to be disappointed that my 4 year old doesn't want piano lessons

(203 Posts)
evalluna Sun 01-Sep-13 08:56:05

Both my partner and I are musical, I played in orchestras throughout school and university and a bit beyond, though have let it slide since having children. My partner plays several instruments and has played in loads of different ensembles. We have a piano which we both (again mainly pre-kids) enjoyed playing though not to a great standard. We have always been keen for our kids to learn though (I have always regretted not having piano lessons as we didn't have a piano when I was growing up.) My partner was keen for them to learn by the suzuki method, so yesterday we took our daughter to meet a suzuki teacher, who was lovely (and our daughter actually went to sit next to when asked which is unusual as she is usually shy with unknown adults). However, when the teacher tried to do a few clapping games with her she wasn't interested and started being silly, and when she asked her if she wanted to learn to play the piano she said no. Understandably the teacher didn't want to take on a young child who didn't want to learn and suggester we leave it a while.

I am a bit disappointed, partly as I am probably projecting my own wish to have learned young on to her and feel it is wasting an opportunity. Also, I think she does have a fair bit of musical ability - she has always loved music and has had a very in-tune singing voice from an early age. My partner feels we have somehow failed not to have instigated in her a desperate desire to learn the piano. However, personality wise she has always been a mixture of extremely stubborn and quite anxious in new situations and has never been one for doing something she doesn't want to do. I wonder if she is just not ready - similarly for a long time she refused to write her name when asked even though she could but now is happy to do so. And although she has known her letters for a long time she has only recently wanted to attempt to put them together to read (she is about to start reception) and it was pointless trying to get her to do this before.

We have got a book called Lulus piano lesson which we have been reading with her and she likes, and my partner has done a bit with her, teaching her where the notes are, which she knows. When i ask why she doesn't want to learn she says 'because I already know' (ie can bash about a bit!)

I don't want to push it, but want to try to develop things so she might be ready for lessons at some point. Has anyone had similar experience/ got any advice? Thanks.

coco27 Sun 01-Sep-13 08:57:41

There musty be a reason most piano teachers don't want thembefore they are7 yrs old.

Bluestocking Sun 01-Sep-13 08:58:54

Does she see you and your partner playing the piano? That might be the way to start. If she sees you enjoying playing she may well want to get in on the act.

JumpingJackSprat Sun 01-Sep-13 08:59:35

she seems way too young for it and you sound quite pushy. has she showed an interest in any other instruments?

pigletmania Sun 01-Sep-13 09:00:16

The piano teacher is right, she is only little and if she does not want to, do not force her, ask her in about a year. Mabey do one or two lessons to see how she goes. You really cannot project yourselves onto her, she is an individual of her own

Pancakeflipper Sun 01-Sep-13 09:02:27

Try when she shows an interest.
You say you didn't have lessons as a child and are musical.
You will obviously have music around that become part of her childhood.

Don't push her into it though as it will become a chore and not a joy.

missalien Sun 01-Sep-13 09:03:15

If you are both so musical why can't you just teach her gently some little melodies at home yourselves ?

Four is too young unless she shows an interest herself I'm afraid

frogspoon Sun 01-Sep-13 09:03:23

Sounds like your DD may be a bit immature for piano lessons at the moment. 4 is very young, I know very few people who started before the age of 5 or 6. Maybe try again in a few years?

If she has a nice singing voice perhaps look into singing lessons or a children's choir.

Has she shown interest in a different instrument? Perhaps look into that instead.

pigletmania Sun 01-Sep-13 09:03:53

She is only a baby, my friends daughter is 4 and is learning the piano and doing well, but she really wants to and that makes all the difference. i would leave it for now

claraschu Sun 01-Sep-13 09:03:57

I am a musician and teacher, with 3 kids who play. I started them all myself, and they ad teachers when they got older. Wy don't you show her how to play a few simple tunes, if and when she is interested. Keep it very lighthearted. Maybe she would prefer another instrument

evalluna Sun 01-Sep-13 09:04:47

Hi, i don't want to be pushy, but at the same time i wanted her to have the opportunity. I thought the suzuki method would be good as she could do it with her dad (she is currently a daddy's girl!) and it is quite a child friendly method, more intuitive than rote. i also wanted to find a teacher who could make it fun for young children. She has also been taken to ballet - is that pushy?? She likes that, though, I think if playing the piano involved a sparkly outfit she would be more interested.
She has shown a great interest in my partner's trumpet, which strangely she has bee able to get a reasonable note out of for quite a while (obviously she is way too young for a brass instrument though!)
She doesn't really hear us play because if anyone tries to play she wants us to stop so she can bang about instead!

Poor little girl.

Let her be a child. There will always be a time later on for you to try live your own dreams through her.

Just because the adult you regretted not having lessons as a child, I bet the child you were then were really happy she did not have parents who tried to push her so much.

Keep pushing, and you will ensure she will be sick of the word "piano" by the age of 8, and embark on playing drums aged 12. grin

Lonecatwithkitten Sun 01-Sep-13 09:05:11

My DD also wouldn't have been interested at that age, but by 7 she was desperate to play an instrument. 3 years later she is now playing two instruments and having singing lessons, in 2 choirs and an orchestra all of her own choosing.
Firstly don't loose heart it may just be later with her I know an incredibly talent 15 year who now has grade 8 in 4 instruments he couldn't play a note till he was 8. Also consider that she might prefer a different instrument.

Roshbegosh Sun 01-Sep-13 09:05:42

Maybe she won't ever be interested, she is an individual not an extension of you and maybe you should let her develop her own interests in life.

SilverApples Sun 01-Sep-13 09:06:03

Have you thought about her handspan, her concentration levels, her inability to reach the pedals?
Have you considered a keyboard for her to enjoy?
What about a stringed instrument that can be scaled to her size?
What about letting her enjoy music for a few more years, then choose?

OH was forced to take piano lessons and hated it, quite put him off the whole idea of playing. Turns out he's a strings man.

Chippednailvarnish Sun 01-Sep-13 09:06:19

My Ds started drumming lessons at three because he was obsessed with them. He started piano at four and is much less interested in it, therefore the piano is very much as and when he wants to.

You mention that your DD is shy and quite anxious - maybe you should let her play and stop pushing her. Or better still improve your own piano playing...

Isitme1 Sun 01-Sep-13 09:06:21

Shes 4.
Give her a doll for now and play the piano in her presence so she becomes interested and ask her in a year or so

evalluna Sun 01-Sep-13 09:06:25

Yes I have thought about maybe doing a bit myself with her - my partner has already started showing her where the different notes are,

Groovee Sun 01-Sep-13 09:06:43

She's 4, I'd leave it until she is older and understands better.

pigletmania Sun 01-Sep-13 09:06:43

i agree claraschu, mabey she does not want to learn piano, try another instrument and mabey wait until she is 5/6

SilverApples Sun 01-Sep-13 09:06:51

Or she could end up completely unmusical, but talented in another area.

LadyGoodman Sun 01-Sep-13 09:07:11

She's 4!!!! plenty of years for that!!

That is all

frogspoon Sun 01-Sep-13 09:09:24

Perhaps if she can get a note out of a trumpet she will be a woodwind or brass player.

How about the recorder?

evalluna Sun 01-Sep-13 09:12:05

quintessentialolddear - she is not a poor little girl, she has a very full and happy life with lots of opportunity for playing. And surely it is preferable to have parents interested in giving her opportunities than not. As you can see from my post I am not pushing, I am wondering about her age and how best to encourage interest. I am aware lots of people have had negative experiences young with teachers not especially sensitive to the needs of young children
I would also be quite happy if she developed an interest in drums or any other instrument.

StyleManual Sun 01-Sep-13 09:12:21

4 is very young for formal lessons. If you make it fun and just let her go to the piano when she's interested and just show her bits and pieces, in a few years she might be interested in learning properly. By then she will be able to grasp the concepts of notation and be physically more capable. At 4 their hands are so tiny and not that coordinated, so it can be slow going. Just carry on as you are and she will pick up so much from you if you just show her little bits and pieces here and there without the pressure. It's quite a tricky time anyway when they're just starting school - they are tired and can feel under pressure from school. If you wait until she's settled into the routine of formal education, it will probably be much happier all round.
4 would be unusually early to start and unless you're planning on training her up to be a concert pianist, then really unnecessary if she's not bursting to learn. It's not the age they start at but their level of enthusiasm. Progress will be much faster and enjoyable if you wait until she's ready.

pigletmania Sun 01-Sep-13 09:13:01

Op does sound a bit pushy, its a good idea to teach her some melodies at home, and mabey experiment with differents things that make sounds so she can do a rhythm. play around her yourself, and hopefully she will want to learn an instrument (not necessarily piano) later on

Chippednailvarnish Sun 01-Sep-13 09:15:11

I doubt you would have such a mammoth opening post about your DD lack of interest in ballet OP...
I can see this is going to be one of those threads when the majority of MN'ers say YABU but the OP carries on regardless.

HamwidgeAlive Sun 01-Sep-13 09:18:23

She is her own person, not you or your DH. It sounds like you are pressuring her. Let her find her own interests.

evalluna, you do seem pushy from your posts.

And a bit pig headed to be honest. Your girl said "no" when asked if she wanted to play the piano. This is your cue she is not ready, not your cue to find different ways of disrespecting her stance!

Give it a few years! Let her try other instruments.

My son asked me to play the violin when he was 4. It was such a shock, as I am not musical, never played the violin, but I signed him up with lessons. He has not kept it up, but he learnt to read music, which has helped him in his vocal development. He now has singing lessons. I have never pushed him to do anything. I have nurtured his talents, and let him have plenty of opportunities. You just want to give your daughter the opportunity YOU wished you had. ONE opportunity, the Piano, not many, and not her choices...

I can tell you from personal experience that pushing your child into your instrument, may not instill the love you wish. My dad had always wanted to learn to play the organ as a child. I found myself in a dark and cold church battling a church organ as a young teenager, and did not stick to it despite bribery of an electronic keyboard....

SilverApples Sun 01-Sep-13 09:20:37

If you and OH play as a couple at home, she will want to be a part of that.
Let her participate informally, the rest may follow.

SugarMiceInTheRain Sun 01-Sep-13 09:21:08

YABU and projecting. She is probably too young. I teach piano and would not teach a 4 year old. A couple of 7 year olds I teach are still a bit young to concentrate for a half hour lesson or to practise enough to make it worth their parents' while forking out for lessons. Agree with posters upthread - wait til she is interested. Otherwise it will be a chore.

everlong Sun 01-Sep-13 09:21:52

Four is too young. She needs to enjoy it if she's going to pick it up.

Ds is just 7 and will start lessons when he goes back to school next week..

JumpingJackSprat Sun 01-Sep-13 09:22:14

If this isnt about you being pushy then why are you so focused on the piano? She might prefer the electric guitar in a couple of years - or she might prefer horse riding, dancing, trampolining, running, football or none of the above - let her develop her own interests. shes told you as clearly as she knows how that shes not interested in learning the piano.

evalluna Sun 01-Sep-13 09:23:25

Chippednailvarnish - no, you are right i would have been less bothered about lack of interest in ballet. However I think the ability to play piano stands more people in good stead into adulthood than childhood ballet lessons. i am glad she likes ballet and appears to be ok at it as I think it is important to have an interest.

As is clearly evident from my previous posts i am not carrying on regardless but am taking on advice that she is probably too young for a variety of reasons, which is partly what I wanted to know. i have no intention of forcing a child to learn something they do not want to do, but would like to gently encourage an interest if possible. If I was planing to carry on regardless I would not have posted (or perhaps you did not bother to read my subsequent posts)

PasswordProtected Sun 01-Sep-13 09:24:40

I think 4 is too young, unless your daughter has been asking you to teach her or sitting at the piano herself, trying to play "tunes".
I asked my parents for piano lessons when I was about 6 and a half, so would say if she wants to learn, she will do something similar.
Even though you, tge parents, are both musical it is a little unreasonable to expect or force the interest in your child.

evalluna Sun 01-Sep-13 09:26:11

Also, I am not just focused on the piano, I would like her to (want to) learn another instrument at some point but she is too young physically for many orchestral instruments.

Then leave it for now. Expose her ears to good music and let her learn a love of music from hearing great pieces to start with.

DoItTooJulia Sun 01-Sep-13 09:30:47

Tricky one.

I think the posters saying 'poor girl' and 'pushy mum' haven't read your posts properly. You don't sound pushy to me! And our daughter sounds like a lucky little girl!

I was forced to play the piano for years and didn't like it. Now, I wish I could play better, or at all. I'm not familiar with this Suzuki method, what is it?

I can understand that you are diapoointed, but keep exposing her to it and offering her the chance and if it's for her, it will happen! Why don't you try some lessons to scratch your itch?

evalluna Sun 01-Sep-13 09:30:58

Actually, this thread has helped me to reflect that she maybe is a bit too young and to stop worrying about it for the moment.

SilverApples Sun 01-Sep-13 09:31:14

I've got numerous friends who are folk musicians, their children are surrounded by people who love music and play it all the time, formally and informally. Some of those children are fine musicians now, because of the immersion.
Some are non-musical and working in completely different fields. smile

StyleManual Sun 01-Sep-13 09:31:30

Agree with Quint - she might be old enough to go to some concerts. Especially around Christmas there might be some nice child friendly ones. If you show her how wonderful the world of music is she will probably develop her own interest. Just letting her see and hear you play and letting her approach it herself in time. I don't think you're pushy btw.

Vecta Sun 01-Sep-13 09:32:25

If you really want to encourage music, at 4, it would probably be better to find a general music class to go to, one that does shaking, and banging with more age-appropriate instruments and objects. She will learn about rhythm and notes which will stand her in good stead with any musical instrument she takes up in the future.

evalluna Sun 01-Sep-13 09:32:52

suzuki method (my understanding of it) involves a parent going along and learning alongside the child, so they can help them at home. It also, I think, focuses more on listening and less on reading notation, so seemed suitable for a young child.

SilverApples Sun 01-Sep-13 09:32:54

<Thinks of the lovely eco-crusty fiddler whose son became a police officer>
Just keep on loving her, whatever her interests are.

saintmerryweather Sun 01-Sep-13 09:32:59

how does the ability to play piano stand someone in good stead over dancing?

Dackyduddles Sun 01-Sep-13 09:33:21

God talk about take fun out of a past time. Ooh a method yay lets shove it down dcs throat. Oh why doesn't dc play?

Best way is to just sing nursery rhymes and press the keys along. She doesn't need to know what a semi quaver is just that these few keys sing baa baa black sheep. I'd love a kid that can hear a tune and pick out on a piano more than one at four that can read music.

Why are you making it so difficult and so blooming unenjoyable?

evalluna Sun 01-Sep-13 09:35:22

Playing the piano seems a useful skill in lots of contexts - eg teachers who can play piano have an extra string to their bow (excuse pun), it is something that can be useful in various situations/ social gatherings. Maybe I'm wrong in this viewpoint though (I know lots of people forced to learn as children never play another note!)

elQuintoConyo Sun 01-Sep-13 09:36:31

Has she tried the harp?

SilverApples Sun 01-Sep-13 09:38:15

We tend to use CDs now to singalong with in school, or online resources.. Many schools are phasing out their pianos, they cost to maintain and tune, and if you only have one player in school, that is restrictive.
Playing the piano is a fun activity, not really a useful skill any longer.

IfIonlyhadsomesleep Sun 01-Sep-13 09:38:26

As other posters have said, four is really young to start to learn to play the piano. We want our children to learn instruments but held off until dd was in year two so a month off seven. It has worked well a year on, she can read music and is about to start the clarinet. Even at seven, it has sometimes been hard to help her learn the practice habit. I did music, reached grade eight and I didn't start more than recorder until I was nearly twelve. So on every level, I think you should relax. School will be demanding and she will need time outside school to do what she wants. There will also be reading books from school. It might not sound much, but you will need time and space to get used to it all.

StyleManual Sun 01-Sep-13 09:39:00

Have you checked out the ABRSM forum by the way? I think there's a parents section there and you might get some ideas for your DD without being told you're evil and pushy! grin

I didn't start any instrumental lessons until I was 7. I went on to achieve Grade 8 in piano and violin and a 2:1 music degree, specialising in performance. Don't push her. My dc show interest, but other than toddler music classes for ds (3), I don't do anything other than play them a ride variety of music.

SilverApples Sun 01-Sep-13 09:39:50

I play the clarsach, it's brilliant! (Not me, the instrument)
Doesn't hurt your fingers as much as playing a guitar either, and the sound is always lovely if you keep it in tune. Unlike the violin.

LiegeAndLief Sun 01-Sep-13 09:40:18

I started plaing the piano when I was 10. I had lessons all through school, taught myself to play other instruments, learned to sing in tune, played for fun by myself and as a band or just with other people, still play now 25 years on for my own enjoyment, although not so often now with dc! Music has been a big part of my life and I don't feel I missed out or am a worse player for not starting lessons when I was 4.

It's not too late for your daughter and won't be for a long time. Better she comes to it by choice than is forced and loses interest or resents it.

tunnocksteacake Sun 01-Sep-13 09:40:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BoozyBear Sun 01-Sep-13 09:41:31

encourage her love of singing, i know a lot of singers who develop a desire to learn the piano - its VERY useful to be able to play when you're trying to practice your songs. I fell into singing first, and piano second for that very reason.

LiegeAndLief Sun 01-Sep-13 09:43:31

By the way, as a tool for social gathering, i think the piano is a terrible instrument unless you happen to have one with you! It's why I taught myself something else...

OhDearNigel Sun 01-Sep-13 09:43:59

I started learning the piano at around this age. Why don't you encourage her playing on your piano at home and see where you go from there

furfoxsake Sun 01-Sep-13 09:45:04

I started at 5. I had to beg my parents for lessons, my mum said I wouldn't stick it so it wasn't worth it...
That's reverse psychology for you - my wise old Ma.

Jinsei Sun 01-Sep-13 09:45:28

Yanbu to be a bit disappointed, you can't help how you feel. But that's where it should stop. Your dd is an individual in her own right, and at the moment, she isn't interested. Respect that. She might change her mind when she is older...or she might not. There is no point in pushing it either way.

I'd have loved my dd to learn an instrument, and I think she'd have got a lot out of it. However, she isn't interested, so that's that. It's my job to support her in the things that she is interested in, not to push her towards the things that I wish I'd done myself.

Blissx Sun 01-Sep-13 09:46:16

Please don't force it on your little one. My mother was a music teacher and also a Piano peripertetic teacher and made me and my brother and sister learn music from about 2 upwards. We hated being made to. As my brother and sister were older, they got to 'give up' sooner but I wasn't as in my mother's words,'you are my last chance'. She also used to say we didn't know how lucky we were as she did not have the opportunity to learn music at a young age.
We all learnt using the Suzuki method (each of us did cello or violin as well as piano) and it is so full of pushy middle to upper class parents that all of us kids were pushed into who can progress up to the next book quickest? Who gets the orchestra solo? Who had the better concert outfit (not sure if it is still the same, but we all had to have dresses made out of the same god awful material) and of course the summer camps at Dartington and Benedon were all about competition. It isn't what it was supposed to be about but that is mine and some of my peers' experience about it.
It got to the point that I achieved a pass in Grade 8 piano at 17 afterngiving up the cello at 13 and immediately refused to play anymore, to the point that I have no interest anything to do with music now. I'm sure that is not what my mother was aiming for.

If your DD wants to learn an instrument, I am sure she will ask. Until then, pushing her into it will backfire on your intentions.

Whathaveiforgottentoday Sun 01-Sep-13 09:46:28

Leave it a few years, it would be better if it was her decision to want to learn. I'd like my dd1 to start but she's only really interested in the drums!

OhDearNigel Sun 01-Sep-13 09:56:26

Your girl said "no" when asked if she wanted to play the piano. This is your cue she is not ready, not your cue to find different ways of disrespecting her stance!

What rubbish. Plenty of children will say that they don't want to do something new, then absolutely love it when they are firced to give it a try. My daughter being an excellent example, she wouldn't swim or trampoline - both activities she absolutely loves now she has got over her confidence.
Lots of children would never do anything if their parents didn't "disrespect their stance"

pigletmania Sun 01-Sep-13 09:56:33

If your dd does not like the piano than do not force her to, there are others i am sure that she could play. As you said she is too young to play any other orchestral instrument, so mabey that is your cue to wait until she is older. As you are aware you cannot live your wishes through your dd, your dd may not like or be competant at the piano

EauRouge Sun 01-Sep-13 09:59:54

Everyone in my family plays an orchestral instrument and I was forced into it. I always hated it though and resented every moment of playing and practising. Now I play bass in a rock band and I'm bloody good at it.

Let her find her own way. I can also play the piano and yes, it's been useful, but I never enjoyed it. If you don't enjoy an instrument then you'll never be motivated to practice and will never keep it up.

My DD1 is 4 and loves strumming away on the ukulele. It sounds terrible but she's enjoying herself and that's how you find a passion for things in life.

Jinsei Sun 01-Sep-13 10:01:46

What rubbish. Plenty of children will say that they don't want to do something new, then absolutely love it when they are firced to give it a try. My daughter being an excellent example, she wouldn't swim or trampoline - both activities she absolutely loves now she has got over her confidence.
Lots of children would never do anything if their parents didn't "disrespect their stance"

I agree that children should be encouraged to give things a try, but how far should you push it? This little girl went to a lesson, and told her mum that she wasn't interested. How many lessons do you think she should be forced to attend before her stance should be respected?

monkeycat Sun 01-Sep-13 10:03:01

How about seeing if there are any musical play classes in your area ?

My DD went to a Saturday morning class for pre-school , P1 and P2 to do musicianship (through play) which used the Kodaly method . She really enjoyed it and learned the foundations of music before she moved onto singing in the choir and learning an instrument .

This particular music school only allowed the children to learn an instrument once they were in P3 (age 6/7) and they made good progress because of both their age and their knowlwdge of the basics already. All of the other weekend music schools in our area seem to follow a similar method .

You may also find children's classes using the Dalcroze method which I believe is similar , but not the same as, Kodaly .

My DD is now aged 8 1/2 and has just had her first piano lesson . For her , this is the right time to start , since she is now confident in her musicianship and can pick up the basics of playing the piano fairly quickly and enjoyably .


showtunesgirl Sun 01-Sep-13 10:08:20

OP, are you sure that Suzuki is a gentle method? From everything I've read about it, it ramps up to be extremely demanding both on the pupil AND parent.

My DH and I are also musical and would love DD to be musical too but if it turns out she has no interest, then that's fine as she is after all not us! Just let her find her own way.

evalluna Sun 01-Sep-13 10:11:23

Just to clarify we did not take her to a lesson - we took her for a preliminary chat!
Thanks there ia some really useful advice here - I probably need to be less focused on music as a hobby and let her develop her interests at her own pace.

BanjoPlayingTiger Sun 01-Sep-13 10:12:10

Hi OP, you will find that people will call you pushy because you want your child to do music, yet if you put the same effort into a sport people generally don't have an issue with it. Before anyone takes issue with me for saying this, it is my experience.

Could you show your daughter some good female pianists on youtube or similar often they play in lovely pretty dresses and so might help her want to start to play. I showed my daughter some bits of music, and took her to her first classical concert aged 7. She watched, entranced, throughout and then at the interval proclaimed that one day she would be the lady in the beautiful dress playing the solo.

My daughter did ballet at the same age your daughter is now, and I also took her to a music class where she learnt to read music and play the recorder. She progressed from there to the piano, and now plays both piano and French Horn. She is about to start at a specialist music school and cannot wait.

Good luck with it all, but do be prepared that your dd may not wish to do music - she may have other talents entirely.,

Dobbiesmum Sun 01-Sep-13 10:13:31

Letting her listen to music is the best way to encourage her I think. Obviously I don't know where you are but a quick Google of children concerts in Manchester showed me that the Halle orchestra do children's concerts on Sunday afternoons and there is a a christmas themed one in December. There may be something similar near you?
Don't forget that she will get the opportunity soon enough to learn in school, this may be enough for her but it might just inspire her to want more. That's when you can step in.

Jinty64 Sun 01-Sep-13 10:15:24

We are a musical family. I took both ds1 and ds2 to a pre school music group based on the kodaly method. They were both offered violin in school at 8 and are now grade 8 and 6 and play in several orchestras. Ds3 (7) has grown up listening to his brothers play and will start piano lessons in the next few months. His concentration has not been good enough until now. Ds2's violin teacher didn't start playing until she was 10 and was grade 8 at 12!

I don't know where you live but many cities have violin and cello babies for pre school children. She may like the idea of that better. I would have liked to do this with ds3 as he is desperate for a violin but we don't have one locally. I hope he will be offered one in school next year.

StyleManual Sun 01-Sep-13 10:16:09

Agree with Banjo about the pretty dresses - I started learning the violin based purely on the soloist at a concert being a pretty blonde girl!

Numberlock Sun 01-Sep-13 10:16:37
pianodoodle Sun 01-Sep-13 10:20:28

I started piano aged 4 and will happily take on a four year old for lessons if they are able to sit and listen etc... and show the interest.

Not all are ready though It's no big deal just keep them into music in a more informal way for a while and try lessons again in a year or two by which stage they may take to it better smile

Jinty64 Sun 01-Sep-13 10:20:46

banjoPlayingTiger how right you are. I get a letter home from school at least weekly promoting some new sports class but if I ask about music provision it is all down to cost and lack of available funds.

OhDearNigel Sun 01-Sep-13 10:21:51

Jinsei, i would probably give the activity 3 attempts if i know it is something that dd would enjoy if she gave it a chance.
We started mini tennis this year, the first lesson she wouldnt do it and cried, the second time she was prepared to do things while clinging to my leg and the 3rd time she had got used to the class and did the class without me. She loves it now
Had i followed this "dont disrespect your 3 year old's wishes" bollocks we would have given up on the first class.

MadeOfStarDust Sun 01-Sep-13 10:24:01

my girls started at 5 and 6 - when they asked if they could (the youngest really just asked because the oldest started) we just let them mess about on the piano before then...

My eldest is now 12 and does the ABRSM exams and really loves/lives her music, the youngest did grade 1 and now just learns for fun.

Chippednailvarnish Sun 01-Sep-13 10:25:04

grin numberlock

mirry2 Sun 01-Sep-13 10:25:43

op you mention her banging about whenever you play. Have you thought of sending her to a preschool music group? My dd used to attend one where they banged along to music using different percussion instruments like drums, triangles, cymbals etc. keeping to simple time and rythmns (sp) like 3 blind mice. and learnt when each instrument should come in to have a little solo. My dd did that for about 2 years and then started piano lessons at 6 years, followed by recorder and really enjoyed it - until she reached her teenage years hmm

BeckAndCall Sun 01-Sep-13 10:29:00

Just because she says 'no' now, OP, doesn't mean she'll say 'no' this time next year or the year after...... Just wait a while, it's not a race.

Fwiw, my DC all started at 7, having done the usual year 1 recorder type music first. Two out of my 3 were then grade 8 by 16 and one is at RCMJD now so age 7 is not a slow start and won't hold her back for any future options!

JourneyThroughLife Sun 01-Sep-13 10:31:41

Four isn't too young, my son started violin lessons with the Suzuki method when he was three and a half and continued quite happily. My daughter showed much more musical promise (my husband was very musical) and would pick out things on the piano at an early age so we brought in a piano teacher, just like you have. But just as you've experienced, my daughter messed about, wouldn't cooperate and finally screamed and hid unde the piano, which was most unlike her. We gave up on the teacher, but left music on the piano and left my daughter to fathom it out herself - which she did. Since she saw her father playing every day, she would ask him when she was stuck on a note or fingering or something.

When she was a little older she joined a choir and also had school clarinet lessons, at school, at around age 7. This taught her all the musical background and stuff which she should have learned earlier. By then she could play the piano very well, but was self taught. She continued this way and showed real musical promise, but she would never, ever have a piano teacher. She went on to do A level music and did very well, and also won some music competitions with her own compositions, which she always worked out on the piano.

My son, on the other hand, wasn't really very musical at all, so despite his early lessons and accomplishments, never really carried on.
I doubt whether it's too early for your daughter to learn, but she may be very self-driven, and a teacher may not be the best way for her, just keep going at home....

Lweji Sun 01-Sep-13 10:33:21

She is still young, so I wouldn't worry as she may want it later.

However, because she's still so young, I'm not sure you can actually ask what she wants regarding lessons.
She's just as likely to say no today as yes tomorrow.

Personally, I'd enroll her and see how it goes. If she doesn't like it and resists it, then I'd take her out.

Learning music is beneficial in many ways, and I wouldn't think you are pushy.
In the same way that some parents may want their children to learn how to swim, or taken them to baby/toddler gym.

Lweji Sun 01-Sep-13 10:35:01

Even with my then 6 year old, some things he now really enjoys, his first reaction was no.
I told him that if by Christmas he still didn't want it, then he could stop it.
He ended up enjoying all of them.

HappyMummyOfOne Sun 01-Sep-13 10:42:20

She is 4 and just a child. Whilst you may love music she needs to discover her own passions in life and find her own path.

DS chooses his own activities, we dont force him to do any as why would we? He has taken part in various ones over the years as school tends to vary them every year. He did do a musical one but its not his passion he's discovered but there was no issue with him finishing at all.

squeakytoy Sun 01-Sep-13 10:46:22

I started piano lessons at 5, and did them for 6 years. But I was never forced. My dad played and I wanted to because of that.

pianodoodle Sun 01-Sep-13 10:47:52

Also OP encouraging music around the house and letting her bash away at the piano is the best thing you can do to spark off an interest!

I agree with you piano is an excellent activity if they can get into it and useful in lots of other contexts as you say.

Of course I'm slightly biased grin

Wisteria36 Sun 01-Sep-13 10:55:07

I know how you feel op, I would love my ds to learn but although we mess about together on the piano sometimes, he's just not interested. I've stopped pushing it with him and am waiting for him to ask himself to play an instrument - he asked about violin the other day so I was encouraged. He loves ballet and also does a Kodaly pre instrument class in a group which teaches a lot of musicianship through singing in a relaxed way. Maybe that would be an option?

musicposy Sun 01-Sep-13 10:57:07

I'm a piano teacher with two daughters who were, of course going to be concert pianists wink

My eldest started piano but nagged and nagged for ballet lessons. I dismissed this for two years and finally gave in, thinking that after a term of wearing something pink and frilly she would give up.
Despite my best efforts with piano she was never really that interested. She struggled along and finaly gave up just after Grade 5. It got pointless pushing her. She's 17 now and at a top ballet school and looks set to become a ballet dancer, so you just can't tell. Like you, I'd have preferred her to be more interested in piano and less in ballet, but it wasn't to be. They are their own people and live their own lives.

Interestingly, learning all about ballet has been fascinating. I actually think I enjoy her being a dancer more than a pianist.

My second daughter, after I had given up all hope of having musical children, wanted to learn piano at 6. So she started much later than your daughter, and I have to say as a teacher that I think 4 is very young and generally more likely to put them off than encourage them. DD2 is now 14 and working towards Grade 8. She is a fantastic pianist and is going to be better than me one day in the not too distant future! She doesn't want it as a career but we play lotsof advanced duets together, can accompany each other singing and it's lovely. However, I would not let her start before 6 and I think that worked very well as she was very keen by the time she started.

I have pupils who started at 10 and still make Grade 8 well before they leave school. I ahve an adult pupil who is Grade 4 standard after only a year. There isn't a time limit on these things.

I would say back off because in being so keen you will put her off - basically this was what I did with my eldest. Don't mention it again until she is 6 or 7 and then see. It's a much better age to start anyway. DD2 has a friend who started at 4 and was streets ahead of her at about 8 or 9. Now at 14 they are pretty much equal and DD2 is doing better in terms of distinctions in her exams, winning festivals etc, and certainly in terms of the fact that DD2 loves the piano and her friend finds it a chore.Her friend is a bit burnt out by the years of pressure, whereas after I got over the fact that DD1 was going to prefer dance, I relaxed over it and this relaxed approach has benefitted DD2 enormously.

Give it time and let her enjoy the ballet. She may be a musician and she may not but if you push now she will definitely not.

Swanhilda Sun 01-Sep-13 10:57:50

My cousin is a piano teacher and has been for 30 years. He says he never starts lessons till the children are at least 7/8.

Ds1 started violin at 8 and is still playing happily and enjoying it.
Dd started violin at 6 (jealous of ds1) and gave up a year ago, only reaching Grade 1 in 4 years. She started the piano at 10 and passed Grade 1 within the year.

I have friends whose children started intruments/piano between 5 and 8 and after years of troublesome nagging to practise ultimately dropped it at secondary. A lot of time and money and bad feeling when possibly those children would have learnt better if they had started later. I think singing is one of those things which can never start too early but formal lessons at an early age need a lot of parental input.

hiddenhome Sun 01-Sep-13 11:18:57

Four is too young. We tried violin lessons for ds2 when he was about 4.5 and he just didn't get it at all. He's now nearly 9 and is doing well on the piano and is very enthusiastic and has just started the clarinet.

Give it time and don't panic.

In them meantime, encourage music as much as possible around the house and let her see you playing. Children copy their parents smile

cory Sun 01-Sep-13 11:48:21

musicposy's story is very interesting and gives a clear insight into the unpredictability of having children

my own very musical and (to some extent) frustrated-dreams mother had four children:

no 1 was pretty well tone deaf and only really cared for rock/pop music anyway

no 2 (me) was reasonably musical and quite liked Classical music but gave up all instruments I tried, not because I hated them per se, but because I had a passionate interest of my own and every hour spent practising the piano or the cello just seemed like an hour taking me away from chasing my own dreams. I did however grow up into that other useful thing: an audience. Somebody's got to do that job too.

no 3 was musical and interested and got as far as the first year of the conservatoire when he discovered that there were physical reasons (flexibility of fingers) which would always hold him back so he gave it up

no 4 again had totally different interests of his own which were a world apart from anything else done by any other member of the family

Our mother was sensible and realised that it wasn't a case of us being a disappointment to her; you might as well say she was a disappointment to sibling no 4 by not being able to share his technological interests (though again she proved a very useful and grateful recipient: always happy to have her washing machine mended or her computer set up).

Fast-forward 40 years and I have one child who shares my love of literature and poetry and one who boasts that he hasn't read a book since he came off the Oxford Reading Tree. But who has very strongly marked interests in an area I would never have thought of.

As a parent you introduce them to things and then you sit back and see what happens. It's part of the interest of having children. Some copy their parents and some do something totally different.

HumphreyCobbler Sun 01-Sep-13 12:01:14

Four isn't too young if the child is ready. My DS started suzuki violin at four, we didn't really give him any choice but presented it as something fun to do. He was much less interested in reading his book once a night but we forced him into that wink He liked the violin (if he had been violently opposed to it after a few lessons we would have thought again naturally).

I certainly don't think your child is to be pitied! To the poster who expressed doubts that suzuki method is not gentle, it is a lovely way to learn. Seeing my son have a fit of the giggles when his teacher does the tunnel of terror is a sight to behold grin. He does about five minutes practice three or four times a week with his father. It is great. Nothing pushy or tiger mother about it.

cory Sun 01-Sep-13 12:24:52

Humphrey, I don't think anyone is saying that the child was to be pitied if she wanted to learn and was taught by the suzuki method. Only if she persists in not wanting to learn (which is her present attitude) and the mother shows her disappointment.

At the moment, OP, I think your best bet is just to carry on with the things your dd enjoys, like singing, and then see if she shows an interest in learning an instrument in a year or two.

SniffAndMoomintroll Sun 01-Sep-13 13:13:17

4 is quite young for piano unless she develops her own interest in it. I was 7 when I started, although also playing two other instruments by that stage (started aged 4 and 6).

I'd suggest playing and singing to her, and maybe trying a (friendly and relaxed but also musically good) children's music group. There's often a lot of mums and littlies learning together - lots of playing around with different instruments, banging tambourines and drums, taking the front off the piano to show them the strings inside, clapping games, singing, rhythms...then you could try something like a recorder group if she seems interested. (NB: recorder is not just "that plastic thing you toot away on before you go on to a real instrument"...that really annoys me. I started in a children's music group playing a plastic Yamaha aged 4. 8 years later I found myself performing the Brandenburg double recorder concerto in front of various heads of state, and 4 years after that doing an ABRSM diploma in recorder performance! So piano isn't the be all and end all, even though it is useful and you won't find many children who go on to play music seriously who have no ability on piano at all.)

chocolateygoo Sun 01-Sep-13 13:22:09

I am musical and have a 3.5 yr old son who I'd love to share my passion with.

At the moment I try to play the piano most days and he sits on the seat next to me and joins in. I have a book of nursery rhymes that we 'play' together and attempt to sing too (more like a drone, I just can't play and sing at the same time!). He really enjoys this.

Thinking I'd like to try something more formal, I bought the 'dogs and birds' beginners book. We've done a little bit from that but it hasn't really caught his imagination so I'm not pushing it.

I think the best thing to do is show how much you enjoy playing music - e.g. practice in front of them. Then just wait for them to catch the bug and ask for lessons. If they don't, then you haven't wasted several years forcing them to practice something they don't enjoy!

oldandcrabby Sun 01-Sep-13 14:24:19

My mother started me on piano lessons when I was 4. After about 3 months the teacher said I had no talent and should give up. This left me convinced that music was not for me. My husband, a choral singer, said I have a good ear, and could have been quite competent but I have convinced myself that I am 'tone dumb'.
Non pressurised musical activities with plenty of rewards and praise might encourage your DC to show and interest later.

Wisteria36 Sun 01-Sep-13 14:37:44

We tried the 'Dogs and Birds' book too, but it didn't really catch on although ds occasionally looks at the pictures! If I practice in front of my ds he quite often puts one of his CDs on instead!

chocoluvva Sun 01-Sep-13 14:39:54

The Kodaly method is called 'ColourStrings'. It's excellent for ear-training. It involves some movement/dance so might appeal to your DD. A fantastic pre-instrumental training course designed for littlies.

The children's classical concerts are good too.

Ballet on the piano perhaps? (with arms and fingers grin ) rainbow jumps with third finger from octave to octave, tippy toes (fingertips) up and down the keys etc

ThePeppermintHippo Sun 01-Sep-13 15:11:13

Leave her for a few years. I started piano at 4 or 5 and I was too young to get much out of it, plodded on with it for quite a few years but never got good or really enjoyed it. My brother started at an older age and did much better, as did my friends who started their instruments older. I accept that maybe I'm just not very musically talented and this is only anecdotal, but I do think its better to leave it a few more years!

LemonPeculiarJones Sun 01-Sep-13 15:11:18

OP she may never show an interest in learning the piano, or any other instrument. Ever.

This will be due to the fact that she is an individual human being in her own right.

Observe her, pay attention to what does interest her, and nurture that.

To do otherwise would simply be an exercise in you using your child as an extension of yourself, to fulfil a wish of your own.

Parmarella Sun 01-Sep-13 15:21:50

What Lemon said.

My DSs play violin, started when they were about 6.

However, oldest DS asked to have lessons after her was inspired by visit from music teachers at school sent in from the local county ( nice initiative).

Youngest DS wanted to learn too, but I said he would only be allowed if he could wait a bit and would be still keen next term. So we waited a term, he begged for lessons and soilet him.

It seems that reverse psychology can work ( "playing an instrument is ver difficult, why don't you wait until you are a bit older?").

4 is young IMO, mine started at 6 like I said, so they will never be child prodigees, but they enjoy it so it works for us.

Viviennemary Sun 01-Sep-13 15:31:08

I'm amazed that you are both musicians but seem to think it's appropriate for a four year old to start piano lessons. I'd say that was far too young. Perhaps she will prefer another instrument or be talented at something completely different. Clear way to put them off is to force lessons.

exoticfruits Sun 01-Sep-13 15:33:27

I agree with Lemon. You give birth to a unique human being, the fact that you have a talent or great interest in something does not mean that they will be the same.
Support the child you have not the one you want. The more you push the more likely they will be to dig their heels in. There is no point whatsoever in music lessons if they don't want them.

froken Sun 01-Sep-13 15:35:06

I think maybe you have made her feel like it is the same as reading, you said she was reluctant to write her name for a while but your dp has started teaching her notes, I thought the idea of suzuki learning was that you lerant the instrument in the same way that you learn to talk so you don't start by going over the notes you start by listening over and over and over again to a cd of the book one music.

My little sister started suzuki piano at the age of 3 and she is a fantastic piano player now at the age of 9. I learnt in a more traditional way from 6 and I would say my sister plays more beutifully than me although I can play harder things.

SilverApples Sun 01-Sep-13 15:37:08

I wanted a Shakespearean scholar and a poet.
I got a TechnoNerd.
Such is life! grin

AllThatGlistens Sun 01-Sep-13 15:42:07

You having your own interests is great, I'm glad you have a passion for your music, it's a lovely thing.

Please, please let your little girl develop her own interests, don't project your passions onto her. If she isn't interested it will only lead to resentment.

She's an individual, treat her as such smile

pianodoodle Sun 01-Sep-13 15:47:12

I think it's a bit much to say it's projecting and being pushy etc...

No pushing has happened.

There's a reason why some families all seem to be musical though if you've grown up with musical parents and instruments in the house it's common enough for the children to take it up.

Nothing wrong with encouraging a love of music without forcing anything smile

AllThatGlistens Sun 01-Sep-13 15:51:24

Really? She's admitted feeling disappointed in her 4 year old because she doesn't want piano lessons.

At 4 years old? hmm

UptoapointLordCopper Sun 01-Sep-13 16:16:26

It's fine to feel disappointed as long as you don't convey that! How can you help your feeling?

I started lessons around 4yo. I still play 40 years later. One of the best things ever, playing the piano. grin << May be biased. >>

baddriver Sun 01-Sep-13 16:32:43

I don't think 4 is too young but then I started violin at 4.

Both my dc were raring to go at 4, the first literally begged for piano lessons and the second for guitar.

I looked into the Suzuki mthod but wasn't sure it was for us.

In the end I enrolled them in a general music class where they sang, danced, learned keyboard and theory. The first one moved on to piano at 6 and the other (5) is doing ukulele.

I can understand why you want to share your passion for music. There are many parents who would persist - and succeed. But generally this is not the way in our culture.

Can you keep encouraging her interests - musical and other - and see where it takes her?

HoldMeCloserTonyDanza Sun 01-Sep-13 16:32:46

I don't think you sound pushy OP but I was pushy/helicopter parented myself and am in fact very grateful for the amazing opportunities my parents gave me and my siblings as a result grin.

AllThatGlistens Sun 01-Sep-13 16:33:26

But that's the point, it's the OP's passion, not her DD's!

I love music, I think it's a wonderful wonderful passion to have, but you just can't make a little one love the same things that you do, and have such expectations, it's unrealistic and unfair.

If she develops a love for music then fantastic, if she doesn't and wants to play builder or train driver all day, then that's fantastic too grin

She's her own person, not an extension of her parents and will want to develop her own interests, be that music or anything else.

HoldMeCloserTonyDanza Sun 01-Sep-13 16:36:20

I think the thing about Suzuki (and you are supposed to start Suzuki between the ages of 3-5 and you can start at 6, so you have plenty of time OP) is that while you can do it and be normal and not-pushy, if you are a Tiger Mother it will bring out the absolute worst in you.

So that's just something to be aware of.

It's also very very Marmite in that lots of families cannot or would not enjoy the level of parental involvement required. Which is fine, it's really really not for everyone.

PiratePanda Sun 01-Sep-13 16:45:37

Erstwhile professional musician here, and one who started with Suzuki and switched to mainstream:

4 is too young. It doesn't mean she's not musical, or won't enjoy playing later, but children just don't have the motor skills at 4 for piano or violin. They learn much faster a little older.

How about a children's choir or fun group music classes - or even better investigate the children's music appreciation classes Colour Strings do (based on Kodaly method).

dandydorset Sun 01-Sep-13 16:49:40

amazed at the amount of dc's that have music lessons etc

this is when i feel "the poor relation" on MN

round here its all football and karate lessons grin

intresting thread may i add

WowOoo Sun 01-Sep-13 16:49:45


With you two as parents, I think she'll show a keen interest in attempting to play an instrument sooner or later.

Keep playing and get her to sing along or clap or whatever.

Parmarella Sun 01-Sep-13 17:26:24

Dandy my kids do karate AND violin... What will become of them... grin

evalluna Sun 01-Sep-13 18:03:50

I don't feel disappointed in her, more in myself that I may have done something wrong and put her off or not encouraged her enough/ played to her myself enough.

Fair enough to say don't force my interests on her but surely every parent does to some degree by osmosis if nothing else - the reason you get whole families into football! For what it is worth she has been to swimming/ socatots (didn't like! ) ballet, tap and a little music group as well as lots of museums/ theatre things so a wide range of options have been offered.

If I was certain she really didn't want ti fine, but she has tended to approach most things witb a not wanting to attitude including the tap bit of the dance class when I first took her. She sat it out for a few weeks then joined in and now likes it. So I agree witj the poster who said sometimes you have to encourage them a bit at first and gave example of tennis lessons
It is easier where the activities are group things I think as they can see their peers joining in. So in that sense she probably doesn't really understand what she is being asked or what it will involve so has naturally decided she's not keen

I like the idea of the children's music groups do will look into. Not in London though so maybe none near us. The one we did go to is a bit young for her now but she did enjoy it (on a related note my younger child did not so we did not make him go - but loves to play daddy's guitar! ) also will look into these concerts near manchester as we are nearish there.

PaperSeagull Sun 01-Sep-13 18:18:19

I can understand feeling a bit disappointed, especially as this is an interest that you were looking forward to sharing with your child. But she clearly isn't ready yet, so I think it's fine to leave the lessons for a year or two.

I have some friends who are professional musicians. Their older son was fascinated with music and musical instruments from the time he could crawl. He showed such a clear passion for music from an early age that it would have been impossible to keep him from learning to play. He didn't have formal lessons until about age 6, but he learned to play numerous instruments by ear much earlier. Over the years, he has often accompanied his parents in their concerts. Now, as a teenager, he is quite an accomplished musician and he still loves to play.

OTOH, their younger son didn't display that same passionate drive and interest. The musical environment in the house hadn't changed at all, but this boy simply wasn't as interested as his elder brother, and the parents didn't push it. Last year, when the younger boy was 6, he asked to learn a particular instrument and the parents happily obliged (no formal lessons yet, his parents taught him and will continue to do so for a while before offering him the option of formal lessons). He will probably never have the passion for music that the rest of the family has, but he enjoys playing for now and I think his parents handled the situation just exactly right.

ReallyTired Sun 01-Sep-13 19:39:32

The Hertfordshire music service has saturday morning classes for nursery/ reception children. They do lots of singing and play percussion instruments.

I have found a link and it looks like there is something similar in Manchester.

My four year old is desperate to play the piano. She has a toy keyboard from the early learing centre that was never intended for industrial use. She can play twinkle twinkle little star and row row your boat. Even so I feel she is too young and lessons too soon would put her off.

exoticfruits Mon 02-Sep-13 07:16:54

I think that you just need to be more relaxed. Let her see you playing music and that you enjoy it. Children are very astute at picking up what you don't say and seeing hidden agendas, even though it is all done unconsciously. It isn't just a question of lessons, you will be expecting progress and her to do well and quite probably she isn't ready for it. It can be much easier for some children to take up something the parent knows nothing about.

coco27 Mon 02-Sep-13 08:57:42

my dd started violin at 4 (not Suzuki just school music service)she was too young really and I feared for the safety of the rented violin!
I can understand palying vilin at 3 or 4 because there are scaled down violins.BUt surely an average sized 4 yr olds hands are too small for a keyboard.
I think starting her at 7 she would very soon catch up to the 4 yr old starters

mrsjay Mon 02-Sep-13 09:12:41

I think in the nicest possible way you need to get over it she is 4 years old dont be so dramatic about it if she is interested she will play if not then wait until she is older she isn't going to be some child prodigy who is going to master the piano by the time she is 5 let her tinker away at it and then see,

evalluna Mon 02-Sep-13 10:27:09

Thanks for the replies everyone. She seems quite happy just to sit with us and tinker away so will leave it at that for the moment - I probably need to play a bit more myself (difficult as she won't let me, if she is around she wants to play). Also it is a goid point that she needs to settle into school as well which will all be new.

I don't want to be pushy I just want her to have opportunities - if she develops a completely different interest later I would obviously encourage that (as long as it's not drugs!) However I think at this age children are inevitably exposed to things their parents happen tobe interested in or have some knowledge of.

MCos Mon 02-Sep-13 10:27:48

My DDs started Suzuki violin late - 6 & 8. DD1 begged for 2 years before I made it happen. I am sorry I waited so long, she loves it.

Our teacher recommends we listen to as much music as possible. Just keeping music on in background at home, in the car, etc. And listen to a variety of music. It helps develop an ear.
So that is something to consider. And since she enjoys ballet, perhaps she would enjoy dancing around to a variety of music.

SilverApples Mon 02-Sep-13 10:30:41

' However I think at this age children are inevitably exposed to things their parents happen to be interested in or have some knowledge of.'

Yes, and it's lovely when they start participating and sharing, exploring and in some cases going beyond what the parents know. I'm all for it.
That is not the title of your thread, or the tenor of your OP, and I'm delighted that your thinking has moved on. smile

mrsjay Mon 02-Sep-13 12:57:52

you really need to remember she is only 4 I agree about the whole exposing children to different experiences is amazing but they dont have to be busy all the time, saying that I wasn't exposed to anything as a child really so I did try and get my dds to experience a lot of things too see where their interests would go, but as I keep harping on about forcing children onto music when they have no interest or flare for it seems pointless as they look uncomfortable if you see them perform at school or concerts, etc, OP just relax about it she is 4 smile

morethanpotatoprints Mon 02-Sep-13 13:07:14

I would wait until she is a bit older and showed an interest. I have seen a few children who played music to please mum and dad, I think it is a thin line between encouraging because they want to and encouraging because you want them to.
Our dd is very musical and has shown an interest since she was 2. Our older dc enjoy listening to music but have never wanted to play anything despite trying several instruments and being encouraged.

mrsjay Mon 02-Sep-13 13:09:54

I honestly think they need to have a flair for music iyswim

morethanpotatoprints Mon 02-Sep-13 13:39:01


I think having a flair is necessary but also the desire needs to be there.
My ds2 has a lovely voice he is 18 now, but as a child his teachers, the vicar and many more commented on how good he was, asked him to join choirs etc. He was adamant that no way was he going to sing. Whereas dd with the same talent has passed the audition to join a really prestigious choir and starts next week.
They are all different and no amount of pushing, cajoling, bribery or anything else will make them want to do it if their heart isn't in it.
They may do it to please mum and dad, but to me that isn't what playing music is about. I believe it is a desire that comes from within.

mrsjay Mon 02-Sep-13 14:13:05

I agree with you morethan they need to have a passion and even at a young age if it is not there you can't force them, to enjoy it or even be good at an instrument, dd plays guitar she would have rather poked her eyes out than play at school and she was asked loads she did her last year at school but that was it,

good luck to your daughter in her choir smile

BsshBossh Mon 02-Sep-13 14:25:46

evalluna buy her a small keyboard piano and let her play it at leisure, let her see you playing piano, buy a piano app on iPad or tablet or touch PC (if you allow her access to screens), investigate Colourstrings music lessons for under 5s...

My 5 yo DD loves playing the piano but at the moment it is just play. There is a music school near us and they told us to come back when DD was 6 or 7.

Tabliope Mon 02-Sep-13 14:44:27

Sorry to have to say this but what you see as encouragement I think your DD is taking as controlling and pushy. I think she refused to write her name despite your encouragement to exert some control over her life and some autonomy. I think you're running the risk of suffocating her. She's a tiny 4 year old. I wouldn't even be mentioning clubs/activities to her at that age unless she brought them up, yet you list everything she's been offered. I'd not mention any club/activity to her for the next 3 years and see what she wants to do. I think you're more likely to have success that way. I don't mean to be horrible but it's like you don't see what you're doing to her. And it's obvious you love her but to my mind you're not allowing her to develop herself. Musicposy had a good post.

chocoluvva Mon 02-Sep-13 14:55:52

You could sneakily do pre-piano 'lessons' with her, Very short ones though.

eg, play each white key in turn naming the notes as you do exaggerating the repetition in a hilarious manner. Go up and down the keyboard. Comment on how short the music-notes alphabet is. Dance around while she's 'playing'. Play all the Cs in turn starting with middle C and attempting to sing each one as you do.

When you're walking with her adjust the length of your stride to the size of the interval you're singing.

Tap your right thumb against her left thumb, second finger against her second finger etc saying 1,2,3,4,5 in a character/comedy voice while you do it.

Enquire about the floppiness of her wrists - are they as floppy as yours? - as you shake your hands loosely from the wrists.

Play a simple melody on the piano 'with' her - she will contribute one repeated note at the right place - played with her third finger.

evalluna Mon 02-Sep-13 15:33:14

Tabliope - the activities she has been offered I listed have occurred over her whole life so would not say she has ever done too much! We live in a smallish community and most mums I know have done all the same activities with their kids at some point so would hardly say it was over the top. Things she has tried and not liked I have not taken her back to. As for encouraging things like writing name, surely most parents do this with pre school children (from evidence that most seem to have made some attempts to write their own name in birthday cards etc). Perhaps you are advocating a neglectful approach where we don't teach our kids anything at all - it's not like I have her learnibg french or something. She now happily writes her name and anything else she asks me to spell for her but us not too keen on reading so I haven't tried to push it as a sure she will learn quickly k starting school.

I asked the original question as I was sure many children did start music lessons at this age (apparently not) and also she has tended to be a bit cautious/ reluctant initially about things she goes on to enjoy (like tap dancing) so I wondered how far and in what way to be encouraging. My plan now would b not to offer lessons again but let her mess about if shr wants and listen to lots of music.

My friend was recently giving after school tuition including tennis lessons to three kids, theyoungest in reception on Friday evenings - I would call that pushy!

7 is the ideal age.

According to my piano teacher friend, you can harm the development of their fingers by starting them too young.

Don't teach her an instrument, teach her musicality.

My ds (6), my dd 4(with me), and my dh now sing in 3 part harmony on car journeys, which is a development from when we used to sing in rounds and bang question and answers on the drums.

DS has started to sing his own harmonies to other tunes now. He has had 10 weeks of piano lessons and is flying and we are enrolling him for violin lessons. DD wants to learn the piano because she wants to be able to do what ds can. We encourage ds to play around with the tunes, change the key, change the rhythm etc.

If the children enjoy music then they'll pick up an instrument fast WHEN THE ARE READY, without having to learn about music too.

yoniwherethesundontshine Mon 02-Sep-13 16:00:22

I know two piano teachers and they say unless the child has natural aptitude and picks things up extremely quickly then its a waste of time and money to have them doing it so early. They can learn in one week older what will be a few months slog at 4.

Totally agree with others, she is exposed to music in your home, for god sake leave her alone, and let her be. If she shows natural interest, indulge her and teach her when she is older.

She is not an extension of you and is an individual with her own ideas and wil have her own interests. If that means no music, but perhaps taking apart car engines, then bite your tongue and go with it.

LeoandBoosmum Mon 02-Sep-13 16:06:04

All I can think is 'she's 4!' Let her discover her own interests. She may become interested in playing the piano later, she may not. Just because you and you partner are musical and you have regrets about not having the opportunity to learn as a young child, that does not mean you should do anything more than gently encourage (I think you know that in your heart) while introducing other age-appropriate things that might appeal to her. Come back to it when she is a bit older and let he choose. At four all I wanted to do was watch Playskool, see my little friends and play with my toys.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 02-Sep-13 16:06:07


Thanks v. much. It sounds like its going to be a huge commitment, but it's what she wants. She knows she owes us big time when she's older grin
But seriously, to me that's what its all about, if they are passionate you owe it to them to be supportive and encouraging.

digerd Mon 02-Sep-13 16:07:17

Both our parents were musical and DM's dad. We 3 DC had no aptitude or desire to play a musical instrument.
However, my sis and I were talented dancers < DB turned out to be an academic>.

Tabliope Mon 02-Sep-13 16:16:04

Evalluna, your child has said no, she doesn't want to learn piano (at the moment anyway) yet you've come on here asking advise of what to do (i.e. how to get her interested) and you and your partner feel disappointed and that you've failed to instigate in her a desperate desire to learn it! She's 4! That's why people are saying you're being pushy. Also, you said "for a long time" we tried to get her to write her name. A long time! What, since she was 1 or 2?

No, I don't advocate a neglectful attitude and that we should teach our kids nothing. BTW, my DS (a teenager) could read before school although I didn't bother with writing and plays two instruments to Grade 7 level. He plays a third to about Grade 3/4 and mucks about on 3 others. He's in school and county orchestras and ensembles. He started one instrument at 7 and another at 11. I would say 11 was probably a better age than 7, depending on the interest they have in it and what the instrument is. At 7 he never practiced that instrument at home at all for 4 years and I didn't push it - he wanted to carry on the lessons though. It won't go to your plans or schedules. Back off her, don't mention music lessons to her at all and you might be pleasantly surprised she comes home from school one day and says she wants to learn an instrument. The one she wants, and it might not be the piano.

I also don't necessarily think your friend's kids having tennis lessons after school is pushy. The two older ones might want to do it and the third would be there for the fun. That's what all these things should be.

OP my teacher has a music degree and teaches the subject. He started lessons at the age of 11, yes 11!
He is extremely opposed to pushing children to young with instruments and finding the instrument that actually suits them, not everyone gets along with the piano.
OP you sound a tad obsessed and judgy.

my husband I meant

Tabliope Mon 02-Sep-13 16:22:01

Agree with hobnob. The person teaching my DS his third instrument, which he took up last year and is on about Grade 3/4, started playing that at 14. It's his career and he plays in a national orchestra. 11 is a good age imv and obviously 14 not the end of the world.

Greythorne Mon 02-Sep-13 16:35:37

OP - you say way upthread: "my partner has already started showing her where the different notes are"

This seems to be key to the issue. You have a little girl who is sometimes intertested in music, sometimes not. Instead of "showing her where different notes are" in a formal, didactic way, I would recommend you and your DH just play the piano and sing, make it as fun and relevant as possible. Get her to see that piano is fantastic, rather than get her to see where different notes are.

UptoapointLordCopper Mon 02-Sep-13 16:37:18

FWIW I don't think OP is pushy. She's wanting to get the child interested, not wanting to get the child to do it whether she's interested or not. Nothing wrong with that.

evalluna Mon 02-Sep-13 17:08:44

I think maybe I phrased the name thing wrong - we didn't try for a long time, I just meant there was a period when she was able to do it but often didn't want to. Actually can't remember if it was us or nursery that taught her first. Of course she was not 1 or 2!

MummytoMog Mon 02-Sep-13 17:11:28

I don't know why you're getting such a hard time OP, I'm desperate for my four year old to have lessons as well. She's pretty immature for her age though, and we haven't a hope of getting her into formal lessons until she develops a bit more.

To be frank, DD and DS are having lessons whether they want to or not. I honestly think it's an important skill to be able to read music and play the piano, and while I would prefer it if they loved it like I do, unless they're totally useless, they're learning.

I found a half size piano on Gumtree - it's a proper piano with pedals etc, but is diddy. The kids absolutely love it and often sit next to us and 'play along' when we play. Maybe something to consider? I see them on ebay fairly often.

MummytoMog Mon 02-Sep-13 17:12:26

Half size piano is next to big piano, enabling the playing together!

evalluna Mon 02-Sep-13 17:14:55

Also tabliope you misread my post about the tutoring it was not just tennis lessons it was academic tutoring for a reception kid after school.

I came on here for advice which some posters have been kind enough to give in a non judgemental manner.A lot of which I have taken on board. You do not know how I interact witj my daughter but appear to have made a lot of assumptions about me being pushy, which I do not appreciate. I think you have made your point misinformed as it is. I genuinely did think 4 was a reasonable age to learn piano using a fun, interactive, not too serious method - it has been helpful to read various reasons why starting older can be better.

evalluna Mon 02-Sep-13 17:18:52

Hobnobs I don't see what I have said that is judgy? Unless it was about the reception after school tutoring which was an example of what I would consider pushy.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 02-Sep-13 17:39:06


I hope I didn't sound as if I was giving you a hard time because I think you must really care for your dd to ask others opinions and not just go ahead regardless.

I do know a child, well 2 actually who started very young, I'm sure their mother instigated them playing so young. They are grade 7 and 5 and aged 8 and 5. They are a Chinese family and at first I was guilty of thinking Tiger mom, but the dc are well balanced and happy, but their mum believes they should always be occupied with something even if it is free play. They are lovely kids and seem well rounded to me.

evalluna Mon 02-Sep-13 19:59:55

Thanks - of course I really care for her, she's my daughter! That is, ironically, why I was worried about her missing the opportunity to learn at the best possible age - am feeling reassured now that this is not 4 so will relax about it a bit.
Being grade 5 standard age 5 is really amazing!

morethanpotatoprints Mon 02-Sep-13 20:07:37

The little boy is 5 and his sister just turned 8, she is in my dds other choir. The mum brings the son to the rehearsal and he does homework or a theory book whilst his sister rehearses.
They are both amazing musically, but I have spoken about them on other threads, they are quite robotic as it is difficult to play with much expression at that age. The girl had these springy stands, like pogo sticks to reach the pedals, until recently.
I'm not sure we would have started so young, but it really hasn't obviously affected them, to out siders anyway.
I wish you luck OP, and maybe leaving it a while will save you some expense and running around after your dd. It can be a curse sometimes. smile

Mumoftwoyoungkids Mon 02-Sep-13 22:41:39

Dh and I met playing a sport. He is an ex junior international, I played at district level, BIL is a commonwealth medalist, my db used to be England top 20, FIL is an international coach, my df is on the national council......

We agreed pre kids that our children will only play if they are absolutely desperate to.

They are both far too young ATM (3 and 3 months) although dd has found some of dh's equipment and quite likes playing with it. (Serves him right for not putting it away properly!)

There are so many activities that kids can do. No point in wasting time on one that they don't love when they could be looking for something they do love.

MrRected Mon 02-Sep-13 22:48:19

She needs to be able to read music - or at least that's what our piano teacher prefers. Min age 7.

In the nicest possible way I think you are being pushy on this one. Of course she doesn't want learn to play the piano at her age. Don't be disheartened - just come back to it in 2/3 years time.

exoticfruits Mon 02-Sep-13 22:48:54

I remember a thread in here where posters were extremely bitter about parents who had expectations that they would follow in their footsteps.

Cooroo Mon 02-Sep-13 22:51:48

Can't wade through all these pages! No it's ok that you were disappointed. But you'll have to accept it for now and let her have other opportunities to get intro music. My DD rejected early violin lessons, went to banging and shaking type group, then sang in children's choir, then started violin against 9 or 10. Never took to piano. But she's nearly 17 now and still has lessons. Not especially talented but loves playing. We do orchestra together which is really special.

Just let her be exposed to music. If she has any inclination she'll find her own way. I agree it's a wonderful thing to learn and stands you in good stead for a lifetime. Good luck!

thebody Mon 02-Sep-13 22:55:36

you know what op the most amazing thing me and dh found about our 4 kids was how bloody unlike we are in so many ways and how individual each one was.

we are a house of 6 very different and very individual people.

your little dd might fucking hate the piano but love rugby.

life's like that, unexpected.

let her introduce you to her world. not her to yours. 😀

evalluna Tue 03-Sep-13 06:49:30

That is an interesting way of putting it, the body - maybe I will do that!"

Just as a point, the suzuki method does not place emphasis on reading music which is why we liked that idea.

I think I have maybe got a bit carried away with the idea she will be musical partly because she has a strikingly tuneful singing voice and has done since 18 months - but maybe I have confused (what I see as) aptitude with desire to learn.

Hissy Tue 03-Sep-13 07:23:07

Look up the Kodaly method.

My son's been going to classes. In a music school near here (Hampshire/Surrey) since he was 3, not pushy, seems slow actually, but every open session I go to i'm stunned at their progress!

If you're near me, PM and i'll give you the details.

Feel for you OP.

I took all three of my dc's for piano lessons. They were 5, 7 and 11. The teacher gave the 5 year old the flick after 5 months because he couldn't focus and kept trying to do things like play the piano with his stomach grin. dd(11) packed it in after a few months too - wouldn't practice and kept moaning. Only ds1 (now 10) is still going and is doing well. They are all musical but dd and ds2 don't have the other qualities needed to do well at a hard instrument like the piano.

DS2 is doing percussion now and is GREAT. He works hard, practices without nagging, and enjoys it. Dd sadly isn't doing any music - I'm gutted. She has a beautiful singing voice and is incredibly musical. She just won't commit herself to anything that requires consistent effort. :-(. Oh well, you can't win them all.....

Lazyjaney Tue 03-Sep-13 07:50:45


evalluna Tue 03-Sep-13 08:21:25

Hissy, a few others have mentioned thr kodaly method. It looks good but we are not near you unfortunately. Don't think there is anything similar near us!

(To all the posters who have typed 4 in an aghast manner, in mitigation she is nearly 5 and in a lot of ways eg vocabulary/ conversational level quite bright - perhaps I have been guilty of allowing this ro distract me from the fact she us still v young).

SilverApples Tue 03-Sep-13 08:27:22

'because he couldn't focus and kept trying to do things like play the piano with his stomach'

grin That line will make me smile all day!

chocoluvva Tue 03-Sep-13 08:38:41

Formal, weekly 30 min lessons for 5YOs - not usually advisable IME.

3 or 4 10-15 min sessions every week would give her the opportunity to get off to a flying start with more traditional lessons when she's 6. You would have to do this yourself or sit in on a short lesson with a teacher who is happy to have a very young pupil and give supplementary sessions yourself.

It's not her age that's the problem - provided she is not subjected to the same type of lessons that older children get, whether Suzuki method or not - she could have lots of fun while she makes slow progress and gets a good foundation for later.

friday16 Tue 03-Sep-13 09:24:26

My daughter's gone through the system at the usual rate (starting playing at around 8, Grade VIII in a couple of instruments by about 16). She plays in a couple of decent standard youth orchestras. Her observation of people who starter younger and therefore end up in those orchestras younger is that they miss out: they're not ready for the experience and don't get much from it other than playing the notes on the page. There are safeguarding issues which mean that they often can't take full part in trips and tours, they're not emotionally mature enough for some of the music and, of course, the 16,17,18 majority in the ensemble have no interest in making room for twelve year olds.

So at a rehearsal last night where most of the players were doing their A Levels, there were a cluster of teeny-tiny Chinese violinists, with their protective mothers hovering, getting virtually nothing out of the experience.

You can push kids from a younger age, but what's the benefit?

Bakingtins Tue 03-Sep-13 10:10:10

Can you find a less pressured music class she does enjoy at the moment if you think she is musical? My DS who is nearly 7 has been going to "Crotchet Factory" group classes since he started school. One hour a week with about 10 kids in the class, they start with "karate recorder" percussion and singing, then progress to ukelele and keyboard. The classes have three stages for 4-8 yr olds then they are encouraged to start learning an instrument individually. He is probably learning much less than if he had individual lessons and we enforced daily practice, but he's having fun and learning a little about reading music and the basics of playing several different instruments. I think at 8 he'll have the maturity to choose an instrument and practise which will justify the cost of individual lessons, or to decide he wants to try something else.

chocoluvva Tue 03-Sep-13 10:11:52

I agree friday16 - although piano isn't usually an orchestral instrument so not an issue in this case.

UptoapointLordCopper Tue 03-Sep-13 10:13:50

How do you know the teeny-tiny Chinese violinists with their hovering protective mothers get nothing out of the experience? hmm

MummytoMog Tue 03-Sep-13 10:20:12

I played in an orchestra from the age of seven. I got a lot out of the experience thankyouverymuch.

UptoapointLordCopper Tue 03-Sep-13 10:24:35

What is a parent to do if his/her child is young and talented?? Dump them at the ochestra and leave so as not to appear protective? Stop them from progressing too fast so as not to appear pushy? What is a person to do if he/she was Chinese? Don't do anything so as not to conform to stereotype? Come. Be reasonable.

friday16 Tue 03-Sep-13 10:26:29

"I played in an orchestra from the age of seven."

An orchestra of seventeen year olds? My kids have played in orchestras since they were in primary school, but usually amongst people of their own age, plus or minus.

"How do you know the teeny-tiny Chinese violinists with their hovering protective mothers get nothing out of the experience?"

You don't have to spend a lot of time waiting outside rehearsal rooms to have seen more than your fair share of weeping small children. They also rarely last more than a term.

chocoluvva Tue 03-Sep-13 10:29:54

My DD played in a primary schools orchestra when she was 9 - pushed by her teacher, not by me. It was a very long, tearful week for her.
Again when she was 10.
When she was 11 and would have been at the first desk and would probably have had a whale of a time she'd had enough and refused to go.

No such issues with piano though.

My ds is 6 and will be starting an orchestra in September. He's very talented and was accepted after a few months of lessons.

friday16 Tue 03-Sep-13 10:33:38

"What is a parent to do if his/her child is young and talented??"

Usually they aren't. You can push many children through to a reasonable youth orchestra standard (say Grade VI-ish) with no talent, provided you're prepared to force them to practice a lot and pay for lessons. Both of my kids are at a higher standard than that, and I wouldn't for a second say they were "talented", and they just have twenty minutes a week at school. Getting Grade VIII in an instrument proves you're a talented musician in the way that passing A Level Maths proves you're a talented mathematician: regular work, a basic facility and some parental encouragement.

Given that, in this city, young children in orchestras are almost exclusively Chinese violinists (not Greek violinists, not Chinese flautists) either there's some special genetic thing which links G-D-A-E to China or, more plausibly, it's become a particular cultural thing of the moment. And, by the way, in the higher standard amateur orchestras where you're not taken taken by your parents, they are notable by their almost complete absence.

evalluna Tue 03-Sep-13 10:33:51

Actually, that is a good point Friday - in my youth orchestra full of 15 to 18 year olds there was one (very talented) 11 year old, but I remember feeling sorry for her as she didn't fit in and was (other than musically) very immature for her age (probably due to spending 4 hours a day practising the violin). I think she is a professional musician now though and doing well, but I take your point - orchestras formed the main basis of my social life as a teenager but I would have got much less out of it if I wasn't with my contemporaries.

Am really liking the idea of a music class beyond what we have done already, which was basically a toddler singing group with some instrument shaking (and fighting over). We are in Yorkshire - if anyone knows of any I would love to hear about them.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 03-Sep-13 10:34:45


I think that's a common feature of young violinists grin
My dd got a distinction in July for her last exam, had played in county ensembles, concerts etc, and hasn't touched it since exam. She is adamant she doesn't want to continue and concentrate on other instruments. She may come back to it one day, but its her decision not mine.

friday16 Tue 03-Sep-13 10:39:23

"My ds is 6 and will be starting an orchestra in September. "

Let me try to spell this out more clearly.

Your son, who has been playing for a few months, is presumably not signing up for the local youth symphony orchestra, entry standard Grade VII-ish, which knocks through the bigger works of the Romantic repertoire plus the occasional concerto featuring either the local hot-shot of a YMotY finalist, based on three hours of rehearsal every Saturday morning. Most of the people playing in that will be doing their A Levels, with a smattering of GCSE students. There will also be, in my (fairly extensive) experience of these ensembles, a small handful of much younger children, whose parents have to stay for safeguarding reasons, who have managed to convince a peri that they could play on the back desk. No-one talks to them, the parents are on constant edge as the teenagers talk about parties and sex, the kids get upset when the conductor yells in the manner you can when you're dealing with seventeen year olds and even if the kids are getting anything out of the experience musically (I don't think they are, but hey, Lord Copper might be right) they certainly aren't getting the social benefits. By the time they are old enough, they are bored, jaded and want to do something else.

Age-appropriate orchestras are great. My kids have played in a dozen or more of them, over the years. Everyone's roughly the same age, the conductor is chosen to be good with kids, there's appropriate peri support, the rehearsals are supportive and low pressure and, of course, only a couple of hours at a time. It's great.

It's the kids that were started young, pushed, and end up in the senior orchestras young who I worry about.

chocoluvva Tue 03-Sep-13 10:44:43

I couldn't agree more.

DD has loved her time with regional orchestras as a teenager. Educational in so many ways grin

I wanted to get my ds lessons at 3, but no-one would teach him.

He was clearly very capable then and was writing his own left hand on the keyboard to the tunes he had picked out on the right.

I wouldn't say he was EXCEPTIONALLY talented, but he IS talented and I think it is a shame that he had to wait 3 years to begin a hobby that would have been very beneficial to him at that time.

Where does a person GET music lessons for a young, talented, and eager student?

chocoluvva Tue 03-Sep-13 10:51:14

From their parents perhaps or an early years teacher who happens to play the piano. At this age the musical content is a much smaller part of the 'lesson' than 'entertaining/encouraging/developing pre-instrumental skills. And progress will seem slow while the child's development of skills gathers momentum.

ReallyTired Tue 03-Sep-13 10:52:12

Some children are musically gifted and want to learn music at three years old. I think with orchestras its a matter of finding one that is suitable.

Our country has a string group suitable for chidlren from the age of six and will take children sooner on teacher recommnedation. However this group is only suitable for beginners. The national Chiildren's Orchestra has a training orchestra for gifted children.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 03-Sep-13 11:15:53

I really don't agree with age appropriate orchestras and ensembles in some respects. Our music service has the beginners, intermediate and Youth groups. The beginners are fine and any age plays in this, the same with intermediate. However, the youth groups are from grade 5 and above but only from high school.
So a child who is talented and reached grade 5 before 11+ has nowhere to go and in addition somebody older who only has grade 3 would have the first chair as they are older, the younger grade 5 would be playing first parts but sat 6 rows back.
I think it should be a case of ability not age.

ReallyTired Tue 03-Sep-13 11:25:06

"So a child who is talented and reached grade 5 before 11+ has nowhere to go and in addition somebody older who only has grade 3 would have the first chair as they are older, the younger grade 5 would be playing first parts but sat 6 rows back.
I think it should be a case of ability not age."

What difference does it make which chair a child sits on if they are all playing the same part? I accept that a younger child may need to sit at the front so that they can the conductor.

An orchestra should be fun not competive. Sometiemes playing second violin is more challenging than first violin as you don't have the melody and can't get away with playing by ear. All the chidlren in my son's guitar emsemble have a turn at playing the harmony parts as well as the melody.

The older child may be just as talented, but started a lot later. My son started guitar in year 4 and got to grade 2 in 18 months.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 03-Sep-13 11:56:16


I meant that a teenager who has grade 3 will have the leader chair, whilst a 9 year old with grade 5 will never have the leaders chair as every time somebody older passes grade 3 they become leader.
This doesn't seem right to me. I know its not a competition but if you know you'll never progress to leader or even first seat, what is the point? I'm sure all authorities aren't like this and understand they can only manage the dc they have in a manner that suits the majority, but this won't always suit all.
There aren't so many classical players here, considering the size of the area covered. There are more brass/wind/jazz/rock bands, compared to classical ensembles.

ReallyTired Tue 03-Sep-13 12:32:11

"I meant that a teenager who has grade 3 will have the leader chair, whilst a 9 year old with grade 5 will never have the leaders chair as every time somebody older passes grade 3 they become leader.
This doesn't seem right to me. I know its not a competition but if you know you'll never progress to leader or even first seat, what is the point? "

Being an in an orchestra isn't about being leader or even sitting in the first seat. The point of being in an orchestra is learning to make music as part of a team of other musicans.

Surely a nine year old who stays in an orchestra will one day be the oldest and get their chance to be "leader" if that is important to you.

Being in an orchestra is as much a social activity as a musical activity. A more serious issue for a gifted nine year old is being bored by lack of musical challenge or being in an orchestra where they are lonely because everyone else is a teen.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 03-Sep-13 15:02:18

I dunno ReallyTired

Of course I see your point about the social side and the playing music as part of a team, but I also see that many children like to see themselves progressing through the seats. This system means that the 9 year old will never be the oldest because there will always be a teen at a lower grade in the orchestra who comes first. The 9 year old will age to 11 and go into youth orchestra and be at the back again because of their age not standard.
Just seems wrong way of doing it to me.

ReallyTired Tue 03-Sep-13 15:16:40

"The 9 year old will age to 11 and go into youth orchestra and be at the back again because of their age not standard.
Just seems wrong way of doing it to me."

The nine year old has made progress if they are allowed into the youth orchestra. I don't understand why you have your knickers in a twist about where children sit.

In our area the nine year old has the choice or either remaining in the training orchestra or progressing to the youth orchestra. When I was that age was pretty oblvious to where I was seated. Provided I was sitting near friends I was happy. I imagine that sitting next to friends is most the important thing to a musically gifted nine year old.

friday16 Tue 03-Sep-13 16:42:43

"but I also see that many children like to see themselves progressing through the seats"

Every orchestra my children have played in, and I mean every orchestra, swaps the desks around on a regular basis. Each section is led by a different person for each piece in a concert, and often the desk swapping takes place between pieces as well (sometimes just between halves). I don't recognise the idea of a youth orchestra where people "progress through the seats", and it sounds very rigid.

"I meant that a teenager who has grade 3 will have the leader chair"

But I thought you said it was a grade V+ orchestra? Worrying about who's leading seems a bit futile if there are people paying at Grade III standard.

exoticfruits Tue 03-Sep-13 17:20:00

I can't see the problem. If a musical child wants to learn an instrument it will be difficult to stop them. If they don't want to learn it is all rather pointless.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 03-Sep-13 22:54:44


The youth orchestra is grade 5+ and open to 11+ only, the beginners and intermediate are below grade 5 and open to anybody between 7 and 18.
So this is the reason I don't like condition of age rather than ability. I was disagreeing with other posters who thought they were the ideal. It's just my opinion after hearing the local children talking at various times, my own dd included.

baddriver Wed 04-Sep-13 10:45:16

I don't think you sound pushy at all and am agog at some of the harsh posts here.

I guess I must qualify as a tiger mum as not only did my dc start music lessons at 4, but also swimming (3), French (3), ice skating(4), ballet (4) art (can't remember), baby gym then gymnastics... Oh it goes on.

It won't mitigate to say they pleaded for these things, will it...

evalluna Wed 04-Sep-13 12:22:21

Hey, think my threads been a bit hijacked but have been enjoying reading about 9 year old desk rivalries (and being glad I didn't play the violin!)

I have found all the advice really helpful in allowing me to relax and just enjoy my daughter beimg four. Also, I have considered for the first time really that she might just have different interests to me and it may not be because of anything I have done right or wrong. All good points.

That said the last couple of evenings she has wanted to sit and play (a lot of nonsense on) the piano (uninstigated by me I hasten to had) so maybe her interest had been piqued! Shall wait and see..

evalluna Wed 04-Sep-13 12:23:18

Sorry for typos, on my phone!

quoteunquote Wed 04-Sep-13 12:27:21

OP you have a message.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 04-Sep-13 13:42:49


Sorry for the hijack, but honestly no rivalry the dc get on fine, the competition is with themselves, not others.
As you were and apologies for my part in the hijack.

evalluna Wed 04-Sep-13 14:56:45

It's ok, was joking about hijack - think original topic had probably run its course!

allyfe Sat 12-Oct-13 19:51:36

Evalluna, Ive come to this a little late, but I did just want to throw something in. I want to say something to you, and something to the people on the thread who have said WTF (I paraphrase), she is only 4. My 4 year old is currently doing a Suzuki musicianship class, with a view to starting piano lessons in January (she will be nearly 5). We are not musical, and we are going to have to do music education classes ourselves (with the Suzuki piano teacher). I had talked to my daughter about it, and she was keen before we started this process of observation and group lessons, but I am not sure if she really knew what it meant because we aren't musical. However, our teacher won't let my dd start doing piano lessons herself until she has done a term of musicianship classes (she will continue doing this until she is in yr 2), and has observed for a terms worth of piano lessons. So each Saturday I take my two children and we sit in on someone else's piano lessons. My children (4 & 2) do drawing and puzzles and try to be quiet (not always successfully). Having watched the lessons, it has surprised me that it is less 'fun' than I expected. It is properly learning the piano (but by ear rather than by reading the music). I was worried that perhaps my daughter wasn't going to really want to do it. But this morning, she got upset on the way to observation. I had told her she would start after half term previously, but had found out it will be January now. She was gutted because she wants to start now. I have told her she will have to practice everyday, but I have also said that it is something we will do together. She is desperate to start, but she has accepted it won't be until Mummy has done the course she needs to do first (!). So, what I'm trying to say (sorry - very long winded), is that you might talk to the teacher about observing some lessons. If your dd shows no interest at all in taking lessons herself, then as you have decided yourself, then leave it for a while. She will still learn musical skills from her dance. Now, just to refer to the 'why do it at 4 years old' and the suggestion that an older child will learn faster. It is certainly true that an older child will learn faster. There is a relationship between pitch processing for speech and music, and so an older child, through learning about reading, has learnt a great deal of useful information about sound and speech which is invaluable for learning about music. However, the relationship works both ways. Learning about pitch, rhythm and tempo in music are hugely beneficial to learning about language and reading. Children who do music very early are MUCH more likely to develop perfect pitch. For most children, learning to read first and then applying those skills is the way most people learn an instrument. However, for dyslexic children, playing an instrument can have a massive remedial benefit. We have a family history of dyslexia, and my daughter has some of the risk factors. So, I'm encouraging my daughter to learn piano. We are going to do the Suzuki method because I very much want something which strongly involves me, as her parent. I think that this is the best way to help it be a positive and fun experience for her. I also wanted something that requires/expects everyday practice. So, my DD is going to start young. She may not prove to be dyslexic. The cognitive benefits of early music are huge. But more than anything I want her to enjoy it. For that, I have really appreciated reading all of the comments from people about how they didn't enjoy music. I am going to be very careful to try my hardest to help her enjoy this. And Evalluna, I'll be interested to hear how you and your DD progress.

rtbd Fri 25-Oct-13 06:49:39

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

SatinSandals Fri 25-Oct-13 07:28:11

Children pick up a lot that is not said and I would imagine that subconsciously she realises that you have lots of expectations for her to live up to. I would relax and enjoy the music yourself and either she will want to take part or she won't. She will most probably want to play an instrument, but if she doesn't there is absolutely no point in pushing her. It has to come from her.

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