Never on a Saturday!
( or almost never )
When I tell a parent that there are no lessons scheduled on Saturday, their immediate and reasonable response is …” Well why not? It’s the day we’re all free.”
And that’s exactly why not. For a child, as the week lumbers along in a haze of classes and homework and after school activities, that Saturday is an anticipated break. Years ago, before the world went berserk and parents decided that a child shouldn’t have a single moment to flop down on the grass and watch ants building an anthill or check out wonderful images in clouds, kids had time. And it was this unstructured time which was so precious. Kids developed their hobbies, they invented games, they learned to get along with each other. They had time to see the miraculous all around them … first hand.
When the parent decided it was time for enrichment, piano lessons were top on the list. Most of the kids weren’t very enthusiastic, but a good teacher could turn them around. And a half hour a day’s practice wasn’t too hard to squeeze in before dinner. But Saturdays were sacrosanct . Saturdays and Sundays were the “holidays” and in those days, most parents didn’t work on the weekends.
No matter when one schedules a piano lesson, it’s going to bite into a child’s time. If he loves the lessons, there’s no problem. I broke my Saturday rule for about four years with a family of three delightful little girls, who loved the lessons, the music and me. They would bound into my studio and decide who would go first and then sit there with amazing concentration. I gave up on the structured 1/2 hour lessons and gave them a big chunk of the morning. They loved it. It was a piano party.
One day one of them offered me a special folder …. in which she’d printed out “adoption papers” from the Internet and filled in their three names as the adoptees and mine as the adopter. I had a lump in my throat so big I couldn’t swallow. And it was pretty hard to see through my tears too.
So exceptions can be made.
The alternative of course is after-school lessons. Which unfortunately can also can seem like an extension of “school”. But with some adroit psychology and a moment or two to ask each child about their day, one can seque into another space where learning is fun. It’s up to the teacher to set the stage for “fun” learning. By tacking the lesson onto the school day, the resentment about having a Saturday holiday snatched away is neatly avoided.
The teacher and parents have to make that choice together. But by and large, children who are not particularly interested in piano lessons will flag more quickly on Saturdays. And that first and second year are crucial to learning all the nitty gritty of note reading and physical dexterity.
So if not exactly a “never” …. I’d suggest very carefully deciding which children will resent a Saturday lesson and which will just consider it a fun activity. That can make all the difference.
Aloha and Namaste … The Happy Professor