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Do you force your child to keep taking music lessons?


DanS

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Both my boys took piano for several years and then lost interest. We let it go. One of them then took up bass for a while in high school. I feel like it was beneficial: they both have a better appreciation of music and I think could take it up again later in life.

 

Regarding quiting: our rules were pretty simple:

 

1) They always had to be involved in at least one extracurricular activity. So if they had only one activity, then they had to have another planned before they could give up the first.

 

2) They had to finish what they started, which meant they couldn't quit mid-season or mid-semester (or whatever period applied.) This was to encourage the sense that things aren't always easy and sometimes they had to power through to see the benefit.

 

 

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what rescued me from the monotony of constant lessons and 'boring' classical piano music as a teenager (many decades ago) was the discovery that i could buy sheet music for things that i wanted to play - chart hits, albums, shows, movies and so on. it's mostly relatively undemanding to play and i don't play that stuff any more, but for a youngster with waning interest it may just give her the idea that this piano lark can be fun.

 

take her to a sheet music shop or website (or better still let her go herself) and give her the opportunity to choose something that she wants to play.

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take her to a sheet music shop or website (or better still let her go herself) and give her the opportunity to choose something that she wants to play.

 

She's playing the main theme from Twilight now, so she's pretty into that.

No question that stuff like Joggety Jog & The Happy Pony don't do it for her anymore.

I was playing Death On Two Legs when I was 13... :laugh:

What we record in life, echoes in eternity.

 

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Dan - one particular nugget in your story really, really caught my attention:

 

For the first couple of years, I'd sit with her for the first night or 2 after her lesson, and go through everything with her to make sure she understood what it was she had to do.

For the last 2 years, I cut her loose, and now I only sit occasionally with her when she's having a problem. In consequence, her advance has slowed considerably.

 

Sounds to me like her lack of interest in practicing (and the seemingly conflicting feelings she's showing toward the instrument) are rooted in the fact that, while she may not be willing to admit it (tweeners rarely do), practice time was also alone time with Daddy, something a girl always relishes, no matter how old she gets. When you stopped giving her that 100% attention during practice, she lost interest in practicing....

 

Something to think about, anyway....

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Absolutely Griff, I realized this is a large part of the problem as soon as I wrote it down. We've got some alone time together Friday night, so I'm going to discuss the whole thing with her.

What we record in life, echoes in eternity.

 

MOXF8, Electro 6D, XK1c, Motif XSr, PEKPER, Voyager, Univox MiniKorg.

https://www.abandoned-film.com

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Please don't think like that. Your son gets to pick his own path. For all you know he could turn out to be the greatest ski jumper of the 21st century. If so, won't you feel pretty guilty about all the time you made him waste at the piano?

 

Your job is to hand him his skis and help him up when he falls

Thanks, Larry; what a thoughtful and positive comment.

"I never knew that music like that was possible." - Mozart ( Amadeus movie)
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Dan,

As Jazz+ and others have said, praise is a key thing. I'm only realising now how important this was for me. When my mom is cooking and commenting on how good something sounds, or when my dad comes home from work and exclaims how great it is to come home to me playing, or how it was always stressed that I could play at any time I wanted to, no matter what was already on the radio, that kind of stuff helped in ways I don't even realise. It seems you've taken up practicing with her again, which is good. My parents weren't at all musical, so I never had that benefit.

Don't force the theory, but surround her with music. Let her listen to what she wants to, but occasionnaly, put something on and say, Hey! Check this out! Try to get her interested in the music as much as possible.

Make sure she has a balance in what she's playing. As others have said, they hated classical when that was all they played. If she's only taking classical, either talk to her teacher and get him/her to sprinkle in other things or else take it into your hands and show her some stuff on your own.

Has she ever gone to one of your gigs? Maybe seeing you onstage and what you do will make her want to follow.

But the bottom line is what she wants to do. It seems right now she wants to keep up with piano, so why not?

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Here's another 'motivator' that I have used successfully to encourage kids at their piano lessons:

 

If I had a dollar for every person that came up to me and said "Oh, you play so well - I took lessons for a couple years but got bored and quit. Now I regret not sticking with it!" I'd be a wealthy man!

 

Maybe you can use it too!

 

DRD

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I have a related question:

 

My niece is in 1st grade and has taken piano lessons for about a year I think. How does one approach a second instrument, assuming the kid has any interest in one?

 

I want her to play the cello. In 15 years I'll still be gigging, we can do gigs together and I can pay her really poorly and keep most of the money. :laugh: Seriously, at what point does one even consider a second instrument? I don't think she's solid enough practice-wise on the first to even consider it at this point.

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Do they make little cellos suitable for a six year old?

 

Yo-Yo Ma performed at the White House when he was 7. :laugh: He started at 4, which is not uncommon. Yes, they make really tiny cellos.

 

I pretty much stay out of it. I know Grampa would like to see her succeed in music, classical music in particular. The problem with classical is that it's imperative that the kid be rather serious at an early age to consider it as a career choice. It's hard enough raising a kid ( I don't have any), let alone deciding career choices for a 6 year old. Right now, she likes puppies and doing magic shows. :laugh: She has declared herself a "vegetarian" at age 6. Nobody has the heart to tell her what the hamburgers she loves are made of. :laugh:

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My niece is in 1st grade and has taken piano lessons for about a year I think. How does one approach a second instrument, assuming the kid has any interest in one?

 

If your school system is anything like ours, wait a few years and you won't have to approach it. They'll approach it for you; school band and orchestra. I think it's great for little piano players to get involved in school ensembles, which offer experiences that piano players don't otherwise get. There comes a time (high school for most, I think) when you start committing to an instrument and genre, but grade school's a time for musical experimentation.

 

Larry.

 

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My niece is in 1st grade and has taken piano lessons for about a year I think. How does one approach a second instrument, assuming the kid has any interest in one?

 

If your school system is anything like ours, wait a few years and you won't have to approach it. They'll approach it for you; school band and orchestra. I think it's great for little piano players to get involved in school ensembles, which offer experiences that piano players don't otherwise get. There comes a time (high school for most, I think) when you start committing to an instrument and genre, but grade school's a time for musical experimentation.

 

Larry.

 

As I said, I stay out of it. However:

 

That's too late. That's one reason I stay out of it, I can't be objective and know all too well the reality. The odds of the kid even being remotely interested are really slim to begin with. String players have to start really, really young. They can't really do what wind and brass do and pick an instrument in the 5th grade, they have to start earlier. There are a few exceptions of course but not that many.

 

She and her sister (4th grade) have a unique challenge when they hit middle school (next year for the older one): the principal of their middle school is my brother, AKA their father. :o:laugh: That's probably going to be enough pressure right there. Hopefully they will get all A's, their father runs the joint. :laugh:

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I have a related question:

 

My niece is in 1st grade and has taken piano lessons for about a year I think. How does one approach a second instrument, assuming the kid has any interest in one?

_________________________________________________________________________________________

 

My 6 year old daughter has been doing Suzuki violin for two years and piano for one year. I work with her at least five days a week. We usually practice 15-20 minutes on each instrument. It would be ideal to break up those practices in short 5-10 minute sessions over the course of a day but we don't... It is very important to make practice fun- we do lots of games and sometimes incorporate her stuffed animals and Barbie dolls into the practice. We don't call it "practice" but rather "music games".

 

Just as a child can learn more than one language I believe they can learn more than one instrument

 

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David,

 

I agree with everything you're saying, but we're talking about a second instrument here. If she's going to be principally a cello player when she grows up, you're right, she should be playing cello by now. But she's already a piano player, and if all we're talking about is enough cello to experience the joys of orchestral playing (and tenor clef!), maybe she's not too late.

 

Larry.

 

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Do they make little cellos suitable for a six year old?

 

Yes indeed.

 

http://lifelearners.files.wordpress.com/2008/11/img_8249.jpg

 

Wow. It looks like a stand up viola - too cute!

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

-Mark Twain

 

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David,

 

I agree with everything you're saying, but we're talking about a second instrument here. If she's going to be principally a cello player when she grows up, you're right, she should be playing cello by now. But she's already a piano player, and if all we're talking about is enough cello to experience the joys of orchestral playing (and tenor clef!), maybe she's not too late.

 

Larry.

 

I agree. My guess is that it wouldnt be secondary. It's not me, it's Grampa. :laugh: He is a wee, wee bit of a "stage grampa". He may try to re-create my successes or surpass my failures, whichever way you look at it. :laugh:

 

Personally, I hope she grows up and becomes a filmmaker and hires her uncle to write the score. I'm lookin to get a gig outta this kid any way I can. :laugh:

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