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Teen Overwhelm at the Piano

Updated: Oct 26, 2021


Why do teen’s quit piano? Do they loose interest or is it something else? "I’m bored" doesn’t necessarily mean they are bored.

I have a 13-year-old student taking her grade 5 piano exam. She learned 3 of the 5 pieces at the beginning of the year, took the summer off and now we are working on learning the last two pieces. We are also polishing her grade 5 technique, improving sight reading, working on ear training and rhythm. It’s a lot.


Last week she lost interest in piano and it wasn’t a surprise. Her dad called me and asked if I could help.


“There is no way I can learn all that, I barely remember the pieces I was learning before the summer” she said. “It’s too much" I was lucky I knew her well enough that she didn’t use the “I’m bored” excuse. Gratefully, she let it all out. She was experiencing overwhelm. She, like a lot of teens, was becoming aware at how involved learning the piano really is. She couldn’t see her way to the goal, her grade 5 exam… but she still loved to play the piano.


This was a tremendous learning opportunity. One of those life lessons that goes beyond learning the piano. I could drop the classical music exam as we supplement her lessons with fun tunes, lead sheets, improvisation, and creativity. Yet, there are fundamentals that piano exams bring to round out her education. I wasn’t prepared to give that up, yet.


The solution was a simple one. Breaking down the journey to her exam into simple, manageable steps. That's where a teacher is invaluable. I remembered a poster I used to have on my wall as I was working through my music degree. It constantly reminded me, if I was experiencing overwhelm, break it down into smaller, easier steps.


I didn’t have the poster anymore, so I created a new one for my student. She now has it on her wall over her piano and she is working towards her grade 5 exam, one wave at a time.



Would you like a copy? Download a pdf of the poster and use the code GRACE to get it free!

 

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I'm always happy to answer any questions you may have!





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