We often see parents sending kids for classical music lessons at a very tender age. Not only that, some kids are learning a few musical instruments at one go. So, instead of just taking piano lessons for instance, they also take guitar and/or violin lessons. More often than not, parents (especially Asian parents) push their kids to complete till Grade 8 of piano. Perhaps, some even go on to take a Diploma. So, is it necessary to complete classical music? [I’ll be focusing on piano lessons in this article since I started off with piano].
In my opinion, it is a resounding “NO”! Once you have completed Grade 8, what is next? A recording deal? Or you get on with life by going to college like most people do? Don’t get me wrong, it is good to complete what you have started, not just in music but in every area. Perhaps some of us really have the passion in classical music. Perhaps some of us really want to be a music teacher. Of course, completing Grade 8 and getting a Diploma will really help in your teaching career later. However, that is not the case for most of us. As a matter of fact, most kids just burn out or lose their passion for music after a couple of years. As such, you will notice either one of these end results. They either quit for good or they are pushed to complete till Grade 8.
I started off by taking piano lessons. I learnt till Grade 5 before quitting (I was 11 then). Well, the main and only reason is because classical music was and still is really boring to me. Plus, I find it rather regimented even as a kid having to prepare and focus mainly on three classical pieces for the practical exam. Seriously, I am not kidding when I say I really love music but not this genre. I am really glad for having very supportive parents. They did not force me to continue those classical lessons. Not too long after that, I was taught how to play by ear and my passion for music just continued to grow. Subsequently, I also learnt how to play drums and guitar out of my own passion.
More often than not, parents are the one pushing their kids. I am sure parents have the best intention at heart but perhaps the method needs a little tweaking. What is more important is to discover the passion and ‘fan the flame’ so that passion will continue to grow instead of blindly compelling them to complete their Grade 8 piano lesson. When you have discovered their passion for music, you do not have to waste an ounce of energy to make them go for piano lessons or practise at home. When you discover their passion, all they need is a little encouragement and they will absolutely put their heart into it.
All in all, I am really glad my parents sent me for piano lessons as it helped spark my passion for music and that was where I learnt the basics such as tempo, scales, beat etc. (I am equally glad that they respected my decision to quit classical music!) A few years ago, someone asked if I ever regretted my decision on quitting classical music. Guess what was my reply? Nope! Not even a tiny bit! Anyway, time to jam on my guitar. =D