Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Archive for Children Music Lessons

How to Get and Keep Kids Interested in Concert Music – Progress Report

A progress report on my daughter Lillian Patricia (LilyPat), who began piano lessons 9 weeks ago, on March 5. (The post that started it all) Readers of this blog will recall that at 6½ years of age, I was concerned that she might be a bit young to happily deal with the discipline required of a piano student. (I’m a believer in letting kids be kids for as long as possible. Discipline and responsibility become our shared lot in life soon enough, and once they do, they remain our constant companions for the duration.) Nevertheless, LilyPat’s insistence that she was ready for lessons won the day, and we started her up with a wonderful local teacher and childhood friend of Lily’s mother named Tamara Saunders. Well, color me an over-concerned gasbag. My fears were completely unfounded. Lily is having a grand old time with her lessons, and thus far, it is all we can do to get her away from the piano so that she might eat her breakfast and dinner and do her homework. (Yes, homework: in kindergarten. Don’t let me get started on that.) Because I think it is irresistibly sweet (though as a father, what else could […]

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How To Get and Keep Kids Interested In Concert Music – Part Two

In my previous entry I promised to hold forth on a subject of concern to many (if not most) of the visitors to this page, and that is how to get (and keep) our kids interested in concert music. Rather than dive right into the subject, I have been seized by the need to set the stage, to offer an “overture” in preparation of what (I hope) will be an extended discussion. Bear with me; we have as much time to discuss this stuff as we want. It has become something of a national pastime in the United States to bemoan the state of music education in the public schools. I regret, in particular, the demise of band and choral programs, programs that didn’t just teach kids how to play instruments and sing but, much more important, how to contribute (musically) to a larger community, the whole a thousand times greater than the sum of its parts. Having said that, I do not miss – not for a moment – the sorts of “music appreciation” classes I was subjected to as a child. If my experience in the public schools of Willingboro, New Jersey in the 1960’s is in any […]

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How To Get and Keep Kids Interested In Concert Music – Part One

My six year-old daughter Lillian is going to start piano lessons next week. Lily has been asking for lessons for a couple of years, but I am not a believer in starting kids too young, and to my mind four years old was way too young. (To my mind, no matter how good the teacher, a lesson is a lesson, and lessons demand responsibility, discipline, and practice. The vast majority of us will be responsibility-free exactly once in our lives: from birth through the age of six. Let kids be kids, I say. Responsibility, discipline, and practice – like gray hair, bad eyesight, and lousy knees – will all come in time, whether we want them or not.) Frankly, six is even a bit on the young side for me, but given, one, Lily’s ongoing interest in the piano (she “plays” all the time); two, we have two nice grands in the house (one of them a Steinway D); three, she hears the pianos being played all the time; and four, I’ve found her the right teacher (or so I think), well, I guess it’s time to start her up. For the first year or two I’m not going to […]

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