Letter to the Editor from a Piano Teacher

As Quebec debates a new report recommending eliminating elementary school homework, a piano teacher wrote the following letter to the editor of the Ottawa Citizen.

To the Editor
From a piano teacher

So here we are again, discussing the same issue that has been brought up countless times.

A few years ago, I wrote a letter to the Citizen, suggesting that homework impacts negatively on home life and extracurricular activities. As a piano teacher I was seeing several students a week come in embarrassed and apologetic because they hadn’t had time to practise. Many broke down in tears because they were so overworked and stressed. So much for piano for fun.

This situation has not changed. I am still seeing children as young as Grade 2 sobbing in my piano studio because there’s just no time to do anything other than school work.

Teachers don’t seem to understand; projects, summatives and tests are piled on indiscriminately and each teacher expects the most from each student. Multiply that by eight subjects in elementary school and four in high school.

Who has time to practise piano and enjoy it? Who has time for gymnastics or karate? Who has time just to play outside? I hear complaints from all ages of four to five hours of homework, from immediately after school, break for dinner, back to work till bedtime. Is this necessary?

Not only are we a society of burned-out adults, but we’re creating the same world for our children! School trustees and teachers, please, consider abolishing homework so that kids can be kids, so that I can see my wonderful students come in smiling and satisfied that they are prepared for their lesson, and ready to enjoy it.

And parents, please, take a stand and fight for your child’s emotional well being.

Good for parent Diane Hunter who declared there would be no more homework in the Hunter home. I admire her.

Elaine Armstrong,


2 thoughts on “Letter to the Editor from a Piano Teacher

  1. Weee HAAAAAAA! Thank you Elaine.
    I wonder how many times this letter has to be written?

    Up here in Canada there is a rage going on about street ball hockey, particularly in Quebec where a father was fined by police for not clearing the road when ordered to. A neighbour (though I use the term loosely) complained about the noise the kids were making. Another case surfaced this week here in Nova Scotia, where police were called to clear a game off a subdivision street. Too dangerous they say. It’s just another example of the general lack of tolerance for children….they are not allowed to just be.


  2. I’m amazed, I must say. Rarely do I come across a blog that’s both educative and engaging,
    and without a doubt, you have hit the nail on the
    head. The issue is an issue that too few folks are speaking intelligently
    about. Now i’m very happy I came across this in my search for something concerning this.


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