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5 reasons why students stop taking or don't start music lessons

Whether having attended a musical school, taking music lessons from a private teacher, or having someone from your family/friends with the music learning experience, all outcomes of music lessons can be different. Alongside other things, it depends on the length of learning. Some students study for years and successfully participate in music activities (recitals, concerts, competitions, etc.) and improve their skills. Students of piano in a music school usually attend from 8 yrs of age until 18 years. However, some students drop out without good progress made. Why does it happen? Why do students of different ages stop piano lessons without a genuine reason?

Most popular reasons.

  1. Not enough time

  2. Too hard/ no progress

  3. Too expensive

  4. Boring

  5. I don't have a piano/keyboard

Interestingly, the first 4 reasons are very often used for other activities as well, for example, for not learning a foreign language.

1. Not enough time

Time is precious; no one can argue about it but isn't it just about being organized. When a person plans to take music lessons for himself or their child, it takes some time, just like anything else. A regular week of one of my students: tennis - 8 hours per week, dragon boat - 6 hours per week, Chinese language - 4-6 hours per week, computer class - 4 hours per week, and piano - … 1 hour per week only, big difference when compared to other activities! Of course, unlike some other activities learning music requires some practice at home (I bet you wouldn't let someone play tennis in your house, would you?) But once again, it is not a lot - for beginners, 20-30 minutes a day is ok. At least, that's what I ask from my first-year students. It is easy enough for even working adults to manage it. One of my adult students is an owner of a law firm, but he has enough time to play piano and saxophone and attended concerts. Another student works a full-time job as a chemist, does boxing, taking a sommelier course, and piano lessons.

So if you organize your time wisely, you will have enough time. Managing time is even more important for children but never ask them to do it. Children like to play games and have fun; they don't know much about organizing and don't want to do it. So it's your responsibility to schedule their time for them, and then the “not enough time” reason will not be an issue anymore.

In the end, my advice is - organize your time! If you don’t know how - The internet can be an excellent research tool. There are many valuable tips, articles, books, videos, and even courses on time management for everyone.

2. Too hard/ no progress

It can be easy to tell ourselves something is just too hard to continue or try. From playing sports to learning a new language or studying chemistry, computers, algebra - too hard! However, a steady practice will always give results and build the confidence needed to have no fears.

Determine your goals. If you/your children play “just for fun,” then it's not too hard actually. If you're preparing to participate at a concert or prepare for an exam, then it will require more focus, of course.

Be patient with yourself; sometimes, people expect some fantastic results after a few months of lessons. If they don’t see it, they stop taking classes because they think they do not have what it takes, but it’s not true nor too hard. It just takes time and practice.

Whenever we start learning something new, a new platform/chain starts building in our brain, and it needs to be completed to see good improvements. And then it happens again, and again, and again… Whenever you learn new material or work on new skills. The transition between those brain platforms can take some time (and sometimes it makes students want to stop), but it doesn't mean there is no progress. Your brain is working on new materials, and the more you work, the faster it will be completed.

Try to imagine yourself/ your child in 5 years. “You in 5 years of taking music lessons” will be able to play many different songs and pieces, when “you in 5 years of not taking music lessons” will be the same as today.

Which ‘you’ would you like to be in 5 years?

3. Too expensive

Music lessons can be pricey at one place and suspiciously cheap at others. If you search carefully, you will see different offers. Different teachers, tutors, schools, and even college students majoring in music offer private lessons at divergent prices. There are also group lessons and even online lessons/courses (many teachers don’t recommend this option, but sometimes it works).

A difference in length lessons. Often schools offer 30-minute, 45, or 60-minute lessons. Getting a 30-minute class might seem like the most inexpensive, but some offer packages that can save even more.

If you look, you will find. Just keep in mind that you also want to get an excellent valuable experience with a professional teacher.

4. Boring

Some teachers are not fun; that is not a secret. In this case, whatever you're trying to do can be dull indeed. But it is not a reason not to start or to stop taking lessons. It is a reason to try another teacher or school. However, if you've changed five different teachers in a few months, it's not a teacher issue then. It's about being patient once again.

We all have waves of interest sometimes. Here is a story from my life; Right now, my routine looks like this: I practice every day, perform as a soloist and in ensembles, teach music, write about music, attend musical events, listen to a lot of music and watch music videos. All my life is surrounded by music, and I love it! I can't imagine myself without it. But it wasn't this way all the time. When I was younger, I had my “waves,” as I call them now. When I just started learning piano, I liked it for a little bit, then, after a while, I felt that it was boring and wanted to stop (I was 9 yrs old, so thanks to mom, I didn't do it). Then it was interesting again for a couple of years. After - again, boring. And eventually - I am a pianist, and it's been interesting for almost 20 years by now. My old school mom never let me quit, and I'm super thankful for that! I remember that if I complained about “boring piano lessons,” she used to say, “ You will understand if it is boring or not when you're older.” It upset me a lot because I thought I was old enough to understand that, but she was right; I wasn't. She also told me, “Sometimes we need to do something that we don't want to do at the moment, but that is what makes us smarter, better, stronger.”

By the way, the teacher of my first lessons turned out to be the best teacher I could have had, and we are still friends.

5. I don't have a piano, violin, etc.

This is my favorite topic. There are thousands of pianos of different brands, models, sizes, qualities, and prices in our day market (as a pianist, I'm going to talk about pianos, of course). You don't have to be rich to get one. Digital pianos can be a good alternative to acoustic pianos. Acoustic pianos can be pricey, but on the other hand, sometimes you can find them even for free! Some people find themselves with a piano (from their parents, friends, neighbors) which they don't use, and it just takes their valuable space, and they are ready to give it for free - just come and take it. And you don’t have to live in a palace to fit a piano. Once again, digital keyboards are very convenient for small spaces. Just make sure that you are not buying a synthesizer if you plan to play Chopin or Beethoven - it’s not going to work. You can find more details and tips for getting a piano/keyboard here: Buying a piano. Acoustic or digital?

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