I believe in torturing children mercilessly for no good reason. I believe in doing time at hard pointless labor. I believe in boring children to tears. I believe in piano lessons.
When I first led them down this road, when they were 5 and 6 years old, I told them "You only have to take lessons until you can play the Bach Inventions. All of them. From memory. They nodded their little heads obediently because after all, I was their mom, and they were small, and they adored me and all the adventures I took them on.
All three kids sat together at the teacher's house and took their turns at the piano. A few months into lessons, when she graduated from playing only the black keys, Drama Girl hesitantly asked her teacher about the Bach Inventions.
The teacher played one for her. My evil plot was revealed. The kids were small, but they knew "impossible" when they heard it. All calculations of when they would be "done" with piano lessons flew out the window. They clearly had a life sentence.
They protested. I stood my ground. I sat with them at the piano bench during practice when they were little. Then they graduated to a kitchen timer, and now they practice thoroughly, and well, if not every day. In our house they know nothing fun happens until practicing is done. Want to play on the wii? Gotta practice first. Want to have a friend over? Want to have dinner? Want to live another day? You must practice.
We recently re-negotiated the Bach Inventions deal. Now they only have to be able to play a Christmas Carol at sight. They're actually pretty close to this goal.
As a parent, I get to see the side of the story they can't. How they accidentally fell in love with the power they have over the piano. The thrill they get in mastering pieces. My house is full of waltzes, Mozart, Bach, High School Musical tunes, ragtime and Blues. I see them play proudly for their friends. Last Thanksgiving they put on an impromptu concert for our guests while I finished cooking. I nearly cried. The relatives were suitably impressed. All Christmas season, I awaken to Christmas Carols. Is there any more pleasant way to wake up?
But what goes around comes around, and along with the musical knowledge has come a thirst for more. So now Drama Girl "entertains" us with "Stairway to Heaven" on the violin (ouch!), and next year Wasabi Girl will play the alto sax and Jungle Boy will play the trumpet in the Middle School Band.
I may live to regret the musical beasts I have awakened.
Previously in this series: Moms Don't Know Anything: Hair Edition