Friday, January 24, 2014

My year of Less is More: decluttering the SCHEDULE

One of my gorgeous kids performing at the Opera House
So I've started (in case you're not sure what I'm up to, I'm aiming for a year where we do/consume/own less so that we have time for more great, fun, important stuff  - check out my original post here).

Over the past few weeks I've been working towards make the very difficult decision to stop our kids learning the piano.  I know that for some of my readers will be like "Yeah, whatever", but others will be shocked.

I'm in a bit of shock and grief myself.   I really enjoy playing the piano and I so wanted my kids to have that same enjoyment and opportunity to learn.  It's pretty deeply embedded in my set of values that feel important to me which is why it's a big deal to let go of it.  Plus it's been a lot of hard work to keep them motivated, to get them to lessons etc. (8 years of it for some the kids!).

But … here's what made me rethink it.

1.  With five learning the piano it meant two afternoons a week were taken up with lessons.
2.  Fitting in the practice was stressful
3.  They already do a second instrument through an amazing band programme at our school and they're all in multiple bands for their second instrument (now their first instrument I guess).
4. None of them wanted to give up their second instrument for piano.
5.  I have given them a good gift in getting them started on it.  They can pursue it further if they want to when they're older
6.  It gives us two (TWO, I tell you!!) clear afternoons a week.  Ok, yes, I have already mentioned this, but it is exciting.
7. It was a lot of money and I'm reducing the amount that I'm working this year (yes, less is more on that front too) so it will help financially.

Cheer me on folks, because this feels a bit scary.  It is hard to change the messages in your brain that tell you constantly that you can't take good learning opportunities away from your kids.

But it's kind of liberating to start rethink those messages.

6 comments:

Sarah S said...

I was wondering when you were going to do "the reveal" of the concrete things you're doing to reduce the weekly schedule. Sounds like a good decision but I hear your pain. I'm cheering for you!

Taara said...

As an avid piano player myself I can imagine it would be hard to cut that out of their lives, but as you said if they don't love it enough for it to be their "only" instrument it's probably a wise choice. If they've done it for a while they have some technical knowledge, plus their general musical knowledge will keep increasing if they continue in bands and such. And later on they may come back to it. Be encouraged!

Rachach said...

Good on you Jenny. I admire your ability to reflect upon your life and question your own values. I really hope you do enjoy the space that is left after the culling. I'm sure your kids will appreciate it.
Love Rach

Petrina said...

Good on you for making a tough call (or 5 tough calls!) I'm avidly reading your journey.

Sarah said...

Sounds like a great move for everyone. They can always take up the piano again later (I haven't played my guitar since high school but still want to take it up again one day). Well done on a tough decision.

Gillian said...

I decided to stop learning piano when I was 14 and finished Grade 5. It was a really, really bad call as it was not a sustainable level of competence. I have an AMusA in singing, but am continually frustrated at my lack of piano skills. It is really hard to pick it up as an adult and with high competence in another instrument it is indescribably frustrating as your brain can sight read but your fingers cannot follow.