My lazy but talented 11 year old wants to give up

(22 Posts)
ObjectionOverruled Wed 25-Jun-14 11:00:27

Likes his music lessons but can't be bothered with the daily practice. He's getting into the more advanced grades and he has to work if he wants to progress. He didn't have an alternative of what he would like to do instead. I'm not willing for him to throw away his talent in exchange for Nintendo, cartoon network and minecraft.

What do I do?

MostlyCake Wed 25-Jun-14 11:31:51

Tough one. I packed in music as a child when i was getting on really well as i was to embarrassed to carry the instrument case on the school bus and now I regret it...

I wish my parents had encouraged me to carry on. Could you negotiate time practicing for time on the computer for the next x months or until he reaches the next grade and revisit whether he actually hates playin or is juat being a bit lazy?

Theas18 Wed 25-Jun-14 12:12:36

how much music does he do apart from lessons? What grade is he actually? Is it really his destiny?

My kids actually continue/continued lessons with little actual practice but they did a heck of a lot of other musical things too. Bands/orchestras etc all improve skills. They made steady progress. They could have shot through grades faster if they'd have worked but not sure what that would have gained them?

If you can afford it I'd let him coast for a bit ( but limit screen time as you would, I'm sure anyway at 11)

RaspberryLemonPavlova Wed 25-Jun-14 13:11:31

Everything Theas said.

I can't emphasise enough the value of playing in band/orchestra.

Hakluyt Wed 25-Jun-14 13:15:33

How much are you expecting him to practice? Is he finding it hard fitting it in now he's at Secondary school?

My dd hardly ever practiced at all in year 7- she went to her lesson and she and her teacher played together and that kept her hand in til she had head space for more.

BrianButterfield Wed 25-Jun-14 13:18:49

What instrument is it? Could he swap to a 'cooler' instrument like guitar or drums and keep his hand in that way, so to speak? Does he have friends who might like to start a band with him, to make practice a fun hobby instead of a slog? If he plays for fun for a while then he's hopefully not closing doors for himself later on but I think it's normal for a boy of that age to push against things like formal music lessons.

Petrasmumma Wed 25-Jun-14 13:20:58

I wouldn't impose daily practice for a start, sorry, and also support value of playing in an orchestra.

Stubbed Wed 25-Jun-14 17:23:44

Let him give up. I played piano for years and I don't think I ever enjoyed it. I wish i'd gone to guides or gymnastics instead, I'd have loved that.

ObjectionOverruled Wed 25-Jun-14 19:18:13

Thanks for all your responses. It was really helpful to hear your different perspectives. He's grade 5 level piano & flute. He does band already with the flute and will be able to join orchestra in the Autumn. He's happy to continue with that.

I have never really "imposed" daily practice but without it, he's now missing distinctions by a point or two and he's lost heart. He wants it to come easy and at this level that's not going to happen. No half-decent teacher will tolerate his current attitude to practice indefinitely.

Stubbed, I would be up for any constructive alternative e.g. scouts/gymnastics like you say but none forthcoming so far.

ObjectionOverruled Wed 25-Jun-14 19:21:19

Actually, he'd love to play drums but where on earth would he practice?!!!! shock

ObjectionOverruled Wed 25-Jun-14 19:24:03

He's coming to the end of primary school so he doesn't have a lot on and he does no other activities outside of school anymore.

RaspberryLemonPavlova Wed 25-Jun-14 20:31:28

Electric drum kit?

My DS1 got to Grade 5 piano last year, and with his teacher's agreement he has a lesson every 2 weeks for fun. He won't do any more exams, but will slowly progress and enjoys it. He is 16, just finished GCSEs and I'm quite happy for him to have an activity with no stress.

He also plays tuba/trombone and continues to do exams in those.

DD gave up cello lessons at Christmas but still plays in an orchestra, she has DS1 alternate piano, practices lots but will never do exams either, she does exams on her sax.

Why not let him settle into Y7 and see what happens?

lentilpot Wed 25-Jun-14 20:56:31

I found orchestra so much more exciting than band, you're playing with older kids and it kinda helps you see why you might want to be good at playing an instrument!

ObjectionOverruled Wed 25-Jun-14 21:53:49

You have all been really helpful. Cheers ladies wine.

JulieMichelleRobinson Wed 25-Jun-14 22:46:24

Progress without practise is slow; exams without practise is doubtful; distinctions are unlikely... but that's not a reason to quit lessons. It just likely won't be a grade a year.

Also, is the music he's playing an issue now he's nearly a teen? There are jazz syllabi for both flute and piano and even if he never does them for exams it's worth having some 'cool' music to play. I'm using the LCM syllabus as an extra with some of my classical students and also teaching jazz fiddle occasionally for kicks. Livens up my day, not too sure about the students' opinion!

Theas18 Thu 26-Jun-14 08:13:42

Is HE wanting to do music long term? I suspect not, as he's not in the category that it's something he " can't live without" ...

Grade 5 flute and piano at 11 is good but not wholly exceptional (amongst my kids peers anyway- grammar school- and these kids were grade 8/diploma by end of school but almost none have gone on to music at uni, I suspect the " career musicians" maybe go elsewhere?)

re exams, I might be a minority , but really there is far too much focus on them. Play to enjoy and, yes improve a skill but don't do " a grade a year" just because that's " traditional" .

IMHO distinctions come when a grade is approached from " above" ie you are taking grade 6 but are playing often a good grade 7 standard.

Please don't stop lessons because of lack of practice especially at the year 6-7 transition. there is so so much changing in his life.

RaspberryLemonPavlova Thu 26-Jun-14 10:10:58

Again, completely agree with Theas.

My older 2 enjoy playing but will certainly not be career musicians, I suspect DD won't play after school but I think DS1 might find himself a brass band. In the meantime they are having a wonderful time playing in groups.

How many people playing sport, even at a high competitive level as a teen, will go on to make a career from it?

ObjectionOverruled Fri 27-Jun-14 06:49:47

I described him as "talented" for reasons unrelated to his exam profile which I realise is fairly average (he plays competitively and has been consistently successful over the years, both instruments). I haven't pushed him through the grades but he has never taken them "from above" either.

No he isn't Mozart I but for me the important thing is not about future careers but about him being disciplined, constructive, focused, knowing himself, playing to his strengths and the experiences it had opened up for him (i.e. skills for life no matter what he wants to do.) That's why I am willing to consider any reasonable alternative he proposes.

ObjectionOverruled Fri 27-Jun-14 09:16:11

He's saying he doesn't want to stop. He's got a place on a Saturday programme to start next term, but I'll knock that on the head to reduce the pressure on us both.

JulieMichelleRobinson Fri 27-Jun-14 10:17:12

I went through phases of not wanting to practise, it's normal.

ObjectionOverruled Fri 27-Jun-14 20:59:01

Thanks. That's a good

ObjectionOverruled Fri 27-Jun-14 21:01:12

(oops)....reminder. And yes Theas, this period is a big transition for him. I'll be patient about it.

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