Quitting Cello

A friend of mine suggested that if our kids need sophisticated organization systems or apps it’s probably an indicator that they’re doing too much. He believes, and I agree, that kids need to have a quantity of unstructured time in their week, and feels that encouraging kids to do something like GTD only makes it possible to cram in more.

I don’t agree on that last point. I think the kid who is organized and knows exactly how much stuff she has going on can take a realistic look at everything she does and make better choices about whether to add more activities or whether it’s time to take something away. Because deciding to quit stuff is hard.

Sophia plays four instruments and sings in a choir. We didn’t plan for her to be doing so much musically but she just kept starting new things and at the end of grade seven, here is where we are. She’s been playing piano since she was very small, and studying it seriously for three years.  She’s been playing cello for three years and clarinet for two.  She recently started playing electric bass and has sung in her school’s choir for the past year.

I’ve been pretty well convinced by Penelope Trunk’s writings on the benefits of specialization and think that Sophia is spreading her musical interest over too wide a range to really be gaining valuable expertise and truly enjoying her experiences as a musician.  She agrees, and so, with some regret, she is quitting cello.

I’m sad. I want her to pick something else. My top two picks for things to keep are piano and cello. The rest can go. But almost-thirteen-year-olds have their own opinions and so the cello gets the boot.

Who said the path to an organized, ordered and well-focussed life was a simple one?



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