Sometimes parents of piano students don’t want their children to play anything except classical music. And sometimes parents only want their children to play popular pieces, because they think classical music stinks and their kids won’t like it. Both of these attitudes create artificial limitations for students that hinder their ability to grow and develop musically.

Piano students need to learn a wide variety of playing styles to know all they can about music. If all they play are popular pieces, they won’t develop the technique necessary to play classical and many other styles of music. If all they play are classical pieces, they won’t learn to read and play rhythms found in Jazz and Modern Music.

Each different style of music gives students an opportunity to stretch and grow in different musical ways. There is so much music out there to enjoy! Personally, I would find it rather boring to limit my playing to, only gospel, or only classics, or only rock music, or only country music. Why would I want to do that? Why would parents expect their children to do that?

Let your child and their piano teacher decide what repertoire to learn. The parent’s job is to make sure students have an adequate instrument to play on, arrive at their lessons on time with their music, come to their child’s piano recitals, and provide financial support for the cost of lessons. In my experience as a piano teacher, parents who try to control their children’s piano lessons the most, also aren’t doing their job. That’s because they’re confused about their role as the parent. Think about it. If you are the parent of a piano student, what is your role? What’s the teacher’s role? What’s the student’s role? It doesn’t make sense when parents ignore their role, and then compensate by trying to be the teacher and the student! So give your older child in piano lessons some room to grow by getting out of the way.

If your’re the parent of a young piano student, however, they will need your involvement in their early lessons to get the basics down. Just like helping your young child learn to read, parents can teach their children the foundational “music language” skills for learning to play the piano or keyboard. But remember, even young children need a little space to learn and grow as individuals. So do your part when they’re young, and then let go!

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