how many instruments are too many.

(56 Posts)
morethanpotatoprints Tue 23-Apr-13 23:21:52

Ok, so if money, time, school, work, sanity and other restrictions don't apply how many musical instruments would be too many?

My dd wants to play 6, she plays 4 at present. I don't have a reasonable answer as to why she shouldn't but I'm sure there must be one.

Obviously I know about getting good on one etc, but this doesn't seem to be a problem either.
I am not trying to "blow own trumpet" here but she can get to about grade 3 standard in about a month or two.

Can anybody think of a reason why not? Or knows other dc who have been like this, she is 9

Gruntfuttocks Tue 23-Apr-13 23:28:50

What would be the point in playing so many instruments? You can only play one at a time, and ultimately wouldn't she be better off playing one or two to a really high standard, rather than being a 'jack of all trades'? Once you understand how music works, it isn't so hard to pick up another instrument because you already know all that stuff and only have to learn the technicalities of the instrument rather than all the reading and so on. Not unlike learning multiple languages - it gets easier the more you do. I would stick at 4 and make sure she does a decent amount of practice on each of them before adding any more. Which 4 is she playing?

ZZZenagain Tue 23-Apr-13 23:31:09

might depend a bit which 6 instruments. If she wants to compose or conduct, might be to her advantage so long as she gets very advanced in her principal instrument. Where does she want to go with her music?

Gruntfuttocks Tue 23-Apr-13 23:31:57

PS If she is determined to be a multi-instrumentalist, I would insist on piano being one of them - decent keyboard skills are an asset to any musician. Perhaps think about singing as an alternative to buying yet another instrument as well - there are lots of opportunities for music-making in choirs. I would look to broaden her experiences of music - go to concerts, look for holiday courses and so on, join a local band or orchestra, rather than learning more instruments.

flowery Tue 23-Apr-13 23:35:44

Because there are not enough hours in the day to practice sufficiently to get properly good at 6 instruments. Getting to grade 3 quickly is one thing, getting to grade 8 is something else entirely.

flowery Tue 23-Apr-13 23:37:18

Just seen that you are asking on the assumption that time money and other restrictions don't apply, in which case I've got nothing to offer you, but I think those are good enough reasons anyway.

extracrunchy Tue 23-Apr-13 23:42:34

She can't possibly have the time to practise any of them properly! I think even 4 is pushing it. Jack of all trades etc...

Picturesinthefirelight Tue 23-Apr-13 23:44:58

I would say no more than 3 (I have a music degree and dh went to a conservatoire) and that includes singing.

The exception would be flute & piccolo or piano & harpsichord etc. instruments that orchestral players are expected to be able to double in.

ZZZenagain Tue 23-Apr-13 23:54:50

don't think I know anyone having lessons in more than 4. That is violin and viola (same technique), piano and voice (boy 13) violin, piano, harp, voice (girl 10)

Problem I see is at secondary level and with increasing proficiency - more demanding practice pieces and more homework/study time. I f she will have to drop 2-3 in a few years, is it worth embarking on it?

NatashaBee Wed 24-Apr-13 01:48:07

What does she play/ want to play? i agree, 4 is plenty, and it would be sensible for that to include piano and possibly singing. I do have several friends who opted to take up less popular instruments as they knew their principal instrument wouldn't get them into music college - ie several flute players who took up bassoon or oboe, violinists taking up viola, trumpet players taking up lower brass instruments. That is probably worth considering, if her main instrument is a popular one.

RussiansOnTheSpree Wed 24-Apr-13 09:40:58

DD1 takes 4 seriously, but she also plays guitar/uke well enough to perform and she dabbles in sax, but that's just for a laugh really. DD2 who is slightly younger than your DD takes 3 seriously, and will be starting piano in the autumn. She also additionally plays a variety of ukes , but no guitar, she's just too small physically. I think doing 4 seriously is more than enough to be honest. DD1's piano (4th study and very much the poor relation) would be better if she had more time to spend on it.

mistlethrush Wed 24-Apr-13 09:45:11

I did 3 - grade 8 on all, qualified to teach the strings, music degree.

BiL is a professional composer - he went to Chets - played 2, could pick up more or less anything else and be able to sightread through an orchestral symphony given 30mins.

Piano is essential. If she really wants to push the boat out, do one string, one woodwind and one brass on top of that - that would be a good grounding. You need to do 30mins on each every day - more than 4 is not manageable on top of normal school.

ZZZenagain Wed 24-Apr-13 10:45:20

I think she is HE. Is that right, more than? In which case maybe the time is there.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 24-Apr-13 11:09:19

Thank you for all the responses and food for thought.

zzz Yes she is H.E and she does seem to have time. The instruments so far are violin, singing, saxophone and piano. She wants to add clarinet and flute as sax players are expected to double.

I think her life is pretty normal from the social aspect, she plays with friends from her old school, has HE friends.

She also plays in ensembles, sings in choirs, performs in concerts/gigs and competes in competitions.

Flowery I totally agree that those restrictions are good enough reason. I admit she is very fortunate in that much of the cost of lessons and buying instruments has been mostly provided for her. I don't think she particularly wants to do grades on all of them, I used the gr 3 example to show the level she reaches in a short time. I'm sure it will level off around gr5 standard and she may even decide one or two instruments aren't what she wants to continue with.

I find your post interesting if you don't mind me asking how old are your dc and what age did they start playing? I understand if you don't want to answer.

RussiansOnTheSpree Wed 24-Apr-13 11:19:42

DD1 is 14, DD2 is 9. smile

Adding clarinet is a no brainer. Adding flute might be more tricky since the ombuchure (I can't spell) is very different, but yes, most players and teachers do often double/triple. This is why DD1 tits about with the sax and, to be fair, the clarinet a bit. But she can, because DS plays clarinet and sax so we have those instruments lying around (we have one genuine decent spare clarinet, they share the sax). Getting to grade 3 level on the flute might be more tricky than you anticipate - but it depends whether she cracks the tone issue speedily or not, there are also 'puff' issues. DD2 is taking grade 3 flute this term, she only started learning flute last February so she has made very quick progress, but she wasn't able to do the two octave scales till recently because of the puff issue (she could play the pieces last term). She also still can't play bottom C or C# because her hands are too little, and this would be a factor going higher than A'' too, at this point, I think. Grade 3 is where the high note stuff kicks in more. There are, IMO, significant technical differences between flute and the other two, but if you start playing all of them young these are less of an issue. For me, playing clarinet and sax is quite difficult (I was diploma level flute in my youth, my first study was recorders though) but that's because I'm old and haven't got the time or inclination to crack the technique differences.

DarkHorse2013 Wed 24-Apr-13 11:43:51

It's the practise time that will probably be the issue, especially when they want to start playing each instrument in different groups and ensembles and all the concerts that go with each instrument, suddenly there are no evenings, weekends or holidays left!
My DD learns violin/viola and sax/clarinet and has the same teacher for each pair of instruments, but they tend to focus on one at a time while just keeping the other ticking along. We generally find that when working for exams one has to give for a while otherwise there just isn't enough time but so far it has worked well. Getting more difficult to manage as she is now working for the higher grades though. She also learns piano when there's not too much else going on (rare!) but is working at much lower level to the other instruments.
Worth all the effort though, she is doing something she really loves.
(Mind you I have just said to no to her asking to learn the trombone which apparently is unfair!)

morethanpotatoprints Wed 24-Apr-13 19:53:58


I'm impressed with your knowledge grin The woodwind instruments inc sax are what dh teaches so the instruments are already here and the teacher is free so she is so lucky. I know exactly what you mean about embouchure differences and ability to reach keys. It all came about last night and it is starting the sax that has made her want to play the others. This was the instrument that she was able to play gr 3 pieces after a month of playing. Dh says she will be ready for gr4 at winter session of exams. I am shock

Darkhorse I hear you loud and clear, it is already becoming very time consuming as she also dances as well. She does concentrate on one thing at once, especially regarding competitions and exams and puts most effort into what is important at that time.

She loves practice though so will keep up with everything as a rule.
Mostly, she does 2/3 hours a day but will probably increase to 3/4 hours with the other 2 instruments.
This is where my doubt creeps in, as to whether this is suitable for her age and if she is missing out on anything? I was hoping somebody may say have you considered xyz

DarkHorse2013 Wed 24-Apr-13 21:39:07

It sounds like your DD is very keen - I wish mine would do that much practise!(she is 13). All the time she is happy with what she is doing I wouldn't worry. I used to worry that my DD might be missing out on other things, but with some discrete time management on my part we seem to manage a healthy balance and she still manages to do a lot of normal teenage stuff, and more than enough TV chill out time. Add to that she has made some great friends through music and at her age at least some of the attraction is the social side.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 24-Apr-13 21:47:25


She is very keen, but I do worry that she isn't normal sometimes. There is hardly a time when she isn't doing something musical. She even hums/sings in her sleep. It is good if you consider how much time, effort, money you contribute as a parent, of course you want them to practice.
However, I would never want that at the expense of her happiness or long term well being.
You have identified one aspect where dd is lacking atm and thank you I will work on TV / chill out time. She does have this but not enough I feel. Saying that though, she is never unhappy or miserable or even working all the time. I think she prefers to be active, but can see she needs more down time. thanks

ZZZenagain Wed 24-Apr-13 22:17:56

she is probably a musician in the making. What is normal anyway? Most dc learning instruments have no ambition to be a musician or hope of making a living as a musician so if she is different, maybe she is spot on and this is the right thing for her.

I would say if you seriously want to be a musician , you are looking at a minimum of 2 hours a day on your instrument definitely from 9. Competition is so stiff these days, less than that would make it close to impossible I reckon. At the conservatoires, she'll be competing for places against dc from Asia and elsewhere for whom 5-6 hours a day throughout childhood is normal.

If she can managed 3-4 hours a day, maybe in two blocks so she is a bit fresh, why not?

Mind you if she put all that effort into 1-2 instruments, she'd go far, wouldn't she?

morethanpotatoprints Wed 24-Apr-13 22:42:36


I am hoping that eventually all her effort will go into 2 or 3 at the most. Whilst she's still young I didn't want to limit her choice and let her try what she likes really.
Obviously if there were the usual limiting factors there would be no choice, but it seems mean if the instruments are there and we tell her she can't play them.
At one time about 2 years ago she was announcing how she was going to a conservatoire but she's not so bothered about the jds now. When people ask what she wants to do when she is older she looks at them rather strangely and says I'm a musician. I think my child is a freak.

It is a strong part of her culture with dh being a musician who also teaches, but she has never really been encouraged much by him as he didn't do exams except grade 6 to gain entrance to music college. Also never played as a child. I played as a child and encourage more than dh, but neither of us have pushed her at all. Neither of her older siblings have played instruments further than beginning, and then given up.

Perhaps I worry unnecessarily, its just you hear so many stories about young people playing music when they are young.

Gruntfuttocks Wed 24-Apr-13 22:51:30

If the impetus is coming from her, then I would relax and let her get on with it. If you have instruments lying around and a teacher on tap then it's not costing you anything, and she is lucky to have those opportunities. Music is one of very few careers where you can get seriously stuck in as a child, and there are some who really do know that's what they want to do at that age. Maybe she's one of them.
DS was obsessed with maths from the age of 7 and ate, slept and breathed maths in every spare moment from then on. He found time to do all the normal stuff too and isn't just a total maths geek with no friends or other interests. He knew that's what he wanted to do and loved doing it - no harm in that.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 25-Apr-13 11:54:39


Thank you for helping me to normalise it all. I was unable to see the wood for the trees for a while there and needed a reality check.
It's difficult at times not to get carried away with it all, especially when those around you are giving meaningful advice and raving about her abilities. I try and keep a happy balance and tell her she's not all that, but then feel guilty for not praising her more grin

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 25-Apr-13 12:24:44

Morethan, what level is she at on her first study instrument? Which one is her first study, anyway?

mistlethrush Thu 25-Apr-13 12:28:00

morethan - do you have music running through your head at all times? Almost all the time I do. I don't normally let it come to the front, and I quite often have to concentrate on it to work out what is 'playing' but its there. When I've been doing something more full-on musical (eg 12 hrs of orchestral rehearsals over a weekend) it will be much closer to the front of my mind - normally I am to be found singing my part, with the rest of the orchestra playing in my head - most peculiar for those listening because I play viola so rarely have 'the tune'. Its a bit like having an ipod on shuffle all the time - but it is unrestricted by memory space or batteries grin

ZZZenagain Thu 25-Apr-13 13:07:37

oh no, don't run her down. If she is good, she is good.

It is true if the instruments are there, it would be odd to say she cannot try them and if your dh can teach her and it costs nothing, why not?

Wafflenose Thu 25-Apr-13 15:54:47

My DD is 7 and plays two seriously - she is about to do Grade 4 Recorder, and is between Grades 1-2 Flute and Music Theory. She can play the piano reasonably well for her age, but doesn't want lessons, and dabbles with the treble recorder and ukulele. She's asked for a violin, and we have said no, because realistically she only has time to practise two properly. I imagine being older and HE, the OP's daughter might manage lots of instruments more easily though.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 25-Apr-13 22:37:43


It is quite strange really, but over the years i have automatically switched off. Sometimes I hear, other times dh can ask if I heard a particular student playing something and I hadn't heard. Other times yes, I have a flaming tune stuck in my head and it won't go. Either something dh, dd, or a student have been playing or something heard on the radio. grin


I don't know and I don't know is the answer, I'm sorry not very helpful. She is only lower levels in terms of grades, and has played the violin for longest. However, within a month she can nearly play the sax as good. Her singing is around gr4/5, but she's not having outside lessons at the moment. I think singing is her best as this is what she has won the competitions in. But as for first study she really doesn't consider one over the other. She practices all of them everyday but will prioritise what is important at the time.
I don't think she's a protege or anything, although the singing receives lots of praise from many. Dh insisted on piano as he can't play much and feels its important. She is only a beginner with this, although picking it up quite well. grin Much to dh's annoyance.

I do tell her I'm proud of her but don't want her to get above herself so play it down a bit. I also never want her to feel that she has to do it for us, so I think its better sometimes to not make a fuss and let her decide. The only thing I really control are some choices of songs, in terms of lyrics.

BeckAndCall Sat 27-Apr-13 13:51:40

Well, you'll go with your own priorities I'm sure, but I'd have thought that for instruments which naturally group together - like the sax and the clarinet, it's not a big stretch to play both. Similarly if she were playing violin and viola - lots of people do. And most musicians also sing. And most musicians play the piano too. So it's not all that unusual, in my experience.

But I wonder if she's a bit young yet to go with the scattergun approach? - maybe after she's achieved higher grades in the first three, say, then branch out - you may be in danger of diluting here time too much.

( I speak as parent of a DD who is grade 8 in 4 instruments, also plays kit and sings)

ZZZenagain Sat 27-Apr-13 14:43:09

so violin is her first instrument, but she is best at singing, with sax and piano she is starting out and finding them easy.

If she is going into music seriously at some point she probably needs piano. Singing is always good and if she is good at it, don't think that will take up too much of her time.

At some point she may have to decide between violin and sax. Especially if she is doing sax + clarinet or sax + clarinet + flute.

dd is 12 now so 3 years further on and I have to say it would be difficult for her to fit in daily practise of 5 instruments and singing on top. Now she is at the point where there is a lot of vocab to learn for languages each week, Latin has leapt to a much more more difficult level and moving fast now. There is also a lot more required rote learning of facts at this point which you have to get to grips with, longer reading passages, essays. It all takes up more time than at primary. Still, so long as you H.E. , maybe you can make that work.

Atm dd has 2.5 hours orchestra rehearsal twice a week. You also have to get there and get back which is about an hour either way - and the evenings are gone. The whole business of music is taking up a lot of her time (and mine) and you can't do everything, so in the end something has to give.

I think sometimes less is more but as you have said the instruments are lying about and the instruction costs you nothing. She does sound as if she has a knack for learning instruments. I would try and get her onto a high level on one instrument and let the others take a back seat if possible.

morethanpotatoprints Sat 27-Apr-13 16:31:27


I think you have a good point there about diluting her time too much.
I have always been aware that most music students who play several instruments are usually a good level before starting a second, this was one of my concerns.


Yes, she has played the violin longest but within a month or so was as good on sax, and her singing after a years lessons (which have stopped now) she is working towards gr4 at winter session and singing gr4 and 5 material in concerts and competitions. Piano she was half way through first study book in 4 lessons, but no grades yet.

MMollyMum2 Sat 27-Apr-13 16:51:16

I played three at school from year three-sixth form(piano, bassoon and recorder) and I barely had time to pratise 3 let alone 4! I suppose I did lots of lubs too, but I just don't think you can do as well on 4 as you can on 3/less. I think she would be better off sticking to 4. What cleff are they in? I mean 4 in treble cleff has got to be easier than a variety-I remember getting bassoon (bass cleff) and recorder (treble cleff) mixed up. the only way i did it was because i played the piano-both. It also depends what cleff the new instrements are to be.

BeckAndCall Sat 27-Apr-13 17:03:12

And one more point - it's not just about getting through the grades and having the breadth of instruments: there needs to be depth to their repertoire and if she wants to be a musician ( and go to a conservatorie) shed be better getting 3 distinctions than 4 merits.

All that's down the road, I know, but at this stage she needs time to cement the basics and cover the range of styles and pieces at each grade before she moves on.

morethanpotatoprints Sat 27-Apr-13 18:09:59

Totally agree BeckAndCall

I know some dc who play more than one instrument and they seem to be constantly working on 6 exam pieces at the cost of building a repertoire. I think an exam every couple or few grades is good if they have motivation already. Plus it is far cheaper than doing them all. I know others who have taken every theory exam, ime not essential until gr5 then 6,7,and 8 if you need UCAS points. I also know two other people, students of dh who came to him last minute really, had a years lesson, did no exams at all and got offers from every conservatoire. It is true that if you have innate musicality grades don't matter.
I will of course remember what you said about the distinctions and totally agree. thanks

thesecretmusicteacher Sat 27-Apr-13 20:24:09

how long has she played the violin?

morethanpotatoprints Sat 27-Apr-13 21:36:09

Hello Secret

She has been playing violin for 2.5 years and doing gr3 in summer. She hadn't read music prior to this though, so started from scratch (pardon the pun). There are also no string players here, so technically have been no help to her at all. Apart from odd lesson dh has sat in on to enable him to remind her what she needed to do. This hasn't been recently though.
We still think she chose violin out of spite, as its all hers and nobody elses. grin Dh and her play some lovely simple duets on flute and violin.
I am getting some practice in on clarinet but haven't played in ages, so we can play little trios. grin

hardboiled Sun 28-Apr-13 11:11:37

hello OP,
your daughter is not a freak, she sounds like a lovely child with a very strong passion!...Hope you don't mind me saying this, but the only thought I would add is that children with specific passions still benefit from a broad input and IMO the best musicians will bring to their interpretations their knowledge of history, art, literature, etc... Also, in the times we are living, it is risky to narrow one's options too soon. I'm just saying this because as she is HE it may be a temptation to dedicate most hours to music which is clearly what she wants but make sure her education doesn't suffer, that she learns a foreign language (actually very useful as a musician!), on top of getting physical outdoor activities. DS will choose music over sport anytime but I insist in sport twice a week, one of them a team sport!

morethanpotatoprints Sun 28-Apr-13 13:20:41


I really don't mind your comments and you are spot on and the music is taking over most of her day, which concerns me a great deal.
We do live near the park and we go to run around there and climb etc, and she dances a few times a week. I know this isn't PE but we try and keep her active. Maths and English is a chore but she has to do a little each day both dh and I are insistent in this. She loves history and will read quite a bit about periods she is interested in. We do need to fit a language into her week at some stage, she doesn't seem to make her mind up which, although she says she wants to. First it was Italian, to help with Arias, then it was German as she found a few little songs she liked, then French and finally Spanish. I think we had better decide for her or it will never happen. grin This is her though, she has to relate everything to music.

bombyxmori Sun 28-Apr-13 16:47:14

Nearly everything has been said! Except I'm not sure how old your DD is?

If she is currently convinced she is a musician, and you want to make sure that the option remains open, is she making the progress she needs to make if her child's dream is to be a real possibility in the far distant future (it comes all too soon). Alarm bells rang because you said her no. 1 at the moment is violin. In that case (or for any popular instrument) she needs to keep up with what other children her age are doing in term of development of technique. Also, if you don't mind me chucking this in, if she doesn't have the in-built fire to want to be able to do more and better on violin, is she a budding violinist?

A visit to a junior conservatoire on an open day - if you're near enough to get to one - would give you some idea of what some of the budding future violinists are capable of - tho' it might be a nice surprise!

morethanpotatoprints Sun 28-Apr-13 19:00:24


She is 9 and has been playing violin the longest, I think she is progressing at a normal rate but certainly not prodigy material. I am also aware though that subsequent instruments could reach the same level as the first instrument in a relatively shorter time as some ground work has been done already. In terms of reading music, learning how to practice effectively etc, this was done through violin so may seem to have taken longer.
I know where you are coming from though as dh has sometimes said he thinks it is the wrong instrument for her. When I ask the teachers at her ensembles they disagree, she plays first in the string ensemble and the others are teens, she is the youngest. I don't think she is exceptional moreover, they are probably below average for their age. grin

thesecretmusicteacher Sun 28-Apr-13 19:34:50

Grade 3 in 3 years is great,well done her. It's within normal levels though I think....... I believe sax is considered to be far far easier (having just reread that "right instrument" book) to get through the early levels.

I told my son, who is 10, that he could not study a fourth instrument. This was because it would slow down progress on his first. It would have been worse in his case as the existing ones don't use the mouth and he asked about sax. He plays main instrument electric guitar and also cello and piano. No exams on electric guitar - no extrinsic motivation needed there. Exams on the others (3 on piano this summer, 1 on cello last term). The techniques on cello and electric guitar are related. I would expect him to be able to join in on bass guitar or jazz double bass using a combination of the techniques he has - if you can play guitar and cello you are 90percent there really. So I am trying, badly, to explain that in a way it gets easier after the first three.

I am not from a conservatoire background but I do follow trends in music education. A true multi instrumentalist would tend to flourish as a specialist classroom music teacher. Arguably this is a far more attractive career than being an orchestral musician, which seems to involve low job security, constant family-unfriendly travel and sometimes playing music you greatly dislike to earn the orchestra's keep (string sections on pop music, composers you don't enjoy).

How exciting to educate with music at the centre though.... You can use Pythagoras' forge to kick start her science career, you can get her to complex proportion through even tempering, I am envious!

thesecretmusicteacher Sun 28-Apr-13 19:44:31

Sorry, still musing..... If she keeps them all up, she'll never be a concert violinist, but she could end up better placed in the teaching jobs market than those who played violin seven hours a day, went to conservatoire and then either didn't get into a professional orchestra or did but then struggled to combine the lifestyle with parenthood and end up with narrow skills.

I suspect perhaps 30 times more people teach music through to retirement than play it in a steady job.

VinegarDrinker Sun 28-Apr-13 20:06:21

At her age I played violin (g5), piano (g4), treble and descant recorders (g5) and sang. I then took up harp which I loved but has always been the poor relation in terms of time to practice etc. My Mum taught me all but harp, so it wasn't difficult to fit them in, although I moved to an external violin teacher after g5 - at her age - for reasons of mother/daughter relations!

I never wanted to be a professional musician and although I reached g8 on violin, I never was realistically anywhere good enough to make it to music college even if I had wanted to. However, a decent broad musical education - including conservatoire standard sightsinging skills - have led to me bring a very handy amateur and opened up a huge number of opportunities throughout my life so far.

In my experience those of my school friends who did the conservatoire "thing" (of which I know quite a few) mostly settled quite early - certainly by 12/13 or so, on a firm first study instrument. If you are going to be putting in 3 or 4 hours a day of practice, it happens naturally I think.

My other half is a woodwind teacher too -first study saxophonist, did the conservatoire route, he plays a silly number of instruments but most of those he taught himself once his sax was already at g8+ standard.

I do think anyone with any wider interest in music should definitely be doing singing and piano though, I will be encouraging my DC to do them alongside any first instrument they might choose.

seeker Sun 28-Apr-13 20:18:11

I have musical children too- although at school. I'm going against the trend of the thread, sorry!

I honestly think 9 is too young to be spending so much time on music- I would be firm about other activities- sport, or Scouts, for example. What does she do for science? You really don't want to close any doors......

RussiansOnTheSpree Sun 28-Apr-13 20:51:59

If DD2 was spending 3-4 hours a day on her instruments rather than 3-4 hours a week she'd be a lot further on than grade 4 and grade 3 (as for her singing, well, she sings all the time, but rarely practices her proper songs as she tends not to like them except for the show songs. She spends most of her singing time being Barbra or singing self accompanied folk songs). But then she wouldn't have time for 3 or 4 dance lessons, theatre group, and school. And watching the heavy load of Sci Fi and friends that is apparently compulsory at her age. And reading all the books she can pinch from her sister's room. So, you know. I think she has the balance right. I was diploma standard on 3 instruments and never practised 3 -4 hours a day except maybe in the last couple of days before an exam when I needed to nail the scales. DD1 who intends to follow a musical career (and who is grade 8 level on her first two studies) doesn't practise 3-4 hours a day. Well, not every day. Although since listening is an important part of a musical education too, and since she also composes, I think she is spending more than that doing music. But that's slightly different.

That having said - I wonder how many non musical science enthusiasts are asked what they do for music, hmm? Science is not the world. This country really has gone a little bit mad in recent years, it seems to me.

VinegarDrinker Sun 28-Apr-13 21:05:47

Apologies if I have confused things with the 3-4 hours a day comment, I certainly don't know anyone who was doing that at age 9!

RussiansOnTheSpree Sun 28-Apr-13 21:12:50

Vinegar - the OP suggested her 9 year old will be doing that if she takes up the new instrument(s)

VinegarDrinker Sun 28-Apr-13 21:24:29

Ah yes I can see that now! clearly I am far too self centred!

I think it is different with HE. I doubt she'd actually want to keep up with 6 instruments daily, either, so on that basis and the fact it would be her Dad teaching her, I would probably be tempted to let her have a go and see how she does. She could make reasonable progress on the clarinet practising 2-3 x a week if she's already fairly competent on the sax.

seeker Sun 28-Apr-13 22:35:49

"That having said - I wonder how many non musical science enthusiasts are asked what they do for music, hmm? Science is not the world. This country really has gone a little bit mad in recent years, it seems to me."

I would! I'm all for balance. I would ask scientists what they do for music- artists what the do for maths, literature freaks what they do for sport..........

BeckAndCall Mon 29-Apr-13 06:40:32

I'd ask it at 9 ( as would the OP, which is why she's here!), but I wouldn't ask it at 16........

There's a time when you can confidently specialise and a time to still hedge your bets and look at the bigger picture and the wider options. IMHO.

Mind you, if you go to a specialist music school, or a ballet school, then you're effectively spending that much time from age 11 onwards......

morethanpotatoprints Mon 29-Apr-13 10:26:05

Thank you all very much for your comments and advice. thanks

We are making a bit of headway in some respects. After a long day of practice and other lessons, I suggested she caught up with an old school friend. She does see them often, but not her best friend from school. Well they had such a good time they are going to do it more often which means no time for clarinet and flute, hooray.
Seriously, I agree with comments about too many to be able to reach a good level on 2 or 3. I did think that violin would be the first to go but she is having her lesson atm and has just asked her teacher if she can skip gr 4 and work towards gr5 next year. I don't hover but can hear from kitchen or if I'm walking past. Teacher said yes!
Finally, I would like to say even though I said she was a freak, I meant it in the nicest way. I love her to bits and am very proud of her, but hate these parents who are constantly bigging up their dc, so I tend to do the opposite at times grin and I think all musicians are a bit weird/different anyway. smile

Thanks all smile

BeckAndCall Mon 29-Apr-13 11:49:55

Sounds like you've reached a good resolution and it came about naturally - sometimes the right answer just becomes apparent doesn't it?

morethanpotatoprints Mon 29-Apr-13 13:15:23


Exactly, no arguments or having to say no. That was my main problem. If she ever becomes famous, not that the riches usually follow, I will remember you. grin

Theas18 Mon 29-Apr-13 16:10:51

Hmm we seem to have a "lot" of instruments here...

But for a child who has a musical interest I think piano and singing are the bedrock of a musical education. My gut feeling is something around grade 5 standard in both is worth pursuing ( though clearly you don't have to take the exams!). That allows you to sing pretty much anything to get the " sound" of it in your head from the look on the page, and sight read anything and play through your accompaniment a bit and understand what it's up to. You also have enough vocal and piano skills to busk, play with mates in a bar or mess etc

Other instruments... Mine have all had recorder as first study. They were good and have the best teacher so dropping it as "proper instruments" (blows big raspberry that's not my phrase) came along wasn't really contemplated. The girls did clarinet (Dd1 has dropped it like a hot potato on leaving school as she never liked it, it was a means to orchestral playing for her!) and DS for some reason (probably being big for his age at primary) ended up with a french horn but also has a cornet and a trumpet (they are mine) that he plays.

Russians I'm so heartened to ear your comments re practice time. 3-4hrs a week is the best we get. There are so may other demands on the kids time!

Seeker I'm with you about rounded kids. " what does the child do for science, literature etc " are all valid comments. I know this child is HE but at my kids school they are not unusual in their musical commitment, and there are many kids of grade 8 standard who aren't even doing music AS/A level.

BeckAndCall Mon 29-Apr-13 18:15:00

Why, thank you morethanpotatoprints grin.
I'll be in the audience, applauding your DD. And mine too!

morethanpotatoprints Mon 29-Apr-13 18:38:55


Of course, we will drink champagne and drink to their sheer magnificent talent and success. Will book the royal box now grin

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now