“Idle Minds are the Devil’s Workshop”
Of late, the devil’s workshop for Gavin is the idiot box. I’m afraid that Gavin addiction to the TV will turn him into a couch potato if I don’t do something about it. The problem these days is keeping Gavin busy – especially this week since he is on school holidays.
In an effort to keep him too busy to sit in front of the TV, I decided to explore some more extra-curricular activities that I could sign him up for. Despite his initial lack of enthusiasm for the Heguru classes I signed him up for, he has taken a hundred and eighty degree turn-around in the last two weeks. Now every time I pick him up from school, he will ask if we are going for his “special class” on that particular day. Whenever I say “no”, he insists that he wants to go and appears truly unhappy that there is no class on.
Heartened by his new-found enthusiasm for Heguru, I checked out some piano classes at the Yamaha center in Sri Hartamas Shopping Complex. Now that we have a piano back in the house, Gavin has the opportunity to practice at home so it made sense to consider music classes.
Yamaha Music Kids
Yamaha offers a beginner program called “MusicKids” for 3 1/2 year olds which introduces music to children through singing, movement and musical instruments. Well, the flyer says “musical instruments”, but further clarification with the staff revealed that it is specifically a keyboard program intended to introduce children to the piano. If you want your child to have exposure to other instruments, you will need to take classes specific to those instruments. Yamaha also teaches guitar, drums, organ, violin, and one other instrument which I cannot recall at present.
The MusicKids program runs over six months and requires parent participation – the purpose is to help enforce music practice at home. If the parents don’t know what the child has done in class, they can’t help their child practice. The classes are group lessons (or about 9 students) and 45 minutes long. There is one class a week. The fee structure is as follows:
- Registration fee – RM80
- 1 month deposit – RM85
- Term 1 fees (3 months) – RM255
- Books and materials – RM124.90
- Term 2 fees (3 months) – RM255
Total payable upon registration is RM544.90
There is a follow-on program for children aged 4-5 years old called the Junior Music Course.
MusicKids is offered by Peony’s Music which is an authorised franchisee and retailer of Yamaha products. They are available at the following venues:
- F8 & F32, 1st Floor, Centrepoint, Bandar Utama: 03-7725 2420/19
- P12A-13, 2nd Floor, Hartamas Shopping Centre: 03-6201 3213
- S329A, 2nd Floor Oval, 1-Utama Shopping Centre: 03-7710 8329/9329
- A2-UG1-06, Solaris Dutamas, No. 1 Jalan Dutamas 1: 03-6207 9116/9216 (Solaris wasn’t listed on the flyer so I don’t know if they offer classes at this branch)
I asked Gavin if he was interested to pick up music lessons and he initially said “yes”. After that, he changed his mind and said “no”. I’ve always thought of music lessons as a fun activity that should be enjoyed, not forced. When I asked spoke to the principal at Peony’s Music, she said you can let your child decide if he wants to pick it up or you can make it compulsory like school and enforce music lessons.
Gavin is still rather ambivalent with his responses on whether he wants to take up music classes so I am leaning towards signing him up for them. Based on our track record with school and Heguru, it appears that Gavin is a child that needs parental encouragement (read: force) to try something new. Once he gets the full flavour of it, he actually enjoys it and looks forward to class. If I completely handed the reigns of decision over to Gavin, I doubt he would ever try anything.
When I was a child, I never really appreciated music lessons until I was older. After that, I was glad that my parents enforced it when I was little. Am I rationalising my actions? Perhaps I am. This is how I see it:
If I don’t drag Gavin along to music class, he will never try it and he will never know if he would really truly enjoy music. He clearly enjoys singing and he perks up whenever he hears music. It isn’t much of a stretch to assume that he might enjoy piano lessons if he had the chance to try it out. At any rate, the program is only for six months. If, by the end of the first term, I still have to drag him to class, we can always terminate the program. I guess it looks like we’ve decided…