A belated thank-you for all the feedback from...wow, was it only last week? Just a mere 47 impeachment news cycles ago? Anyway, thanks for all the feedback/advice/commiseration on whether we should let Noah quit the saxophone.
(I didn't realize CAPS LOCK was on when I typed the original title of that post, then I decided to just keep that way for funz, and now here we are a week later, stuck with it again because STYLISTIC CONSISTENCY.)
Your comments were all (mostly) very helpful, and I hope that it speaks to my growth as a Blog Person that FOR ONCE, I was able to read a ton of conflicting advice from the Internet without my head exploding like an anxiety balloon and/or me getting all snippy at people because THAT ADVICE IS NOT RELEVANT TO OUR SITUATION BECAUSE OF REASONS I COMPLETELY FORGOT TO INCLUDE IN MY POST. THIS COMMENT SECTION IS RESERVED FOR OMNISCIENT BEINGS ONLY.
One of the background details I didn't include (because the post was already rambly AF enough), was that Jason played the saxophone as a kid. As did his big brother before him. His parents bought a really, really nice Yamaha sax for his brother, who quit at some point in middle school. The sax went to Jason, who ALSO quit in middle school.
That same sax was then passed along to Noah, along with his father's deep and fervent hope that he would NOT quit in middle school.
Jason never took private lessons and was never required to practice at home, and once he hit middle school he realized he was really far behind everybody else. And he quit more out of self-consciousness than a lack of interest. He lied to his parents and told them he was quitting band because he'd rather play sports instead. He's tried a few times to pick the sax back up, along with guitar, and I think his experience makes him super-extra protective of our children's musical talents. He wants to nurture and not push, but...maybe sometimes you do need to push? Just a little? Or maybe you don't? He doesn't know. I don't know either, along with WHO, EXACTLY, decided it was okay to put us in charge of this many small humans.
Just like my kids know that Mom Will Always Buy Them Books, someday I hope they'll realize that Dad Will Always Buy Them Music.
Hence: The private lessons in the instrument of their choice, the daily required practicing, the recitals and concerts and enrichment ensembles, the completely bonkers amount of instruments he's brought home over the years, and the reason we own a book of Metallica songs scored for the ukulele. (And, you know, a ukulele.)
Noah played his dad's sax for several years, until the maintenance costs and its frequent need for service/repairs became an issue. So we signed up for a 36-month, interest-free financing deal with a local music store and got Noah a sax that could realistically see him to the end of high school, at least. And if he DID quit at some point, buying it still seemed like a better deal then renting for years on end, since the market for nice used band instruments in our area like like, crazy strong. But I won't lie that we both sort of assumed Noah wouldn't quit while we were still in that 36-month payment plan window, for goddamnbananasakes.
But still, we sat down with Noah last weekend, laid down a deal and offered him a few compromises. He could quit band, but only if he committed to at least one other activity/interest beyond the Absolute Bare Minimum Needed To Graduate. We offered a couple suggestions -- a graphic novel art class, a computer animation course, AV Club, video game design, etc., but assured him we were really open to whatever he wanted.
He thought long and hard about it...and decided to give band one more year, at least. Just to see what it's like in high school, and to (hopefully) see some familiar faces on a regular basis until he finds his social footing. It might not be his passion, but it's familiar and comfortable.
Jason and I have also privately pledged to back off the pushing/nagging/begging him to practice every day. And we're going to re-evaluate the private lessons after this festival solo performance thing he's already committed to. (Although Noah genuinely likes his teacher a lot, so lessons aren't really a pain point on his end. But I would like to quit the private lessons, both the paying for and the driving to parts, specifically.) Basically, we're going to chill the fuck out and try to not funnel every parental fear and anxiety about raising a child on the Spectrum into...this one thing.
(Much easier typed than done, alas.)