Learning a new instrument is probably a skill each of us has had on our bucket lists at some point in our life. The problem is the time seems to get away from us.
When are we supposed to truly have the time to work and practice this new, extremely difficult skill?
Redditor guitar_dad3346 had no idea how best to answer for his daughter—so he came up with what he thought was an important prerequisite for her taking guitar lessons. After she failed to live up to his request, he chose to give guitar lessons to a different family member.
After receiving some blowback for this, he went to the popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” or “AITA” in order to receive some objective feedback from strangers:
“AITA for getting my son guitar lessons but not my daughter?”
Our original poster, or OP, talked about buying his daughter the guitar.
“I (38M[ale]) have two kids, we’ll call them Emma (11F[emale]) and Jacob (13M). Emma had expressed interest in playing the guitar, so I bought her one for her birthday.”
“I also got her one of those beginner guitar instruction books to help her get started.”
“A week or so later she asked me if she could start taking lessons. She had barely touched the guitar since her birthday, so I told her why don’t you play the guitar some more, and then we’ll consider it?”
“She kept pushing it, and I told her lessons are expensive and I want to make sure she’s really willing to put the effort in before we commit to that.”
Emma said the book and CD would not work for her.
“I asked her why she can’t just learn from the book/CD and she said ‘I don’t learn like that, I want to take real lessons’.”
“I told her I want her to play the guitar but if she really wants lessons she has to put in some effort.”
“At this point she’s begging and practically throwing a fit, and says ‘If you want me to play the guitar then get me lessons!'”
“So I told her no, end of discussion, and sent her to her room for giving me an attitude.”
Then, OP’s other child came into the picture with an affinity for the instrument.
“Fast forward a couple weeks. Jacob had been teaching himself the guitar. On some days he’d play for hours on end.”
“So I decide to sign him up for lessons, since he’s clearly more invested than Emma is and is showing initiative which I want to reward him for.”
“Emma is outraged by this, since by her logic it’s HER guitar and SHE should be the one taking lessons, not him. I told her again she never plays the guitar, so no she doesn’t get to take lessons.”
“Their mom (my ex) thinks I’m TA because ‘she’s just a kid, and kids need structure and guidance to learn’.”
“Plus she thinks Emma must feel super betrayed that I got her the guitar but got her brother lessons instead of her, and even accused me of favoritism.”
“She says she would put Emma in lessons if she could afford it (I make significantly more than she does).”
“Emma has a good musical ear (she sings with her school choir) and I want her to pursue her talents, but I don’t want to spend money on lessons if she’s never going to practice.”
“Plus I feel like if I do get her lessons I’ll just be teaching her she can get what she wants by whining and begging.”
Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Redditors definitely think OP was misguided in his approach with his daughter.
“YTA. Not everyone can just pick up an instrument and teach themselves to play. Many people need instruction to learn basic technique before they can start working on their own.”
“It just sounds like you favor your son because he learns the way you do, and you devalue Emma’s interest because she needs instruction.”
“This is going to be one of those things your daughter tells her therapist when she’s trying to work through why her father doesn’t love her as much as her brother.”-KittySnowpants
“YTA. And yes you are favouring your son. How long until she asks to live with your ex full time? I don’t think it will be too long. You’re a sh*tty parent too btw.”
“Brother can play her guitar without asking (I wonder why she isn’t playing it if as you say he plays for HOURS) and you say she’s a toddler and can learn to share.”
“You pay for her brother to get lessons (that she begged you for) with her own guitar. Kids learn differently. She might not be able to pick up learning via book and has told you that, you disregarded it.”
“You say she has a good musical ear and you want her to pursue her passions but you won’t pay for her…just her brother.”
“You are telling your daughter she is not worth the effort or money that you are willing to put into her brother.”
“You completely disregarded her feelings and punished her for expressing them to you.”
“If I were her I would hide the guitar at your exes. After all, it’s hers. She can do what she wants with it. Including hiding it from you or her brother.”-Status-Pattern7539
“YTA. Some kids learn naturally and are fine with the self-taught approach. Some learn with lessons.”
“You’re also wrong for letting Jacob take her guitar, when it was her gift. I’ll bet he didn’t have her permission, either.”
“Also, she asked nicely a few times, but you didn’t listen, so she asked again, and you accused her of ‘whining and begging.’ Ugh.”-Arbor_Arabicae
“YTA- how do you expect her to learn, exactly? If she’s an interactive learner then she needs someone to show her.”
“Guitar is hard. She’s shown she’s motivated solely by asking, even moreso by begging for you to give her the opportunity to learn.”
“You’re double the asshole for saying your son ‘plays all the time’ and talking about his motivation when he’s using your daughter’s guitar (per your comment above).”
“When, exactly, do you expect her to practice if he’s always playing it, as you say?”
“This isn’t the hunger games. They don’t have to fight to the death over the sole guitar you bought while you sit in the bleachers, tapping your fingertips together in anticipation of seeing who beats the other to death to prove their devotion to the guitar.”
“Get your son his own guitar. Get them both lessons. Problem solved. YTA YTA YTA”-OwenWilsonsWOW-Face
People have different learning styles and those learning styles need to be met in order for that person to actually pick up a skill.
“YTA she’s 11, she told you she needed more structure to learn to play and instrument and you refused to help.”
“Not all kids or adults can learn from a book/ CD. You are basically punishing her for not being able to learn the same way her brother can.”
“You have zero evidence she won’t practice if she had the proper support she had told you she needs which is lessons.”
“Sign her up for 5 lessons tell her she has to practice x amount per day and if after 5 lessons she isn’t practicing then stop.”-annoymous1996
“YTA You’re daughter is asking for help and you refuse. She’s in the pool unable to keep afloat on her own, and you’re saying ‘drown.'”
“And completely backwards; rent and instrument and get them professional lessons, and then buy them the instrument if they stick with it. Some people can’t learn from books or youtube.”
“Plus its a very bad way to get into bad habits. Asking for lessons because she’s frustrated that she can’t work it out on her own is a completely normal thing to do.”
“Don’t tell us that you ‘know’ she hasn’t touched her guitar. You’re not watching her 24/7. She’s tried and she can’t work out what to do or how to start. That’s normal.”
“Kids learn by being taught. You’re just setting goalposts that no one agrees with and teaching her brother that not respecting her things gets him benefits.”-StripedBadger
“YTA. I see where you’re coming from but imho it would be more fair to sign her up for lessons. Be upfront about how you expect her to put in time and practice.”
“You can always cancel the lessons if she doesn’t practice at all.”
“If you want her to develop her talents, you need to give her the option to do so. Perhaps lessons really are the method she needs to learn.”-palkab
“Yta, your son didn’t ask for lessons, your son wasn’t so interested in the guitar you bought him one, your daughter was.”
“She asked for lessons, she explained she can’t learn to play by herself she needs help, and then you turn around and give the help to her brother, who seems to be doing fine learning on his own?”
“Not to mention, you say she hasn’t touched the guitar, but I remember when my friend first started playing how he couldn’t get a single sound out cause he didn’t know how to properly press on the strings!”
“She could be trying desperately to prover herself, and you basically just spat in her face. Yeah, MAJOR AH”-KandyShopp
And OP giving the lessons to his son but not daughter was unforgivable in most people’s eyes.
“YTA. Children (and adults) learn in different ways. There are 3 different styles of learning (and can be a little of each) – Auditory, Visual and Kinesthetic.”
“It may well be that Emma isn’t able to pick up the guitar as you want her to with a CD/instruction book.”
“Emma’s learning style could be better suited to an in-person instruction. Give her a chance to explore her musical talents. It’s never wasted money when you give the gift of learning.”-zippykaiyay
“YTA – you’re assuming that all kids learn the same and attributing the differences in the way your kids learn.”
“She LITERALLY told you that she has trouble learning that way and is begging to be given lessons.”
“You valued your son’s progress over hers based on erroneous and out-dated assumptions about learning.”
“You are operating under the idea that because your son is able to learn independently but your daughter isn’t, she lacks motivation or is lazy.”
“I cannot tell you how detrimental to her self-esteem and your relationship this could be. It’s sh*t like this that makes smart kids think they’re dumb. Apologize and get her the damn lessons.”-Blendinnotblandin
“YTA, as a music teacher I can attest to how difficult it it’s to teach yourself an instrument.”
“It’s significantly harder if you’ve never learned an instrument before and/or have small less coordinated hands like, idk, an 11 year old girl!”
“Even one lesson would give her a lot of help in learning. Not to mention that guitar is one of the cheapest instruments to get lessons for.”
“Also, her guitar is hers, not your sons. If he wants to play guitar he can get his own. She’s allowed to do what she wants with her guitar.”-Unofficial_Overlord
“YTA, your daughter has told you she can’t learn the same way your son is. That is a valid statement. Not everyone can learn to play the guitar the same way.”
“Maybe sign her up for shorter amount of time to make sure she sticks with it, but by refusing to listen to her and punishing her when she tries to explain to you that she can’t learn the way you expect her to you are definitely an a**hole of a father.”-Stace34
On the topic of learning, it’s a good learning moment for OP to swallow his pride and see what happens if he purchases the lessons for his daughter.
Hopefully Reddit has gotten through to him in this instance.