to insist my DS (7) carries on with violin lessons?

(62 Posts)
crazycanuck Sun 30-Dec-12 17:25:30

I couldn't figure out where to post this (is there a music lessons topic?) but my DS (7 years old) has been doing violin lessons at school for one term (we are very lucky that there is an instrumental society here that does this for free) and while he was keen the first few weeks it is becoming a real struggle to get him to practice. Cue loads of moaning and drama and a practice that should take 10 minutes getting dragged into half an hour due to his moaning and dragging his feet.

Has anyone else dealt with this and had their dc come out the other side and enjoy their instrument? Should we persevere (his tutor is very pleased with his progress) or call it a day? He has form for quitting things. He quit karate after 3 lessons and tried to quit his after-school activity towards the end of last term, and has tried to quit Beavers a couple times. I let him 'quit' Beavers before last summer hols and the day before it started again in the fall term he said he wanted to go back and luckily he was able to, but has since said he wants to quit again! angry. He isn't over-scheduled activity wise. He does beavers and swimming once a week (no after school activity this term).

Is the moaning about practicing a universal experience? So many people have told me how they wished their parents had pushed them to keep at their musical instrument as a child, but I don't want to be too pushy with him. WIBU to have him carry on at least one more term?

Beamur Sun 30-Dec-12 22:10:26

somedayma - thank you for sharing your experience - it is worth seeing that perspective too.

beanandspud Sun 30-Dec-12 22:18:32

I tried to play the violin at around 8yrs old and I was terrible at it. I could read music ok and liked music but couldn't get anything that sounded even vaguely musical from the violin. I gave up after grade 2.

Looking back I'm glad that I wasn't forced to carry on as I'm pretty sure it wouldn't have got much better. I do wish however that I'd had an opportunity to learn the piano since, whilst I was never going to be a concert pianist, I think it would have been much more fun than the violin.

My advice would be to ask your DS to give it one more term with the deal being that, if he practices for 15mins per day and still hates it at Easter, he can give it up with no more questions asked.

Muminwestlondon Sun 30-Dec-12 22:19:13

Does he actually enjoy his lessons and want to carry on? If so, maybe negotiate 2 or so practices a week rather than every day. It takes years to make good progress on a string instrument; maybe it is not the instrument for him.

My DD2 made no progress on violin but does drum kit and piano instead. DD1 took up flute after getting to grade 4 violin and likes that much better and piano as well and is currently doing grade 6 in each. Neither of my children practice every day.

Viviennemary Sun 30-Dec-12 22:25:07

I made mine carry on with piano for quite a while after they wanted to stop. It did no good. But DD has tried the guitar since so I don't suppose it put them off for life. I think at seven if he hates it he should quit.

I agree with the posters above who say practice for 15 mins a day. My dc were both at that foot-dragging stage with their instruments (inc. violin) and now the practice is a part of every day, they hardly notice they're doing it. The standard of their playing has gone up massively, and they get so much more pleasure from it now. My dd has now played the violin for a year, and it has been a long hard road, but she can now play pretty much anything she wants to, and loves it. Another thing to look into is folk music and learning by ear - there is a group where we live, but it might be worth seeing if there is anything similar near to you. Or even just going along to get inspired at a folk session. (I've found it's a lot 'cooler' to an 8yr old than classical music)

malinois Sun 30-Dec-12 23:02:38

I was forced to play the piano from age 6 to 15. I HATED every single moment - even though I got up to grade 8. I can't stand the sound of bloody classical piano to this day. By all means encourage your DS to carry on, but if he isn't enjoying it, let him quit before it gets out of hand.

Clayhanger Sun 30-Dec-12 23:41:10

Most children hate the early stages. Most adults who gave up now regret it. OP, don't know where you're based but it's worth searching out a local Saturday music centre where your DS can associate music-making with sociability as well as seeing teens involved and enthusiastic.

My DC play piano, string and various wind instruments. They'll never be virtuosi but are now really good standard and strong ensemble players. They can also arrange songs - quite useful in bands etc!

Unless your child has zero talent it's worth persevering - music is a life skill. I always told the DCs they were never allowed to give up but if they weren't clicking with a teacher I'd just make it my business to find a new one. This has worked with both my DCs at different times. It's been worth all the nagging (they still don't practise much!)

nooka Mon 31-Dec-12 00:16:09

I'm another person who was made to learn the violin by their parents and hated it. My mother let me give up a year later after I scraped through my grade 1 (or maybe I failed it - seems more likely!). I played 3rd violin in the second orchestra and hated that too. Mainly because I was really rubbish, and the sounds that came out of the violin were quite painful. I've never regretted giving it up.

My eldest sister also tried and failed with the violin (which is why it was given to me instead). My middle sister learned the flute after listening to James Gallway, and then picked up the cello. She got pretty good at both of them, up to grade 8 and in the top school orchestra. Hasn't payed either since she left school though, whereas I sang with a choir for several years re children.

I don't think forcing anyone into something they don't enjoy and aren't good at is particularly beneficial.

Startail Mon 31-Dec-12 00:37:51

Mine have both played instruments badly and given up.

The contrast in their attitudes to instrument lessons compared with singing DD1 and Ballet DD2 is amazing.

They practice, they get ready reasonably on time and they don't moan.

DD1 doesn't even moan when choir gets in the way of things that she'd probably find fun.

yousmell Mon 31-Dec-12 08:15:45

mine has just gone through the other side with violin. Initially he always wanted to attend the lessons and not practice. We never pushed the daily practice really but just made sure he had a last min pre lesson practice. It was all a bit half hearted really. After about two years of this I decided we had to call it a day and stop the lessons as it was a waste of money. We wrote a letter explaining that DS was stopping. His teacher told him it would be such a shame if he gave up and suddenly from nowhere, DS wanted to practice. He now practices ever day term time and is willing.

yousmell Mon 31-Dec-12 08:16:56

If the lessons are free, continue but agree to practice only at the weekend maybe?

yousmell Mon 31-Dec-12 08:17:29

- if he enjoys the instrument

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