Feb 11

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The Shoemaker’s Children Go Barefoot and My Struggles Teaching My Kids Music

Teaching PianoHave you ever heard the phrase, “the shoemaker’s children go barefoot?” I feel like that phrase describes me in relation to my ability to be consistent with musical training for my kids. I am a former piano teacher and only stopped teaching a few years ago after the birth of my third child. I was in piano lessons from the time I was six years old until I graduated from high school, yet my children have had very inconsistent music instruction. We have started and stopped lessons many times over the years. I have tried to explore my attitude and habits to ascertain the reason this has happened.

Why Is This Subject So Hard For Me to Teach?

  • As much as I love music myself, my boys did not seem to show early promise in music. My husband has an appreciation for music, but has no natural ability in this area. My boys and I would sing songs together when they were toddlers and I would sit them in my lap and let them “play” the piano. They enjoyed this, but did not approach the piano to play often on their own. I have always wanted to guide them toward their natural giftings and bents and I don’t want them to feel pressure to do as their Mama and Daddy have done in every way. I want them to have a well-rounded education, but I don’t want them to hate music and music practice.
  • I think that in the early years of our homeschool journey, I was so focused on the three R’s that I couldn’t see past them to work in time for electives such as music. It took all our energy to get the basics done in the early years, and it didn’t leave much time for extras such as music.
  • I believe looking at music as an elective and not a way of life caused me to put it in the category of “extras” and push it to the back burner for many years.

How Am I Approaching this Subject Now to Address My Weaknesses?

  1. I have reviewed some awesome music software by Adventus that has taken some of the burden off of me and helped me delegate some of the music instruction to an “online teacher”. The boys are having fun and enjoying piano now and I don’t have to be the nag.
  2. I am trying to include music appreciation by choosing some music from my library to have the kids listen to during the day. I hope to add to this collection. Right now we are listening to some American folk tunes, a Scripture memory CD and a selections of classical music during our school day.
  3. I am making music a part of our school day. I schedule in practice in our planner and the kids have to mark it off daily. I have practice scheduled daily for all of the kids, including my 3-year old.
  4. All three of my kids have begun to attend music choir at our church and are enjoying it.
  5. My oldest son attends a one-week music camp each summer and he is exposed to music, drama and hand bells. These opportunities are helping to fill in the gaps where my inconsistency has caused me to fall short. I hope that these few strategies will enable me to begin preparing my children with a foundation in music that they can build on if they so desire. I am trying to give them a well-rounded education, but allow them the freedom to choose other paths if they so desire.

Subject Struggle

Check out the Crew blog here to read what others are struggling to teach their kids.

Permanent link to this article: http://conversaving.com/2014/02/11/the-shoemakers-children-go-barefoot-and-my-struggles-teaching-my-kids-music/


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  1. Kemi Quinn

    OHMIGOSH This is so me!!! Although I didn’t take piano until I was in my 20’s. I’m the church pianist and Sunday School guitarist yet I’ve been very haphazard about teaching my own daughter to play. Thank goodness for Adventus. I need to do as you have done though and schedule her lessons into my planner. She enjoys learning this way and then we revisit some of what she is learning together on the big piano.

    And by the way how about “The HVAC Technician’s Family is Cold”. My husband always seems to forget to check our own heating systems.

    Thank you for sharing!

    1. David

      Yes my hubby is a landscape architect and our yard is always “a work in progress”

    2. David

      Thanks for commenting! We will make it through!

  2. Kym

    This is me in many ways too! I gave it up with my boys – they were just not interested in learning to play the piano and I didn’t want to make it an issue. Two of them play drums now though – :shrug:. My youngest child is the one that showed a lot of natural talent – she has a beautiful singing voice and an excellent ear, and was trying to teach herself how to play piano. She bought herself a guitar with her birthday money one year, so we decided that we would contract out the music lessons. I found a lovely young lady that lives close by that teaches both piano and guitar, and for now this is working out wonderfully.

    Oh, and by the way – my husband is general manager of a greenhouse and is a landscape gardener. Our yard is chaos. We’re lucky if we get the grass mowed. ROFL

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