top of page



Dear Abby:     Your advice to force children to practise was right on the mark.              Most children hate to practise, and our son and daughter were no exception. My husband got tired of all the fighting and crying, and said, "Let them quite - it's too much of a hassle". I said, "Over my dead body!" After that, there were very few arguments.
      Today, our daughter, Marylou Churchill, sits principal second violin in the Boston Symphony, and our son, Paul, studied cello at Juilliard and toured with the Mantovani Orchestra.
                 - Marian Speaker, San Mateo, California

Dear Marian: Congratulations. Read on for more letters from parents who refused to cave in when their children wanted to quit:

Dear Abby:      
I'm a mother who forced her children to practise. Why not? It was for their own good. We force our children to take baths, brush their teeth, eat their vegetables, turn off the TV and do their homework, don't we?

      My son wanted to quit piano when he was 10. I said, "No way - you are not quitting!" I knew that my judgement was better than a child's. Today he is a conductor and professor at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.
               - Eileen Giovanazzi, La Mesa, California

Dear Abby:      When our children first began taking piano lessons, I was told, "The measure of a child's success is directly related to the determination of the mother." It's true.
       I was the one who drove our three children to their music lessons for eight years, and insisted that they practise. When they wanted to quit, I not only paid them to practise, I gave them a cash bonus for every outstanding lesson. (Very few children are self-motivated.) It got them over the hump, and eventually they learned to appreciate music.
      In retrospect, it was well worth the struggle.
            - Proud Mom in Tucson Arizona


Dear Abby:      I am a girl in the seventh grade. I've been taking piano since first grade. I've never liked practising, and never will. There were lots of fights about practising and I always ended up crying. My mother threatened to stop the lessons, but I'm glad she never did. I still hate to practise, but I love to play.
           - A Girl in Springfield, Virginia



bottom of page