Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Piano Drugs

Parents were asked this question: all things being equal, if there existed a safe drug you could give your child that would give her the ability to play the piano, would you give your child that drug?

Half of all parents said no.



Because they saw learning to play the piano as a character-building exercise. Playing the piano was not the point. The discipline that came with the learning was the point.

Which I can get -- I'm already using the piano as an example in conversations with the kid. "It's like the piano," I say to her, when she has trouble with something. "Remember how that was hard at first, but the more you practiced, the easier it get? This will be the same way."

But -- ON THE OTHER HAND -- and this is why recognizing the middle ground is so important -- the only reason we're giving her piano lessons is we want her to be able to play the piano. It's the end we're interested in, not the means. Surely she would figure out that means some other way.

I suppose those parents are visualizing a world in which there are pills for everything -- and so no child ever has to learn anything the hard way -- but if such a word ever truly existed (I can't visualize it myself, since people will always exist, and we're always going to be hard to handle), well, will we have a need for learning-the-hard-way memes then?

I'm just saying.

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