I’ve been playing piano for a long time.  2 and a half decades long.  I remember when I was a kid hearing people talk about playing for 10 years or 15 years – which seemed like an eternity to me at the time.  I’m currently at 25 going on 26 years.  Yikes!!

Over the last 25 years I’ve talked to countless people after they’ve heard me play – whether that be at church, a recital, an event, a wedding, and so on.  The conversations almost exclusively go the same.  “I loved your playing.  I took piano for (insert whole number here) years.  I wish I never would have quit.”  This statement is accompanied by a forlorn look.

So, I’m here to throw out a suggestion to you parents who have your kids enrolled in something (whether music or other).  Build in a (small) reward system.  It only makes sense.  When was the last time you tried to learn something new?  It’s exhausting.  It’s frustrating.  It tugs on your brain.  It is only natural that your child will eventually grow weary of his/her activity – regardless of the chunk of money you are investing into it.

Depending on your son or daughters activity you are potentially investing in the thousands of dollars per year, per kid.  Take about $1/wk to help that massive investment go further.  What’s $50 when you’re already spending so much more??


Ideas that are free:

-Show a lot of interest.  Feign interest if necessary.  Act excited.  Sing along.  Say “I loved that (song, dance move, basketball shot, etc.) so much. Please show me again (and again and again and again and so on).

-Show them off to family and friends.  Do this often!!  It will let your child know how proud you are but it will also get them practicing and performing. Have Grandma listen to that violin scale over the phone.  Do a mini piano-recital when aunts and uncles are over.  Have the little munchkin show of his latest karate moves to a buddy.

-Videotape and take pictures.  Nothing says “I’m so proud” more than capturing the moment for eternity.  Every once in a while take some family time to rewatch these old videos.  Note progress.

-Sit with your child at lessons and while he/she practices as much as possible.

-Ask your child to teach you something about his/her hobby.

$1/wk ideas:

-Offer $1/wk for a good week of practice/lesson.

-Take a trip to the dollar store after a good week of practice/lesson.

-Snag an ice cream cone after a good week of practice/lesson.

-Set up a small monetary value for practice times and have a seperate piggy bank for the money they earn through practicing  (a dime or a quarter a day or something).

Other ideas:

-long term rewards that are related to hobby (a piece of sheet music, new soccer socks, a sewing book)

-put up framed pictures of kid participating in activity

-utilize Christmas/birthday gifts to show your support

The initial excitement will eventually wear off.  That’s only natural.  Protect your investment!!