Music is a tricky business for my son. He loves music and given some time with his toy keyboard he can play a tune by ear. But he doesn't like lessons as he has got a bad experience before. He said he was forced into practice sessions by his father where he is always reminded not to move a lot because he might break the violin and its expensive. In some ways its true that violins are expensive so you are not really suppose to move a lot but imagine practicing while being constantly reminded of the price of the violin? Not much fun.
He has got a chance to learn musical instrument this year in school. He ask for guitar lessons because we have a guitar at home. One that old and not as precious as the violin.
In the last days though I get exasperated when I asked him to practice but he doesn't listen at all. And then one time before he went to sleep we had a talk. I am asking what can I do to inspire him to play more? He cried. He said that me always reminding him to practice brought back memories of his father nagging him to practice his violin. In some ways I had become his father without me even realizing it.
I apologized but told him that the only way that he will learn to play is if he will play it a lot. He said he will practice in his own time. I almost didn't believe that he will. But I said okay. You are in charge of your own practice time. And I will not nag about it. Because I don't want him to have a bad relationship with music.
It is rather frustrating but I have to respect his decisions. But how can I inspire him to learn without nagging?
One morning, I took his guitar. As I am small, a child guitar is a perfect size for me to play. I am no guitar genius but I can play basic minor and major chords (Except the b and F hehe).
Then he sat there with me. Watch my hand strum as he hums with the random chords that I am playing.
And then he started asking questions about how to play. And I said about this spider practice that I do to loosen and soften my fingers.
Then he asked if he can try it.
Then I left him in his own devices after I showed him how to do it.
And of course took some photos.
I can always nag him to practice and along the way he would grow to hate it or I can play it and show him how interesting guitar can be.
Its so simple and yet I didn't thought of it, lead by example. And I remember this cheesy quote that made a lot of sense now more than ever.
The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires. — William Arthur Ward.
Now I am going to try to save some money so that I can buy my own guitar and we can play chaotic music together! Oh how I dont envy my neighbor when that time comes =P
I dont know how to properly play so maybe he can teach me! Because everyone can be a teacher. Every one is a teacher. Like how I learned something from my son today and how he hopefully learned something from me as well.