Thursday, June 23, 2011


I was at the church the other night waiting for my son to finish with his boy scout meeting, when I heard someone playing the piano. They were playing very well! Pretty soon, I discovered that the pianist was a 13 year old young man who is also in scouts. I'm always on the look out for new pianists, and having been a young 13 year old pianist at one time, I know that he can be challenged. I asked him if he thought he could learn to play some of the church hymns. He said he could. I told him I would bring him some copies of the hymns (or a hymn book) to learn. This morning I went on the church website and have been printing out some hymns that aren't too difficult. Because I was once in his shoes, I have a feel for which songs he could play.

At first I thought about bribing him. I thought maybe I could offer him a dollar for every hymn that he learns to play. But then I remembered an Oprah show I saw that talked about how if children are bribed, they lose interest in the thing they are doing. They showed two groups of kids that were given a puzzle to put together. One group was told they could get $5 if they completed it. The other group was just asked to help put it together. The children who were paid, lost interest quickly, and many didn't even finish the job. The children who were not paid, finished the puzzle, even if it meant staying after the allotted time. Clearly, working for an internal reward is more satisfying than working for money. So I will not be bribing him, but I will praise him when I hear him play!


Nene said...

I'm surprised his parents haven't already got him playing the hymns. Good luck with him! I think the most important part in getting someone to keep up their piano ability, is to keep giving them new music. It sounds like he is interested in learning the hymns.

Grannymar said...

Who knows where your encouragement may lead this young man. Music is a wonderful talent.