A while back, I blogged about the ordeal that was Andre's Grade 5 theory exam. About that time, we also came to the decision that it was time for Andre's piano lessons to end.
It wasn't an easy decision. I had personally hoped that he would at least take piano lessons till the Grade 5 level (for practical) because before that, I believe it's hard to make a call if the child truly has no interest or if he merely doesn't like to put in the time for practice. I blogged about this philosophy here.
However, over the past year or so, the time pressures on Andre began to take their toll. What with school work, tuition and badminton training, he had hardly any free time left. He would practise the piano only when I nagged him to and at times, he would kick the piano in frustration or burst into tears when he couldn't get a piece right. It became increasingly obvious that something had to go - and piano lessons were at the bottom of the hierarchy.
I was pretty torn over this decision, especially since both Uncle Peter and I realise that Andre actually has an ear for music. But after the last set of tears, for the sake of his own sanity (and mine), I finally surrendered. I allowed Uncle Peter to sign him up for a Grade 4 practical exam, which he took on Tuesday, and that marked the end of this chapter.
I would say it wasn't in vain. For almost 5 years, Andre had some music drummed into him weekly by the wonderful Uncle Peter, who became more than a teacher but also a counsellor and friend. The two of them shared a fantastic relationship, it was common to hear laughter emanating from the room during piano lessons.
And of course, the music. More important than the ability to play the piano, Uncle Peter has managed to make Andre NOT hate music. In fact, when I asked Andre whether he would ever continue his lessons, he surprised me by saying he might take them up again in the future, though with the caveat that there be no exams.
That's good enough for me. Meanwhile, I made sure I recorded Andre playing his Grade 4 exam pieces. This might be the last time I'll ever hear him play anything!