feel like I've wasted all the money I've spent over the last three years and don't have a lot to show for it.  And this was my main hesitation with letting them even start in the first place.

I've told them that I am going to let them take a break from music during basketball and we will reevaluate after that.

Sarah was excited with the break but Peter was bummed out.  I have a feeling after basketball season Peter will want to start lessons again and Sarah won't.

I'm still struggling with the fact that I've already spent so much money on these lessons and stopping them seems like such a waste of the money I've already spent, but I've decided to take Kenny Roger's advice...

You've got to know when to fold 'em, know when to hold 'em.

So, for now, fold 'em it is!  

Back when practicing was fun and something that was done often...


jennwa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jennwa said...

Maybe after the break they will appreciate the lessons more. If not, I think they still learned a lot of valuable knowledge about music that can not be taken away. So it is not a waste. They may take it up later in life and it will be easier for them to restart.
But you should not run yourself crazy for something they do not even want to do.
And how were they to know if they were going to like it or not if they never even tried. Kids today are blessed because they have the options to try so many different activities.

Amelia Bentrup said...

I wouldn't consider the money wasted. Most everyone stops music lessons at one time, unless they go onto a career in music. But, if not, they have to stop at some point..not many college students o adults take music lessons unless it is part of their career. Irregadless of if they pick lessons back up, they still benefited fom those years of music study.

Madeline said...

I think you're right though, something had to give. And this way, after a break you can really see whether it's something they want to pursue.