Monday, July 15, 2013

A Lovely Essay

Last night, I read an article in the latest issue of Notre Dame Magazine that made this piano teacher's heart sing. It's a sweet, short, little essay called, "Not calling it quits" and it's about the beauty and richness that can come from not giving up on piano lessons as a young child (as so many do).

Patrick Dunne, ND class of 1960, writes this:

So how do you respond to your child's "I want to quite piano" plea? 

Think. How would you answer a youngster's desire to quit going to school, quit behaving well, quit taking baths, quit wearing clothes? Some things a responsible parent must insist on. 

Nagging and iron discipline are not the answer. Instead, take an interest. Care. Once your child connects with a piano teacher he really likes, you're home free. Practice makes perfect, so the logical goal is to make piano practice fun. Once the budding pianist falls in love with daily practice, all difficulties disappear.

The goal need not be to become a "concert pianist." The thrill of performing a Beethoven sonata or a Chopin ├ętude or a Bach fugue well is the true province of the amateur pianist. Even for the accomplished pianist, the quintessential audience is himself, herself. For therein lies the rapture, the life-enhancing joy of personal creativity.

I just might frame it.

p.s. There's still time to enter the giveaway for a fun box of some of my favorite things! Just leave a comment on this post. Thank you!


  1. Katie @ Loverly SheJuly 15, 2013 at 10:59 AM

    Ok, this is definitely getting sent around to my students :)

  2. I know, isn't it terrific?! I plan to show my students too. I also sort of want to hand it out to my students' parents...too bold? :)

  3. Katie @ Loverly SheJuly 15, 2013 at 1:10 PM

    Not too bold at all :) I think I'll make a little card out of it and hand it out for everyone to stick to their fridge! Thanks so much for sharing it, Kate!

  4. Oh what a great idea! Maybe you can post the finished product on your blog, I'd love to see :)

  5. I'm definitely handing this out to my piano parents also! Thanks for sharing this, Kate!

  6. well that's just beautiful. i'm so glad you shared it! my friend hannah from ready or not by hannah scott told me about your blog and i think it's just great :) keep it up!

  7. Thanks Annelise! What a thoughtful comment. I love Hannah's blog and she leaves the sweetest comments for me, so any friend of hers is more than welcome here :)

  8. Aw that's so nice to hear! You're right, she does leave the best comments. Thanks for being a writer, too, btw. There aren't enough of us around!

  9. I love this! Even though I don't play as often anymore, I wanted to quit playing piano so many times when I was younger. My mother never let me. And I can't even count the many benefits that came from her persistence: discipline, a love and deep understanding/appreciation for music (great site reading skills as a singer ;))..the list goes on and on.

  10. Amen :) Love this. Mothers really do know best! And I certainly agree that your experience playing the piano helped you as a singer.

  11. Even for the accomplished pianist, the quintessential audience is himself, herself.

    Yes! This. I played violin for two years and - yes, sorry - quit mostlyu because I hated practicing, but without that foundation I never would have been able to start singing seriously and then to become a chorister and pursue music that way. In the end, you have to figure out how music can be personally fulfilling for you and then it will never let you go!

  12. Well said! Everyone needs music in their lives, in one way or another. It makes me sad how few children grow up knowing classical music at all. Even one of my students (only been mine for about a year, had another teacher for the 6 or so years before that) had never heard of Chopin. Whaat?


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