As a longtime fan of advice columnist Dear Abby, I valued her practical answers, especially about raising children. However, one question stumped her years ago, and she threw it out to her readers to answer: Should children who hate piano lessons be forced — even kicking and screaming — to continue because they may eventually find joy in it and even decide that music is their passion? Abby’s mail was split. Readers wrote that they hated every second of their childhood piano lessons, and the experience soured them forever on music. Others wrote to say that they were now with the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music or the Boston Pops and were forever grateful that their parents held their ground.
One mom maintained that parents force kids to do many things, including bathe, brush their teeth and eat their vegetables. Why should music be any different? Her son begged to quit piano when he was 10. Today, she said, he was a noted conductor and music professor.
But another mother