Recently, I visited the Yamaha music school at Clementi, to sign up for a junior music course (JMC) for my son. As someone who has benefited from the rich and rewarding experience of not just listening to, but actually playing (and performing) music through an instrument, I really want my boy to also enjoy this wonderful journey as he grows up.
Of course, I'd personally asked he many times before actually putting down the cash to sign up for the course. Each time, he'd give me the same answer (in Mandarin), "Yes, I want to learn the piano!". My wife and I obviously know that the words from a not-yet-four years old kid has to be taken with a serious pinch of salt. Yet, the fact that he'd repeatedly proclaimed his interest in learning the piano, and not the guitar (I'd only given him that 2 choices, to keep things simple..); coupled with our observation that he loves singing and appears to be rather rhythmically-attuned, led me to this decision.
I recall myself learning the piano from a young age also. My mum did, at that time, what I am now doing for Jing Kai - she sent both me and my elder brother to a piano teacher.
Unfortunately (for both of us, I think), we didn't really liked that teacher - her methods were dull and she didn't exactly inspire us, or even bothered to motivate us to play the piano. I remembered our 1 hour lesson each week consisted nothing but scales, and exam pieces! Try convincing a primary school kid to love playing Clementi (not the station west of Dover MRT lah! ) and Bach... Tough.
It didn't help that we were forced to go through the ABRSM graded exams, even as we dreaded going for each week's piano lesson and having to practice the exam repertoire at home.
Against all the odds, we'd still managed to complete our Grade 7 exams before finally calling it a day. Enough was enough. By then, I was in Sec 1, and had fallen in love with a new instrument - the classical guitar. This love affair has since lasted till today and the feeling is stronger than ever.
I am grateful for my piano background though. The music theory foundation was instrumental in helping me pick up a new instrument and learning it faster than I would've. And this is what I wish for my boy. I will not force him to take music exams if he does not enjoy playing the piano, but I will certainly encourage him to persue his interest music - if he indeed does show keen appreciation for it.
One day, hopefully he will embrace music as his father does, expressing himself through the music instrument of his choice.
No prizes for guessing what I hope that instrument will turn out to be.... :P