I recently heard the most tragic tale of a music education cut short by parents' and teachers' intransigence. A dutiful 14 year old pianist had reached grade 8 - a very good achievement for that age - and was becoming increasingly frustrated by his old-fashioned (and dare I say it old) teacher. He wanted to play different repertoire and was drawn to Trad-jazz and Boogie-woogie. His teacher flatly refused to teach that type of repertoire, the parent refused to find another teacher. Consequence - the child stopped and never touched a piano again. Granted - this story is from the late seventies and times have changed, but I wonder for how many readers this will strike a chord? (sorry for the pun)
Finding inspiring pieces and making sure your child is learning to play in a genre they love is paramount in keeping them going. There is no point in forcing a Metallica fan to play dainty Haydn sonatas. When I take a prospective student I always enquire about the repertoire they want to play or sing. If the answer is Jazz or Musical Theatre I usually decline to take them on. Not because there is anything wrong with these two genres, but because I do not play in those styles and because I don't feel that I can teach it adequately. Luckily today you can find teachers to instruct you in more or less any style - so before you embark on lessons try to clarify for yourself and your child what genre they are most interested in. Playing pieces you love is one of the best motivations for practise there is!