Feeling fed up... Why bother learning an instrument in ptimary school to drop it in year 7?

(162 Posts)
stillenacht Wed 18-Sep-13 19:39:46

Exactly that. Feeling very impotent as a secondary music teacher, going through my registers "Yes Miss I can play the violin/trombone/viola/flute/clarinet. I played it at Primary school but gave up before my 11plus/at the end of year 5/4/3".

Every bloody year more and more kids tell me this. Why cant kids commit to learning for the long term?Argh!!!!

ISingSoprano Wed 18-Sep-13 20:32:28

Because it's all very well having lessons but are there enough opportunities for younger children to make music as part of a group or ensemble and actually have some fun with it?

stillenacht Wed 18-Sep-13 20:38:19

Yeah they all tend to learn in primary following a sort of American Band system, all instruments together in groups and we have plenty of extra curricular groups (10 different groups a week) for them to take part in. Its just so soul destroying, they think being able to play an instrument means a couple of notesshock

Lancelottie Wed 18-Sep-13 20:44:18

Because once you've got past the first bits, it gets difficult and expensive, surely?

I mean, it's the parents' bank balances being committed to it, not the children.

DS started with a county instrument on loan for free, with massively subsidized lessons as it's a 'rare breed'. Great. But by year 5 he was beyond the group lessons, needed individual lessons to make progress, and needed his own instrument. Even the cheapest middling one we could find was £600 after which we would have murdered him if he'd tried to drop it

Lancelottie Wed 18-Sep-13 20:46:42

Does your school have lots of free instruments for them to try out, though? Maybe one of those ex-flautists would be a much keener trombone player, you never know. DS tried piano, clarinet and guitar before falling in love with brass playing.

derektheladyhamster Wed 18-Sep-13 20:48:10

my son stopped playing th double bass in yr 7, even though he was offered free lessons to continue it sad He'd got to grade 3 standard. TBH I think he found the music he was told to play boring, and no one thought to introduce him to jazz etc.

VinegarDrinker Wed 18-Sep-13 20:50:13

Round here there's a scheme where they do whole class instrumental lessons for a year in Y5 but after that it's it! Parents then have to find a teacher, fund lessons, buy an instrument etc. Inevitably hardly any do. Bonkers if you ask me.

My DM is a music teacher and wouldn't let us drop an instrument until we'd got to grade 5 at least. Bit extreme for sure, but I'm definitely grateful for being made to persevere through the tough bits.

Stropperella Wed 18-Sep-13 20:58:36

Erm, because the lessons are damn expensive and unless the child in question really, really wants to learn the instrument and puts in a decent amount of practice parents aren't going to keep shelling out for lessons. I have 2 reasonably musical dcs, but I gave up on dd's piano lessons after 5 years when she hadn't done any practice for the best part of a year, despite a large assortment of carrots and sticks. Ds has been doing piano for 2 years, but despite initial enthusiasm, it is now a struggle to get him to practice and school has just told him he is now having free tuition for playing the trombone. All well and good, but do I have the money to buy him a trombone should he prove to be any good and wish to continue? Do I buggery.

stillenacht Wed 18-Sep-13 20:59:03

Vinegardrinker yes I agree with your DM.

We offer subsidised lessons to unusual instruments, yes they do get to try them out. Its just so depressing when almost 80 kids out of 170 have learnt an instrument in primary but less than 10 are carrying on into secondary (I am largely talking about orchestral instruments... No shortage of guitarists, singers and aspiring pianists).

stillenacht Wed 18-Sep-13 21:04:52

I appreciate the cost part of it, i really do but I guess I am just feeling hacked off cos in general kids just want to fart arse about in front of screens than work to achieve proficiency on a musical instruments.

beatricequimby Wed 18-Sep-13 21:07:37

I think that there are a number of factors. Group lessons can be very slow, so kids don't make much progress, get bored and give up. If the child doesn't have anyone at home who can read music and help them a bit when they are starting, that makes it really hard for them. And I think parents who haven't learnt music themselves can underestimate how much practice and committment is needed.

We live in an area where there a lot of opportunities for kids to play in groups. My son has been very motivated by the prospect of going on residential courses from age 10 (if he is good enough) or maybe being part of a youth orchestra that tours abroad (as a teenager, again if he is good enough). I was a kid who had lessons and didn't practice enough and then regretted it as a teenager when my friends swanned off on exciting residentials which I wasn't good enough for. I have made sure my son knows that these opportunties are available if he works hard.

stillenacht Wed 18-Sep-13 21:18:18

Yes but having parents who dont read music or play really isnt an excuse for the child not to carry on. My DH and I are both music teachers, neither of our parents can read a notewink

beatricequimby Wed 18-Sep-13 21:26:40

But you were probably really good and really into it. For children who aren't as naturally musical, having parents who can help can make a difference.

Also when I was young all school music lessons were individual so kids got more attention. In our area, all lessons at primary are now group lessons and I don't think that helps.

Maybe they just didn't enjoy it? I had some lessons in piano, recorder and clarinet, didn't really enjoy them, so dropped them. Still don't really get or enjoy music despite dh playing bass in a band - I go along when I have to but not my idea of fun. My dc all enjoy playing music and I clap in the right places and encourage them but personally I would much rather sit listening to radio 4, read a book or look on the Internet. Life's too short to keep doing things you don't enjoy. Am sure that I will probably offend you by saying that. Dh really can't understand it, he just doesn't get that music really doesn't do anything for me.

stillenacht Wed 18-Sep-13 21:36:20

I do agree most group lessons are a false economy... All this money splashed out on primary music, we really dont see any reward from it in secondary (coupled with music not being in the EBacc).hmm

schilke Wed 18-Sep-13 21:39:09

My dh teaches brass. Numbers are really low for him at secondary level. The Simon Cowell effect he likes to call it....singing & guitar teachers have waiting lists as long as their arms sad

stillenacht Wed 18-Sep-13 21:39:56

3birthday yes but its gone from 80 kids learning for a couple of years to 10 continujng... So 70 kids didnt enjoy it, coildnt carry on.. Makes me so gutted and angry all the money is being thrown at the primary sector for kids to have a free jolly up and literally nothing left for us at secondary (we fund our department largely through concert income).

stillenacht Wed 18-Sep-13 21:42:06

Shilke thats so true. School of 1500 kids. One brass pupil hmm guitar and singing lessons booked out all day. Both DH and I play orchestral instruments as furst study. Its absolutely gutting.

stillenacht Wed 18-Sep-13 21:42:44

*first

beatricequimby Wed 18-Sep-13 21:47:22

That is sad Stillenacht.

Hmmmm, ever thought that half the kids at primary school who learn an instrument are gently encouraged forced to do so by their parents, and once they get to senior school are old enough to say NO MORE. Or maybe that was just me...

stillenacht Wed 18-Sep-13 21:50:24

Yes Worcestershirehmm and the parents just say "oh ok" (lets just give up when it gets hard/we have to pay for it but thanks for the free ride while we got it.. Here get on your ipad/laptop).

schilke Wed 18-Sep-13 21:51:54

Dh also thinks that we live in a time of instant gratification. They get a new video game. Play it for a couple of weeks and are great at it. That doesn't quite work for an instrument. I shouldn't have got him started now. He's on a rant....grin

stillenacht Wed 18-Sep-13 21:56:09

Shilke I totally agree with your DH. Its the same in our music clubs... I used to have 70 in our Jazz Band, now 30 if we are lucky hmm

Lancelottie Wed 18-Sep-13 22:29:04

Well yes, I did think 'thanks for the free ride... but oh god where is £600 coming from now that he's keen?'

I sypathise, OP, I really do, but we have one-and-a-half incomes and struggle to pay for full-on lessons sometimes, and we were very biased from the start towards them all learning something (anything! so we ended up with euphonium, drums, tuba and god knows how many ukuleles, rather than the gentle concert cellist DH had dreamed of).

If the parent isn't keen and the child seems bored, I can see why people save the money -- because it's hard, and pricey, and an appalling racket at least some of the time.

schilke What????? Music should be about talent and joy. Forcing a kid to relentlessly practice an instrument they have no interest in destroys any appreciation of music. I loathe music, because I spent from age 6 to 10 having to play an instrument I hated. I was one of those kids you are talking about - first day at senior school saying.... 'yes I have grade 5 distinction but I've just given up'. I have no talent. I got grades through relentless practice, time I could have spent doing something that would have inspired me creatively... art for example. I am a very talented artist, but there was never any time for me to do that. Allegedly hmm

I certainly didn't get an ipad, I got a clip round the ear, but at 11 you can to some extent stand up to parents and teachers and say no more

It's not always about people taking a free ride, it is about parents pushing their own aspirations on children, who are too young to stand up for themselves.

schilke Thu 19-Sep-13 08:38:51

Er, I didn't say they had to play if they didn't like it. I never said anyone should be forced to play. I said in dh's experience children now seem to expect to be great at playing an instrument after a few lessons. He has been teaching for 20 years and has noticed a real change. Something has changed in the fact numbers for orchestral instruments, not just brass, in his schools have dropped.

Music should be about having fun. Dh had a great time in his youth orchestras - trips abroad etc.. Obviously you have to put a bit of work in, but the aim is to play together isn't it?

I also think stillenacht was emphasising the fact that at primary level money is thrown at some schools, but they get nothing at secondary. My boys are at a comp - 240 in each year. The orchestra is tiny. Personally I think it's a bit sad.

Bonsoir Thu 19-Sep-13 08:43:13

Because, as others have said, learning an instrument is hard work, expensive and requires the commitment of the whole family.

Personally I think it is easier to maintain the impetus and commitment in a conservatoire than via school.

MadeOfStarDust Thu 19-Sep-13 08:52:11

Mine do piano - not orchestral - but we have a piano and they wanted to learn, one DD wants to do the exams, the other just wants to play for fun, so we continue lessons. DD is the only grade 3 - or above - in her school's KS3 at ANY instrument so I do see where you are coming from a bit....

but, they did not enjoy the other instruments they were introduced to, so we carried on with piano - which, to be honest, you seem a bit dismissive of....

valiumredhead Thu 19-Sep-13 09:03:41

I think it was very different 30 years ago when I was at school and you could have a free instrument from school and free lessons, all you had to do was sign a form.

It costs ds and I nearly 100 a month for lessons and that's with mates rates as my friend is a teacher and ds's is part subsidised through the school.

OldBeanbagz Thu 19-Sep-13 09:05:22

I think some kids are giving up because of the workload they're faced with in Y5 and Y6. There's so much pressure for them to get L5/L6 SATs that they've being overloaded. It doesn't leave much time for practice with homework and after school activities.

Plus the harder it gets as they work up the grades, the easier it is for kids to give in. schilke's DH is right that a lot of kids do just expect instant gratification these days.

My own DD has a wobble every time she moves up a grade and has been know to be in tears because the pieces are too hard & wanting to give up that instrument. But with a little time & patience we've worked through it.

She's gets a lot of support from us despite the fact i've never played any instrument and DH played neither of the ones she's chosen.

PavlovtheCat Thu 19-Sep-13 09:06:52

Because, they are children.

Lancelottie Thu 19-Sep-13 09:08:05

That's a good point. DD coped fine at primary, but at secondary she wants to try new clubs and activities, and is irritated that our established pattern of music lessons gets in the way.

I've just switched her to in-school lessons instead to free up an evening (so this morning's whinge was, 'But I'll miss PE if it's at 11:30! And it's swimming today!' Can't win).

Lancelottie Thu 19-Sep-13 09:10:53

Stardust, only one grade 3+ in KS3? Bloody hell. She must feel rather a fish out of water. Well done to her if she perseveres in it though.

I suppose it makes a change from the scholarships-and-bursaries realms of MN where any child without grade 5 in two instruments by 11 is viewed as a bit below par.

curlew Thu 19-Sep-13 09:11:40

And in some cases carrying a musical instrument (with the possible exception of a guitar) makes you a bully target. Sad but true.

Lancelottie Thu 19-Sep-13 09:13:48

Yep. That happened to DS, too. He also got picked on for being the only boy in the choir.

He's at a different school now.

itshowwedo Thu 19-Sep-13 09:14:40

Isn't this in part to do with the kind of music people like to listen to? I had subsidised lessons on the alto sax and loved to play, but I didn't like the music that the sax is used for - jazz. I should have learned guitar or piano, because those are the 'gateway' instruments for the music I DO like - rock. I could conceivably have made violin work (I do like a bit of folk too) but that was far from clear to me as a child. It's better that children learn the instruments for the music they're going to listen to.

And before anyone says anything... I KNOW there are some famous rock tunes which feature strings or brass - but they are in the tiny, tiny, tiny minority. And you can bet your bottom dollar that the person writing them did it with a piano/guitar in their hands.

MadeOfStarDust Thu 19-Sep-13 09:16:44

lol Lancelottie - I know, I do wonder sometimes where all these grade 5 11 yr old kids are - I guess you don't see them because they are practising.... ?

DD is over the moon that she is "the best" at something....

musicalfamily Thu 19-Sep-13 09:21:35

I agree that there isn't just one reason but many and most of the ones on this thread I agree with, including the financial and time commitment from the family.

I also think that if a child manages to get to G5 before the onslaught of exams/homework starts, they have a better chance to stick to it because hopefully they can get some satisfaction out of playing and have come to enjoy their instrument. That's what I am hoping for my children anyway, who all play (primary aged).

Everincreasingirth Thu 19-Sep-13 09:24:58

It can be a real struggle though if you are not musical yourself as a parent. One on my sons plays cello. He is 10 and I really hope he continues it in year 7 as I think he really gets a lot from it, not just learning the instrument itself but the discipline to practice, getting together with other children, concerts etc HOWEVER it is really gard to help him with his practice. This week he came home with a piece and tried to practice it this morning and came to a phase he really couldn't remember the fingers or technique or whatever that his teacher had shown him. I couldn't help him as really had no idea what he is talking about, so have encouraged him to practises the bits he knows and scales etc but it is frustrating as I know he needs to practice. Not sure what the answer is .

Jux Thu 19-Sep-13 09:24:59

DD's primary didn't even have a proper choir, let alone instruments. There was a music teacher who couldn't get an instrument in tune if you paid her. The choir was done after school with one of the nursery nurses. The HT was only interested in sport. Their well-equipped music studio was not allowed to be used as the HT didn't want other lessons disturbed.

Extra curricular lessons are very expensive. We couldn't afford them. We have many instruments here, at home, but they are all guitar-like (lute, mandolin, banjoleli, etc or violins). The music shop didn't hire out instruments because the guy who ran it "couldn't be bothered".

DD is now in secondary where there are many opportunities. She is grabbing them with both hands, thank goodness.

I still shudder at the music evening her primary put on. We left after 3 hours of untuned instruments and Abba songs. That was at about half time.

Now, does anyone know of a hurdy gurdy teacher?

Lancelottie Thu 19-Sep-13 09:33:56

Jux, our primary's orchestra was similarly tooth-shatteringly bad. I suspect some of the children were playing two different pieces at the last one.

Takver Thu 19-Sep-13 09:42:40

Do you not think they might come back to it?

I learnt piano & flute from age 7, got to grade 5 by end of primary so not too bad (individual lessons not school!) and gave up when I started secondary because of the extra homework etc.

I picked up flute again around yr 9 and started playing sax too once I'd settled in secondary & felt more comfortable

Having said that guitar and also drum lessons are so oversubscribed in dd's new secondary that you're only allowed to take them if you've already started learning in primary, so it obviously isn't universal.

OldBeanbagz Thu 19-Sep-13 10:02:34

Maybe all primary school orchestras are the same? Ours sounded like they were playing different tunes at the same time!

I was shock when DD's new guitar teacher said he's never had a child start her high school with Gr3 before. Apparently they've all been Gr2 or below.

My two are having subsidised woodwind lessons in yr 3 and 4 now, with loan instruments.
They do swimming lessons (essential for safety imo) and one does gymnastics. There is a football club at school they want to join. And a fishing club down the road that their friend goes to. Will they commit to these long term? Who knows, but at that age they want to try everything. One already packed in gymnastics, but he tried it and got a few badges then decided it wasn't for him. Nothing wrong with that at all.
They have homework that takes up time nearly every day on top of the usual reading. Spellings, projects, maths sheets etc.
So we are fitting in the practise for the instruments but only just. And we are affording the subsidised lessons for two of them for now.

If one or both is really keen then I think they can carry on the lessons at this price till they leave primary school, but the thought of having to actually buy the instruments at several hundred pounds a pop, and pay full price for lessons when they are older... well I'm just not thinking about it.

I had piano lessons as a child, we were bloomin lucky cos a retired concert pianist lived near us and gave lessons to local kids for 50p/half hour. My mother could afford to send all 4 of us for lessons.

When you have more than one child in a family everything doubles, trebles, quadruples the cost. So if my children get to the end of primary and say they don't want to continue with their current instruments, I certainly won't be putting any pressure on them to continue when the lessons won't be subsidised.

I had free lessons in primary school of violin, and then paid £2 a session for private violin lessons until year 8, when I did my grade 3 but everyone told me violin wasn't cool, I joined a youth theatre, and started playing guitar. Fast forward 7 years and I don't regret it; playing violin taught me to read and appreciate music, but my real passion will always be guitar and singing, and the youth theatre essentially shaped my life to what it is now.

People grow out of things - sometimes they grow into new, similar things, sometimes they don't.

Ooh, posted before I was finished - I don't mean to say that my reasons for quitting violin were right, particularly with regards to people telling me it wasn't cool, but we're all impressionable at 12. Just that in the long run, I would've grown out of it anyway. I still occasionally play violin for fun, but it's not something I'd be interested in taking more lessons in.

Peetle Thu 19-Sep-13 10:22:21

You plateau in an instrument - you can quite quickly get to playing some basic tunes, which is exciting, but then each step of improvement gets harder. Eventually it feels like all you're doing it practicing and not getting any better.

I played the violin aged about 8 - I was dreadful and rapidly lost interest. I played the clarinet about 13 for about a year but again lost interest when it got hard (I can still get a note out of a sax, clarinet, etc). My mother said I could give up but only if I took responsibility and didn't regret it later (which I probably do a bit).

Off my own bat I picked up an electric guitar at about 22 and now play in a covers band. Not well and I probably plateaued about 20 years ago, but I got there eventually.

Doolallydolly Thu 19-Sep-13 10:31:50

I also think there's a lot more club choice these days.

My dd does choir, stagecoach, speech and drama, swimming and brownies... Plus she plays the recorder. She is in yr 4. At some point something will have to be dropped along the way especially going into senior school I guess.

They all also offer lots of opportunities as they get older - guiding/scouting in particular offer lots, plus all the shows/trips that come with musical theatre type stuff and the schools do world challenge/d of e.

They can't do it all. I guess as you improve and go up the grades unless you are naturally very musical or really love playing, I can see how musical instruments are easily dropped.

wordfactory Thu 19-Sep-13 10:31:58

OP, DC try lots of things and don't take them forward.

Music, dancing, sports, you name it.

They are finding their way, trying things on for size, discovering who they are.

Bonsoir Thu 19-Sep-13 11:05:11

Up to a point, wordfactory. Many DC would discover they didn't like eg Maths and give it up given half the chance.

My DD had a wonderful line for me when she doesn't want to do something - "But Mummy, I'm not that kind of girl."

I listen but I do think that DC need encouragement to persist with a broad range of educational activities, finances permitting. The core curriculum in schools has more to do with what is cost-effective to deliver than with what is truly beneficial to DC.

wordfactory Thu 19-Sep-13 11:20:53

Oh sure Bonsoir.

I don't think you should just let DC give stuff up at the first pulled face.

But TBH, many of the things my DC tried out just ran teir natural course. Particularly sports, which increase hugely in commitment as the years go by. You have to really like gymnastics or running or diving to train three to five times a week.

Singing is also a big time consumer.

So DC reduced their interests over time IYSWIM. And instruments went by the wayside.

Bonsoir Thu 19-Sep-13 11:34:33

That's why we chose piano! No commitment to orchestras or other people and easy to practice at home as the piano is always out and available for a quick 10 minute practice concert as the opportunity arises!

valiumredhead Thu 19-Sep-13 12:11:15

Bonsoir that's one reason I chose the piano, of I actually had to get an instrument out of its case I would never play itgrin

wordfactory Thu 19-Sep-13 12:16:18

I think the piano is a great choice, and one far more likely to be taken forward into adult life.

If I had my time again...

Piano is great cos you can sing a long to it, we loved it at xmas playing carols and all singing.

Same with guitar.

Can't quite do that with woodwind, violin, and things like cello are quite limited unless you actually do want to play in a quartet or orchestra etc.

We don't have a piano but we have my old guitar and dp's electric keyboard so the kids will have learned how to read music etc from the lessons they are having now and will be able to probably teach themselves strummy-chord type guitar later on if they want to (which is what I did).

Nearly all the ds's friends started out with swimming lessons. Some stopped as soon as they got to a point where they would not drown if they fell into water. Some carry on till competent. ds1 wants to stop now cos he 'knows all the strokes',, whereas ds2 really wants to keep on and get to club level. I don't hear the swim teachers complaining that 70 kids start learning and only 10 want to carry on coming past age 10....

78bunion Thu 19-Sep-13 12:34:37

The original post is not the case at most good private schools. There loads of children at secondary level learn instruments to a high standard. So perhaps it is a cultural difference between different classes of people in the UK or just a financial issue.

However all normal children do curb their full range of hobbies as they go into their teens and find those they like and those they don't. They do get UCAS points for grades 6 - 8 so that is worth telling them.

Also fewer children go to church so are not singing in a choir there every week these days so exposed to less more classical music than used to be the case. If went back 60 years most parents would aspire to have a piano as a mark of their progress and probably most homes do not have a piano these days.

Our children have quite a few grade 8s and that partly reflects parental interests too and the kind of schools they are at.

schilke Thu 19-Sep-13 13:19:35

78bunion, but my dh teaches in private schools. At one school the singing teacher goes in for a couple of days a week and could do more, but brass....4 pupils. 8 years ago he had 18 pupils. It's not just brass, other orchestral instrument teachers are struggling for numbers too. This is a big, academic well respected independent school. Singing, guitar, piano & drums are much more popular, especially singing!
Don't think it's as simple as financial reasons. Still blame Simon Cowell grin

Owllady Thu 19-Sep-13 13:24:37

mine have never been given the opportunity to learn an instrument in primary school (they are 14, 12 and 6)

Lancelottie Thu 19-Sep-13 13:58:37

Bunion, any idea how to translate the newfangled 'umpty credits at QCF level X' into actual UCAS points, cos I can't get my head round it?

Aye shall ignore your suggestion that it's just a question of tone in these schools (mind you, DH still has a lingering feeling that brass-playing is all very well for them northerners but not a proper form of music, I think).

Lancelottie Thu 19-Sep-13 13:59:28

Schilke, Too Bloody Heavy would be my guess at why pupils give up brass (barks shins on tuba in hallway yet again).

SanityClause Thu 19-Sep-13 14:08:36

There are lots of brass players at DS's (private) school.

Why?

They do six introductory free lessons in Year 4 of a brass or woodwind instrument, and then can pay for lessons and hire an instrument from the school for the rest of the year. (They do the same in year 3 with strings.)

There are loads of opportunities to play with various ensembles, including jazz bands, as well as more classical ensembles.

It is seen as a "normal" thing to do. Lots of the (non music) teachers play instruments, including a "cool" teacher who plays the euphonium. At last year's prize giving, there was a "mighty orchestra" where at least half the students, and all the peripatetic music teachers and many of the classroom teachers played.

The school has both a junior and senior school. So, while DS is the only bassoonist (tenoroon, actually) in the junior school, there are others in the senior school, so it is worth a teacher coming in, as it's to teach 4 students, not just one. (I know bassoon is woodwind, not brass, but it's similar in that it's quite rare.)

The parents can (one assumes) afford to pay for lessons, or they wouldn't have children at a private school.

newgirl Thu 19-Sep-13 14:11:07

Do you know I am gutted about this too

My 11 year old is grade 4 piano and I would love her to learn another instrument at secondary school but I simply cannot afford it. I have two kids - music lessons cost me 400 a term as it is!

I wish it was different as I think shed be fab on a woodwind instrument - I wrote to the school about it but nothing helpful back

60 years ago a home would be more likely to have a piano as there were very few tvs so they made their own entertainment.

and eee bah eck I am a northerner and I LOVE a brass band. My first boyfriend's school had a brass band and it was very cool to be in it. One bar of the floral dance and I'm right back in 1978 grin

stillenacht Thu 19-Sep-13 15:50:15

I teach in a selective school in the south east.. 170 pupils a year. Year 7 has one grade 3 violinist and 2 grade 3 pianists. hmm

OddBoots Thu 19-Sep-13 15:59:31

My dd is in Y6 and plays viola, we're hoping to keep going to secondary but the music service is consulting on the second huge hike in prices in as many years for everyone except those on free school dinners. I think the summer holidays are tricky too, there is a huge gap between lessons, that's a lot of self motivation needed.

Bonsoir Thu 19-Sep-13 16:01:10

Did the DC at your school do tutoring for the 11+?

I would hazard a guess that many families' budgets for extra-curricular activities are severely eroded by tutoring for the 11+. And DCs' time.

stillenacht Thu 19-Sep-13 16:50:44

Oh yes bonsoir lots of tutoring!!!!hmm

I have been at the school 15 yrs though and have seen it get worse notably over last 5 years (since smart phones, social media have blown up massively).

stillenacht Thu 19-Sep-13 16:54:00

Its the lack of orchestral players that depresses me... Even populist instruments like the flute and clarinet are becoming less. I used to have 15 flutes and 15 clarinets in my band now I am lucky to get 5 in each section hmm

78bunion Thu 19-Sep-13 17:00:52

It may depend on the area then. Sometimes they have 90 applications for music scholarships at one of our local academic private schools. That is applications of scholarships, not number of children playing instruments, never mind the Chinese requirement that the child plays the violin and/or piano to super human levels which accounts for a good proportion too. Another has over 500 pupils a week having lessons.

stillenacht Thu 19-Sep-13 17:01:07

You see I find the opposite with the piano. Its quite a lonely instrument. I went to secondary school with grade 5 piano, red band at church choir and took up an orchestral instrument to get into the bands and orchestras at school and at county level. At music college the orchestral instrument was my first study. I guess the orchestra is my passion.

I would love to be able to make it more popular, if we could just have a bit of the money the wider opps schemes at Primary get then I am sure we couldsmile

Bonsoir Thu 19-Sep-13 18:00:33

Piano is fun - DD's best friend does piano too, and other friends, so they practice and sing when they go to one another's houses.

stillenacht Thu 19-Sep-13 18:08:10

Yes of course its fun, any music is but really I suppose what I am getting at is the pressure from management to maintain school orchestra/bands/wind and string ensembles with far fewer kids learning.

I can be a one man band, but a one man orchestra!?shock

MadeOfStarDust Thu 19-Sep-13 18:11:17

Yep Bonsoir - my DDs play and sing together and their friends do too... been treated to Passenger - "Let her go" on many occasions lately with their friends round.. I think there is a Y8 "talent" contest coming up.....

and they are all into Harry Potter too. Tonight's lesson was fab with "Professor Umbridge" and "Hedwig's theme" being chosen as their new pieces...

( I think sometimes the "fun" gets forgotten in the exam chasing - so we are having a sabbatical from all that til next summer)

Bonsoir Thu 19-Sep-13 18:12:51

Here in France there isn't the concept of school orchestra (or very rarely), but the conservatoires do a good job of getting DC to play together. Some DC seem to spend all Wednesday and all weekend playing instruments and doing the requisite accompanying music theory, choral singing, voice and dance.

I am fully with you in that I think that to learn an instrument properly is a wonderful thing, but I think there are so many competing activities for time and budget. If 11+ tutoring is what is getting in the way, that is indeed a tragedy. Maybe musical proficiency ought to add points to the 11+?

stillenacht Thu 19-Sep-13 18:15:50

I would LOVE that Bonsoir!!!!smilesmile i wish it could be added to the testgrin

Sadly I can't see it somehow.

I am not anti piano by any stretch, I play it far more now than my first study instrument but I can't have an orchestra of pianos!

Bonsoir Thu 19-Sep-13 18:25:58

You know what - the LAs are very anxious about the tutoring effect and want to put a stop to it. This would give a great incentive to the kind of parent happy to shell out for extra-curricular to divert their cash to music (useful) rather than 11+ tutoring (redundant). Suggest it to them!

Bonsoir Thu 19-Sep-13 18:27:02

In France DC can get extra points on their bac for music, art and other extra-curricular activities as an incentive to parents not to give up on those (costly) extras.

lade Thu 19-Sep-13 20:33:11

I agree with word factory, that many children start lots of hobbies when they're little, but as they get older, the commitments for all the hobbies naturally increases. So, children have to make a decision about which ones they want to commit to. And the others fall by the wayside.

My DD started gym, 1 hour a week, ballet tap and modern1 hour a week and swimming 1/2 hour a week. Over the years this has increased - gym is now at 18 hours, ballet has become 2 hours (but that includes dropping the tap) and swimming has fallen by the wayside.

Even if she didn't compete at gym, the hours naturally increase. They start with a half hour lesson, but this can turn into a two hour plus lesson when they're older.

As children get older, and better at their hobbies, the demands upon them increases and they have to choose. My daughter also learns the flute (she's year 5). It's manageable at the moment, as she doesn't get a lot of homework. But when she goes to secondary and her homework increases, she'll have to make decisions about which of the three hobbies (gym / ballet / flute) she wants to commit to and which ones she'll give up. Unfortunately, you can't do all the extra curricular stuff with all the extra homework at secondary school.

Personally, I'd prefer to see less homework, and more children doing extra curricular like music. And I'm a teacher too grin.

stillenacht Thu 19-Sep-13 20:47:12

I always just want to shout from the rooftops, "Music is an academic subject!!! Please don't drop it as the benefits it provides academically in a non musical way are countless as well as the obvious musical benefits".

The last 7 Oxbridge students across the whole sixth form at my school all (bar one) had music grades at grade 6 and above and 5 had GCSE Music at A/A*. (2 did A level music). Please please support music as Gove is trying to kill it off and schools are dropping it/cutting it downhmm

Bonsoir Thu 19-Sep-13 20:51:36

I agree stillenacht - music is an academic
discipline with all sorts of cross-disciplinary and transferable skill benefits in addition to the pure joy of it.

Music is however extremely expensive to teach... Which is why state funded education has such a hard time supporting it.

lljkk Thu 19-Sep-13 20:57:30

That must be why I am so lousy at music. hmm

Dd got to grade 3 on her primary school lessons but we haven't heard anything about when her lessons will start in y7. I'm feeling a bit frustrated. May try emailing the music dept. this weekend.

I don't know how music lessons will work well, Dd has to remember a different timeslot each week for her lesson. I'd rather she went private but she's keen to still do it thru school.

Can't comment about quitting; I'd say most violin kids simply lost interest or wouldn't practice regularly so their parents didn't want to pay any more, by y3-4. Nothing to do with workloads, computers or other exC activities.

Bonsoir Thu 19-Sep-13 21:00:36

DSS1 did violin and DSS2 did guitar. DSS1 didn't carry on for long because playing a violin on your own is awful. DSS2 managed several years but he has no voice so his enthusiasm waned at his failure to perform in public as he imagined!

SoWhatSoWhatSoWhat Thu 19-Sep-13 21:32:50

Has anyone had the pleasure of themselves or their children learning the violin by the Suzuki method? Fine for kids of 4 (and what it was designed for) but soul-destroying for children from 7 up. I was 'taught' by one of the foremost Suzuki specialists of the time. The main activity was playing 'Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star' in a number of variations. No effort was made to train us to make a pleasant noise. Learning the vibrato technique (the way of wobbling your wrist and the finger on the string to get the violin to sing) was never mentioned. Lessons at school were individual then, but only consisted of playing scales (badly) for half an hour.

Somehow I eventually scraped through Grade 5. Goodness knows how low the standards must have been, because I sounded like shit.

Unfortunately it wasn't until I was 21 that I was exposed to Irish music, that I discovered was really exciting, that I'd really like to have been able to play it, and that I would have been able to play with people in pubs etc all my life and used it to have a great time musically and socially.

Ten wasted years, just to spend my twenties watching other people who had had the chance to choose non-orchestral instruments and were taught properly, playing in bands and having fun, while I sat there being 'the lead guitarist's girlfriend', too embarrassed to get up and have a go myself because I after all that 'tuition', I just wasn't good enough.

My prominent Suzuki teacher died a few years ago, and got a wonderful obituary in the paper. I read it and spat.

VinegarDrinker Thu 19-Sep-13 21:41:49

SoWhat there's nothing stopping you getting into playing folk now, surely? My MiL is 60 and has weekly folk fiddle lessons.

pickledsiblings Thu 19-Sep-13 22:07:47

SoWhat, the complete opposite of what you say is true for us. My DD (12) plays Suzuki violin and she's been doing vibrato for a couple of years now. She has great tone and poise and has always made a lovely sound. She plays in an orchestra, has group lessons once a month and has even played in a Suzuki organised fiddle workshop. She's busked at Christmas for charity and played at the RFH and Snape Maltings. Oh and she's a music scholar. I'm sorry that your teacher did you (and the Suzuki method) such a disservice.

I think the money has to be a big part of it.

Here you can have a free instrument for the first year, but after that you have to buy your own. Lots of children give up after that first year as either their parents can't afford to buy an instrument or they don't feel that their child is sufficiently committed to warrant buying one.

We were fairly lucky that DS2 and DD's instruments weren't too expensive to buy. DS2's trumpet was bought through the county music service (I think they get bulk buy discounts) and cost about £115, DD's violin was second hand from the music shop and cost £55. They are 9 and 7 and really enjoy music, playing in County Wind Band and Strings Ensemble, so I hope they'll carry on to secondary.

DS1 is 11 and has played the piano since he was 7, but has taken up the violin too this year as he fancies trying an orchestral instrument. He is taking advantage of the fact that he can get the instrument for free for a year. I don't know whether he'll carry on when he goes to secondary next year, it is too early to tell yet.

SoWhatSoWhatSoWhat Fri 20-Sep-13 07:22:33

Pickledsiblings, that's good to hear. I wonder why my Suzuki teacher was so crap? It was the early 1970s. He was native Japanese and his English language skills were still in their early days, so perhaps that didn't help. Perhaps his rigid and unimaginative teaching methods had gone down well with little kids in Japan but he hadn't realised they might not suit older children in a less regimented society like the UK? I dunno. Does your DD have to play Twinkle Twinkle Effing Star variations though? I wouldn't have minded if it was just used to teach basic techniques when we were complete beginners - but we still had to do it, over and over again, for what seemed like years! God, I hate that tune now..

Vinegar Drinker - yes, I did have a try at learning the Irish fiddle in my 20s, and found a good teacher. Unfortunately my hands seemed to have stiffened up so much by then that I couldn't get them to do vibrato. A lot of Irish music is played very fast and I thought I'd never get up to speed enough to play with the Irish musicians I knew, so I let myself get discouraged and decided I must be no good. So I threw myself into partying and being a Gothic clothes horse for thirty years instead.

Now that I'm a middle-aged lady and that's all over, I'm looking around for things to do and wishing I had persevered with an instrument that I could play with other people. But as you say, it's never too late.. Not the fiddle now, because I injured my right arm a few years ago, but I've always liked the sound of the Uilleann pipes (Irish bagpipes).. and I believe there's an Irish music school in the city I now live in.. d'you know, that might be an idea. Perhaps I should go down there and see about having a bash.. If your MIL's doing it, perhaps there will be some other older learners too..

cory Fri 20-Sep-13 08:50:10

"Why cant kids commit to learning for the long term?Argh!!!!"

Perhaps they just found something else they wanted to commit to instead. Many parents can't afford to pay for more than one activity: if dd was to play an instrument she couldn't have drama lessons.

Besides, that early introduction to an instrument will mean they have more of a connection to music and more understanding of music later in life. Not everybody has to play. Music needs more people in the audience than up on the podium.

I gave up the piano, the cello and the guitar, basically because I gradually came to realise that they were taking time from what I really wanted to do. But I go to concerts, I buy DVD's, I watch music programmes on the telly: I am the reason the real musicians can keep going.

What about you, OP? Are you still keeping up the art you were taught in primary school? Painting watercolours, making portraits of your nearest and dearest, making pottery utensils? What about the sports- are you still committed to those? Most people tend to narrow their commitments as they grow older.

Moominmammacat Fri 20-Sep-13 09:12:37

It's just too expensive for most people. Have a look at the private schools where the majority of Y7s will be having instrumental lessons. Unfair. My worst year, when I had two DSs at junior conservatoires, was over £10,000 for fees, courses, music ...

78bunion Fri 20-Sep-13 09:22:56

I think most people are saying for your weekly individual lesson at school it is about £200 a term. If the parent is musical you can teach the child yourself which we did with some instruments - piano, singing and music theory but even so it can be expensive.

Another issue is time. I sit with the children when they practise as I am accompanying them on the piano. That is quite a time commitment. Not all parents are able to do that.

I agree with Moom that the majority of children in many private schools in Y7 will be doing lessons - I mentioned one school above with over 500 pupils a week having lessons at school. That is not the case in schools with parents who cannot afford the cost.

BanjoPlayingTiger Fri 20-Sep-13 09:34:24

In one area of the North East there are loads of secondary age musicians. Especially brass. In the schools music service they have the regional orchestra (at least 100kids) then a wind orchestra (another 30 kids) the brass band, - similar number, then they have the local orchestras as well.
This is not counting the choirs and students who have lessons but don't come along to orchestras.

I think it depends on the quality of the local schools music services. Ours go into both primary and secondary schools to do lessons and it costs very little indeed to do. If you are having lessons it costs nothing extra to go along to the ensembles, and if you aren't having lessons the ensembles only cost about £1 a week no matter how many you go to.
When both of my kids were having lessons and hiring instruments I was paying less than £30 a month in total. Reading all these comments makes me realise how lucky we are to be living up here!

schilke Fri 20-Sep-13 09:44:25

Well my dh must teach at some odd private schools as no way do the majority of year 7s learn an instrument. He teaches at 5 private schools 4 senior, 1 prep. Prep school is a choir school, yet ironically is very obstructive in actually letting the children have music lessons! Dh has to try and timetable lessons in break, lunch time, can't miss PE..... At one school they have introduced a scheme where every child gets a couple of free lessons on an instrument to try and build the numbers up.

He has had pupils drop out because they can't afford the lessons. Parents are already scraping together to pay the school fees and just can't do the lessons on top. Bit of a cheek when they tell dh the lesson fees are too high.

He taught at a very rough comp many years ago. One of his pupils was very disruptive in class, frequently excluded etc.. He was an angel in his trumpet lesson. It was the only time the boy got any one to one time. He was eventually expelled. Music lessons can be important to some children for the individual attention not for the music!

I think that the culture in the secondary school really makes a big difference. I know 3 comps round here - two of which with really thriving orchestra's and lots of music groups for all sorts of interests. The third school seems to have no interest in music whatsoever - even though I'm sure the music department would disagree.

dd is a musician even though we arent and goes to a comp. Her school have got a really thriving huge musical community and its a major part of her school social life. The headteacher plays an instrument and joins in as do many of the teachers. She gains so much out of it socially, so whilst practising scales is a chore - the rest of it is fun.

I also agree that many kids have lots of activities in primary school that all start out as an hour or two once a week. By the end of primary school they find that their activities require a lot more time and commitment. They have to start making choices about which activities they are serious about and drop the rest.

musicalfamily Fri 20-Sep-13 10:11:29

I agree that money is a reality that cannot be overlooked.

I am currently paying way over 3k for my DD1 at junior conservatoire, plus £50 x week for the other children's music lessons on top. And that's without books, petrol to get them there and back, instruments to buy, etc..

We can only afford it because I work, if for whatever reason I didn't work full time there is no way we could afford it and they would have to stop learning. It would be a massive shame, but I don't believe there would be any other choice..

Chopstheduck Fri 20-Sep-13 10:15:45

It is just sooo expensive. My dd is desperate to learn an instrument but we simply can't afford to put another child through lessons. She is older and never have the opportunity to trial anything when she was in primary. I have tried to encourage her to learn with the Girls brigade band, or offered to teach her woodwind myself but she is suffering from the Cowell affect and only wants to learn guitar which is £15 ph.

DT1 is learning violin, and it costs so much!! He is only learning it because he started on the free trial, then subsidised lessons and after all that I couldn't really turn around and tell him he couldn't continue, so now we are stuck with the bill. This year both dts get to learn the clarinet at school for free and I am dreading dt2 wanting to continue it as we simply can't afford it. Apparently so far he is struggling a bit to produce a note and I am secretly relieved. Although I can play clarinet and could teach him myself to at least grade 4 level then maybe do lessons.

FeetUpUntilChristmas Fri 20-Sep-13 10:16:33

I so agree about the importance of music if you have a talent, eldest DD did recorder at primary, and piano outside of school, but didn't take any grade exams as she suffered from nerves too badly. In senior school she joined choir and her group of friends were musical so she took up a brass instrument and started to do her exams in both instruments. She now has confidence plays in all the school ensembles including solo on her 3rd instrument (percussion) has an A grade GCSE. I am sure that developing her love of music and being able to perform enabled her to do well across all her exams.
I'm tone deaf and can't okay anything.

ZZZenagain Fri 20-Sep-13 12:07:04

When we were in Germany where we lived they offered weekend workshops a couple of times a year for strings players with a mixture of classical and film music. These were for the very young beginners through to maybe age 14, and as the children were grouped according to ability, they could accommodate all levels. So starting Friday night, all day Saturday, rehearsal and concert (tutti)on Sunday. They only charged about 15 quid and the idea was to catch children at that 'critical age' before they drop their instruments. Maybe if you could offer something like that held in the secondary school for dc who have not yet completed primary, it might help.

Another thing some schools did there was allow dc from other schools to participate in their big bands, orchestras and ensembles so you would get motivated and accomplished dc from other schools playing in the ensembles of schools other than their own. My dd who was at primary was allowed to play violin in two secondary school orchestras and had a great time, learnt a lot. Each orchestra would have 2-3 weekends a year extra practice and a yearly residential. So sociable and also musically challenging enough to keep up interest.

PandaG Fri 20-Sep-13 12:29:13

DD and DS have both given up lessons at secondary. DS had them for his first year, but then the clarinet teacher left. He found missing a different lesson each week disruptive so we didn't actively find another clarinet teacher at school, and frankly he life is very busy and expensive with other hobbies and clubs after school to fit in and find the money for another club. If he dropped a couple of things it might be possible. But, he does regularly play - he attends wind band (is the only clarinet!!) and takes his clarinet to play in school musoc lessons too. If he chooses music GCSE he will have to start learning again, but at the moment all he wants to do is play with other people.

DD had flute lessons all teh way through junior school, but as homework and other clubs increased it was a complete battle to get her to practise, and frankly her dancing lessons are so expensive that we decided taht if she would not commit to practising withh=out nagging the flute lessons would stop. She has however joined wind band and flute choir to play with others, and has come home with the flute teacher's email address and phone number...

ok my kids won't get technically better through playing with other people, but that is the bit they enjoy, not playing on their own or taking exams. They are both of a standard where they can participate, and crucially both have their own instruments - I deliberately guided them into choosing instruments we had already in the family.

I can understamd it must be soul destroying for you, but there are so many clubs out there for our kids ot take part in, and they only have so much time. DS is just more interested in STEM, and DD is more interested in dancing, and this is where they do put hours of effort.

Bonsoir Fri 20-Sep-13 12:42:44

For the parents of DC at Junior Conservatoire - what do you get for £ 3,000 ( or whatever) per year?

ZZZenagain Fri 20-Sep-13 12:52:11

if you cannot get any Kind of orchestra together or even much in the way of ensembles and yet the dept finances itself largely through concerts, it is a difficult situation. Perhaps if you did mostly film music, you could include a lot of guitars and be a bit of an unorthodox orchestra. Not sure how that would work but I suppose if they were doing mostly chords and you had some drums, it might work, would depend what other instruments you had. Perhaps even some of the teachers could join in to swell the ranks.

Ladymuck Fri 20-Sep-13 13:11:46

From another angle, how easy is it for children at your school to have lessons? Ds1 is a 12 year old who plays a large brass instrument. He also sings in a choir, plays in the rugby, hockey and cricket teams, and is in 3 other school clubs.

Most of his friends do sport, only one or two do music as well. Ds isn't the most organised of 12 year olds, but usually does fine in most things. However getting to grips with music lessons which rotate round the timetable, together with the need to get signed out of lessons in advance, and getting the work copied up and prep done has turned music into THE most stressful part of his secondary school experience. And that is before fitting in the music practice itself. I have tried to explain to the Head of Music that ds1 can only get into trouble for doing music (because he forgets to get his card signed/actually go to the lesson so gets detentions as well), which isn't the case for sport etc. With hindsight his start to secondary would have been a LOT smoother if he had stopped his instrument in Year 7.

Ds2 is in year 6, prepping for entrance exams whilst keeping up his brass instrument, singing lessons and percussion. It is hard trying to fit all of this into a week, though at present he doesn't get a detention if he fails to get himself signed out etc. But if he follows ds1 to senior school then I am not sure that I will necessarily want him taking lessons at school.

musicalfamily Fri 20-Sep-13 13:44:28

Bonsoir my DD1 gets (roughly):
- 1 hour violin
- 45 minutes piano
- theory class (max 5 kids)
- composition (includes use of technology, etc)
- ensemble
- singing
Plus other things like concerts, project days, etc...

musicalfamily Fri 20-Sep-13 13:54:53

PS before even auditioning her I checked out a number of other junior conservatoires and they were very similar both in price and what they offered!!

bigTillyMint Fri 20-Sep-13 13:58:43

DS did this. He did cornet/trumpet till the end of Y6 (and got his grade 1!!!) and then dropped it when he moved to secondary, despite them having a fantastic music department.

He is not at all naturally musical. However, he is a natural sportsman, so he wanted to focus on that. He would have driven the music teacher madsmile

Bonsoir Fri 20-Sep-13 14:07:07

Thank you musicalfamily. How many hours a week total (including practice) does your DD spend on music?

musicalfamily Fri 20-Sep-13 14:17:40

Well on the day she goes to the conservatoire she is there all day, from 9:30 til 3:30, sometimes even 4pm.
She practises every day, some days a couple of hours, some days an hour, depending on homework, etc...she is 8.

Bonsoir Fri 20-Sep-13 14:27:08

That's a lot of extra work! I suppose that £3,000 per year isn't really excessive given the major impact on her life.

BlackMogul Fri 20-Sep-13 15:00:17

I think too many people are not that bothered about whether their child learns an instrument or not and plenty of people are not home from work in time to supervise practice. Therefore the impetus to learn fades. There has been very little mention here of singing. No instrument to buy! My DDs love singing and have gained huge amounts from being in choirs at school and now university. DD1 also did music theory to get extra UCAS points. She had piano and violin lessons too but it is the singing that continues to give her the most pleasure. I think persevering with something hard shows universities and employers that you have determination, have the discipline to attend practice and rehearsals and shows you can work with other people. This is another reason why privately educated children get to the best universities. Music is strong in many private schools where lots of children play and sing and it is absolutely not mocked! Just look at the 800 boys at Harrow on the tv the other night - every one of them singing !

SoWhatSoWhatSoWhat Fri 20-Sep-13 16:27:50

If any parent here is looking for a way for their child to learn a musical instrument cheaply, they may be interested in what I've found out today.

Further upthread, a poster gave me the idea of having another bash at learning an instrument, following bad experiences at school in the 70s. I've contacted a school for Irish music (the Comhaltas) that's in my city. There are a number of branches around the country - you can find them on this map:

comhaltas.ie/locations/ (click the right arrow on the map to move over to the UK from Ireland!)

The local Comhaltas member I emailed told me: "We meet on Weds evening once a week. Adults/children are taught in small groups in the various corners of the club. There's then an adult's and a children's 'session' for all instrument learners to play together for an hour at the end."

"If you want individual lessons, as a rough guide, most adults pay £3 to £5 for a 30 minute lesson and I think the little ones pay a bit less. If you find that you want to have lessons we do encourage people to join the Comhaltas organization:-cost £8 per year for an adult and £4 for children or £14 for family membership." Comhaltas says it can offer much cheaper music lessons than normal Musicians Union rates (normally £25-£30 per hour) because they have the back-up of being an international organisation

Cost of instruments: the one I'm interested in, (the Uilleann pipes), is pretty expensive - £400 for a set of practice pipes! So I'm going to start with the tin whistle - similar to a recorder, not too difficult to learn to play some jolly tunes on, and can be played in groups with other people/instruments. And tin whistles are as cheap as chips (like, £5.99). So that's me sorted!

Comhaltas also teaches fiddle, concertina, button accordion, harp, banjo and bodhran (Irish hand drum), and can put you in touch with teachers of other instruments.

So it's not classical/orchestral, but it's a cheaper way for the cash-strapped who just want to enjoy making music.

stillenacht Fri 20-Sep-13 17:40:27

Singing, guitars and piano are all great smile I run three choirs at school but its the lack of instrumental players (strings, ww, brass) I am gutted about. Have been to primary consortia concerts where there are 50-60 flautists, where do they go between year 6 and 7. Our school has an excellent musical tradition and reputation I have just noticed a massive dip in numbers in those instruments in the last 5 years and those coming through are no longer grade 5 (for the best players) in year 7 but grades 2-3.

I have been teaching over 18 years in non selective, grammar, prep and comp and this is the worst I've known it in terms of numbers (steadily over last 5 years). Makes me hmm obviously.

Just wondering if any other classroom secondary music teachers have noticed this.

With regards to art and PE mentioned earlier. I was crap at Art and never did any and got kicked out of PE clubs for messing around shock (I went and hid in the music room!)

BlackMogul Fri 20-Sep-13 17:58:27

Music is very time consuming and there is a great conflict between music and sport, especially on Saturday mornings when children are invited to do orchestra at the music centre where we live. Only the committed do this as it means parents are tied to the routine of music school. Really brings on their confidence though. I think no-one at DDs primary schools was grade 5 in year 6 and this would represent the very musical kids only. At DD2s prep school, several were at this level. If parents are going to complain about the noise an instrument makes in the early stages of learning or does not make sure any practice is done, then is it surprising that children do not get very far and give up. I think your local music service needs to get children learning the instruments in schools into the music centre orchestras, assuming you have them. This accelerates learning and is a good springboard for secondary school, regardless of grade. But, as I said earlier, it it commitment, not computer games, TV or thinking getting good at something happens because you want it.

Jux Fri 20-Sep-13 18:18:26

It drives me nuts that sport is now deemed to be so much more important than music. All through primary, music hardly happened but sport - extra sport stuff happening every lunchtime and every evening. One truly crap choir which sang nursery songs. OK, the HT was particularly against music, but still.

Our nearest secondary is not much better.

It is desperate in this country. Music has multiple effects on the developing brain and all of them good.

lljkk Fri 20-Sep-13 18:23:10

how easy is it for children at your school to have lessons?

Well, found out y7 DD's mates got their letters & appt. times thru a week ago, but DD has had nothing. Email to head of music dept. but no joy from that either, yet. Argh.

it will cost £120-ish/term with hire, whenever it happens.

stillenacht Fri 20-Sep-13 18:29:39

My DH (Head of Dept) has a meeting which is well advertised (in assemblies, parents updates and we get all yr 7 to write it in their contact books) in first week of term, like a lesson fair where the children pick up forms. The forms all have addresses to send cheques to (for the individual teachers) but still we have had 8 pupils this week hand us the cheques. Four pupils told me they lost their letter and six forgot to come to the meeting.

The HoD is prob running lunchtime clubs and teaching all day and trying to organise his/her peris. Its chaotic this term!smile

stillenacht Fri 20-Sep-13 18:30:40

Jux I could not agree more!

stillenacht Fri 20-Sep-13 18:32:41

Jux... What kind of an idiot head teacher would be actively against music???!shockconfused Grrrr!! What an idiot.

Jux Fri 20-Sep-13 19:10:40

She was and is, stillenacht. But the word is that she's a great buddy with the Chair of Governors and apparently this has some effect. We took dd out of school after a big fuss was made about one of the teachers being ex-stage and screen and very into music, only for him to be told once he'd started that he couldn't do any music due to the noise (just ordinary music lesson noise, not great amplifier twangy guitar etc noise). He gave up and concentrated on sport then. We sent dd elsewhere, where music was better handled but still not fantastic - there was nowhere else round here though sad

Most of her experience is with the Church. It is hard to find good teachers for her, here too. I'd move for that reason alone, but dh wouldn't.

Picturesinthefirelight Sat 21-Sep-13 17:16:02

Dd has just started year 7 and has been playing piano for 3 years

Reluctantly after just two weeks it looks like she is going to have to give it up

She goes to a specialist performing arts school and dances every night from 4-6 plus Saturday mornings. By the time she gets home, eats, & does her homework it's past bedtime. There is literally no time for practice.

We're sad about it but she can't do everything.

BlackMogul Sat 21-Sep-13 23:11:16

Just wondering , Pictures, why a performing arts school would not ensure she has time to continue with Piano? This is a performing art too! Jux, I totally agree with you. Sport was everything at DD1s school, but the new Head of music was so encouraging. He also said something to us which may be worth sharing here (although no doubt some will dispute it!). He said the universities like musical students and playing an instrument and/ or singing to a high grade, orchestra and choir participation and musical theory exams count more than being in the 3rd team for hockey! Silent - I think you need better contact with your feeder schools and get the musical parents on board, early! Could you not run taster days at your school for the children learning instruments so they were encouraged to continue? Can you run a music festival for your feeder schools? Relying on forms coming back is a bit unreliable. Music in primary schools always seems to fall on a single teacher and if the school does not have one then it does not flourish. Sport brings much more instant success than music.

Picturesinthefirelight Sat 21-Sep-13 23:23:48

The school has an excellent music department & runs a music strand. Dd however is on the dance Strand She gets a music lesson, choir & vocal technique each week but as she is dancing until 6pm each night plus saturdays. something has to give.

FastLoris Sun 22-Sep-13 00:38:52

There seems to be a couple of different issues tied up in this.

Are fewer kids learning instruments, or is it just that more of those who are are learning guitar, keyboards and drums rather than orchestral instruments? I don't know.

If it's the latter, I'm not sure we can definitely say that's such a bad thing. Times change. Far more people are going to spend their lives indulging an interest in rock, jazz, folk and related forms than in classical music, so it makes sense that they're learning the instruments that are relevant to them.

I think last I looked, classical music was responsible for 3% of recorded music sales in the UK. It's probably less now. As such it's always seemed weird to me that "learning music" seems to mean "learning classical music, in the classical way" to so many people. Huge government investment in free lessons managed to delay the inherent contradiction in that coming home to roost, but it was bound to happen one day.

Change is always unsettling. I'm a classically trained musician and a music teacher so I feel the pain of the OP. But objectively, I think what I see mostly is the education system reorienting itself around the reality of most peoples' lives.

stillenacht Sun 22-Sep-13 21:01:21

Blackmogul I agree with the HoMusic who said all that.grin

Already take part in transition type concertssmile

stillenacht Sun 22-Sep-13 21:04:34

The problem is FastLoris that I teach in a selective school and management expect a thriving school orchestra (we have 50 or so in it so not too bad, but they are overwhelmed with the older students). Every year we have a reshuffle when year 13/11 leave but every year less from lower years coming through sadlywink.

curlew Mon 23-Sep-13 00:03:02

Pictures- but that means she doesn't have time for anything. That can't be right.

78bunion Mon 23-Sep-13 07:47:07

May be where we live (SE) is different because of the emphasis from immigrant families in private schools on hard work, Tiger mothers, practising, doing things which are hard. Perhaps that is why there are loads of children learning instruments. I suppose there may have been a drop off but I have not noticed it. If your prospective employer might sing in a choir or play in an orchestra because you are from or going into that kind of middle class culture it does no harm to have that in common with employers and everyone knows it is pretty difficult to get a couple of grade 8s so that is fairly good CV enhancement too never mind it is fun for life.

Picturesinthefirelight Mon 23-Sep-13 09:59:23

She doesn't get home until at least 7.30pm so by the time you factor in homework (approximately 30-60 mins per night though she does try & do some in the car it's time for bed. She's in bed by 9pm as she has to get up at 6am.

We feel she has to have at least 10-15 mins down time each night so she doesn't get burnt out. She is having individual singing lessons as well and music theory group lessons.

Pictures - that sounds an awful lot. 10-15 minutes down time really isnt enough. It's barely time to read a chapter of a book. Do the kids really manage that long term?

Sounds like its a long drive or bus journey.

curlew Tue 24-Sep-13 08:27:22

"We feel she has to have at least 10-15 mins down time each night so she doesn't get burnt out."

That is not viable long term. It just isn't.

RussiansOnTheSpree Tue 24-Sep-13 09:00:34

curlew It is for kids who are like that. They don't view the dancing (or acting or practising) as work. They view everything else as a pain (possibly even enforced Telly watching) that takes them away from what they want to be doing.

curlew Tue 24-Sep-13 09:29:48

I know. That's why their parents have to take charge. Just because a child wants to do something doesn't mean they should.

RussiansOnTheSpree Tue 24-Sep-13 10:01:15

No curlew, they don't. They will do what they feel is right for their child. There is nothing intrinsically better about watching Telly than dancing or playing an instrument. Or rehearsing for a play/show. If I was you I'd save my disapproval for parents who 'let' their kids play on xboxes. Of course, there absolutely is a time and a place for sending you parents and siblings funny pictures of animals with hilarious captions (which seems to be the main teen and preteen activity this month) but that activity can actually be conducted alongside things like dance, practice etc (and indeed seems to happen most often when the senders are on the bus. And the sendees are in meetings).

I wonder - would you be so disapproving if Pictures DD was spending a lot of time doing elite sport? Or horse riding? Or dog walking? Is it just the arts you are so against?

Lancelottie Tue 24-Sep-13 10:05:56

DS, while nothing like so dedicated, was out of the house last Weds till 10 pm without a break, because he had a band rehearsal, music lesson and drama rehearsal all in the same evening, and was outraged at the thought of missing any.

So I can sort of see where Pictures is coming from. If DS had the chance to go to a performing arts school he would leap at it.

curlew Tue 24-Sep-13 10:08:25

What a very bizarre post!

What I am against is only having 10-15 minutes "down time" a day! I would think that whatever he or she was a doing with the rest of the time. I am aware that there are children who would pursue their particular "thing" to the exclusion of all else. And I believe that it is their parent's responsibility to make sure that there is balance in their lives.

BackforGood Tue 24-Sep-13 10:28:23

stillenacht - I have 2 dc who went up to secondary full of enthusiasm for their music. ds was a cornet player and a singer, dd (3 yrs later, different school) a flute player.
Both wanted to carry on their music. Both got worn down by the complete lack of 'oomph' from their respective music departments.
ds had NO opportunities to sing (until he started a drama club when he was in Yr10), and the 'brass ensemble' was so uninspiring, he on'y lasted 6 months before losing the will to live.
At dd's school she tried to play in the flute choir, but got fed up of turning up to find it had been cancelled, etc., she too stopped bothering. There was one opportunity to join a choir - probably 50 Yr7s sang 2 Christmas Carols, and that was it - no choir happened again.

So it's not always the dc who stop doing music through their own choice, it's the lack of opportunity, through the lack of imagination and enthusiasm of the music teachers in these 2 schools. sad

DropYourSword Tue 24-Sep-13 10:37:21

I was forced to continue to play viola for a couple of years in secondary school. I just didn't enjoy it at all. It was a real chore, not a pleasure and in the end didn't get me anywhere. Looking back, I really don't see what the benefit was off forcing me to continue. Nothing I was ever given was anywhere near the kind of music I enjoyed and there was no grade system for me, so nothing to even work towards, which I think I would have at least appreciated. I understand however that that isn't really the case for most music students and that the grade system is pretty pregnant in music teaching. No idea why it wasn't mentioned by my musicteacher?! If they aren't enjoying it, they should be allowed to stop.

RussiansOnTheSpree Tue 24-Sep-13 10:38:12

curlew And there was I thinking you telling pictures that her DD's life 'isn't viable' was bizarre (given that you know very little about it - which is exactly the position I'm in and why I know I'm not qualified to tell her how to parent).

curlew Tue 24-Sep-13 11:34:01

It is not viable in the long term for anyone to only have 10-15 minutes down time a day. I don't have to know anything else about the child concerned's life to know that.

I think that with any activity, if you are doing it to the exclusion of not having any free time at all you risk burning out.

I say this as a parent of a child who is very driven and tries to balance her music with her academics and her sport. If it were up to her she would work til 10pm every night and its my job to make sure that she has some time off. Else by the time she's half way through university she's going to have a nervous breakdown. I can see that when she's exhausted she doesnt let herself off at all and that's no good for anyone.

ZZZenagain Tue 24-Sep-13 12:13:57

My guess is Pictures cares more about her own dd's wellbeing than any of us do and I am sure she wouldn't have her at this school if it was exhausting her dd or making her stressed and unhappy. Probably all that dancing every day after lessons is giving her an adreniln boost and keeping her top fit. It maybe is easier to manage that than say a musically intense school with lots of practise of instruments - sitting bolt upright at the piano for 2 hours after school I think is more likely to cause you problems than dancing.

Picturesinthefirelight Tue 24-Sep-13 13:41:43

Whew. Didn't realise I would cause such a debate

I do worry about the commute - basically she has a bursary but not an MDS award so we can't afford for her to board at school

We've now arranged for her to eat her evening meal at school with the boarders which has given her a bit if extra time.

When she got back last night she managed 20 mins piano practice. She then got bored watching TV do started doing her stretches. I had to tell her to stop in the end

She reads a lot. She's a real bookworm and usually reads or plays on her iPad on the way to & from school.

If she was at normal school shed be finishing at 4pm then is be driving her to various dance classes most nights. The only difference being she danced from 4.25pm - 7.15 but With a 45 min break half way through when she ate & dud homework in the changing room with her friends.

RussiansOnTheSpree Tue 24-Sep-13 14:58:43

Pictures smile My DD2 (who is younger than your DD, still at primary school) does either music or dance or drama after school every day of the week, and she currently has an extra dance class on saturdays and a full day of rehearsals for two shows she is in on Sundays. So I know what it's like! She only lives 20 mins away from her primary school though. Things will have to change at secondary school, when she goes - she'll be able to take one instrumental lesson in school again (her primary school stopped offering flute this term which we were very hmm about) and music theory too, and I guess we might make her drop one dance lesson. Although we might not.

OP - she definitely won't be giving up her instruments though. smile

78bunion Tue 24-Sep-13 15:06:20

It depends on the child. Many want 4.30 - 10 to be down time every day. Others never stop doing school work, school hobbies or whatever.

I do feel the music schools can be a bit much for some children which probably ours could have got into (lots of high grades early on, music scholarships for 3 of them etc) as for ours music was one of other hobbies too and not a passion in the way it has to be if you going to go into that kind of environment (and same with dance and drama schools).

I am sure like a lot of parents who are into their children do a lot of high standard classical music though parents do try to pick a school which is going to match their child (and we have been lucky to achieve that - I would have not coped easily with a school with not many children doing classic music).

bruffin Tue 24-Sep-13 15:12:10

My Dcs gave up piano in primary because their teacher left, who was lovely and replaced with a really crap teacher. She shouted at ds, who is dyslexic and struggled to read music but was good at memorising pieces and gave my DD one piece to learn that was little more than a 3 fingered exercise for the whole of one term. She also had her favorites and piano assemblies went from every child performing their piece what ever level they were, to her favorites performing 3 or 4 pieces while other children were stuck doing a single simple duet. It was awful and many children stopped playing despite years of lessons.
DD went on to take singing for a while at secondary but the cost became prohibitive and we couldnt really afford it anymore.

RussiansOnTheSpree Tue 24-Sep-13 15:24:33

bunion - my DS wants 'downtime' 24/7 grin (so do I, actually. grin )

RussiansOnTheSpree Tue 24-Sep-13 15:29:16

DD1's primary stopping flute (the teacher retired, they didn't replace her) has been a real pain for us. Luckily, DD2's teacher (who teaches her in school) teaches at a private school quite close to where we live. She normally only teaches secondary school aged children but she offered to teach DD2 because she is already doing pretty well, and hopefully if DD2 ends up going to the same school as DD1 then there will be continuity. DD2's school lets her leave 15 mins early one day a week, so she can fit the flute lesson in before one of her dance lessons. It means she has a really jammed day though, and things would have been a lot more convenient if she was still learning in school. But it is what it is.

ZZZenagain Tue 24-Sep-13 18:14:50

It is wonderful to have a day or at least an afternoon where you don't have to go out and do something. I feel like that so I could imagine dc do too but sometimes dc love something so much, it doesn't feel like having to do something. I know dd's friend who does martial arts 8 x week told me when I asked her how she manages, that it is easy for her because she loves doing it. I suppose if she was going to a Tutor on Mondays, chess on Tuesdays, cello on Wednesdays etc it would feel like a heavy burden because she would feel she perhaps has to do it all rather than really enjoys it all. I like to laze about and read a book so I don't really understand massively active young people but I don't see how it can be a bad thing to exercise a lot if you want to do it.

I know with my own dd if she has spent 10 minutes on maths, she starts yawning, her eyes glaze over with boredom and she genuinely seems to get incredibly tired. I presume because she has to do something that doesn't interest her in the least. Yet she can play the violin for 2,3,4+ hours a day - given the chance and she doesn't get tired. I suppose it is like tinkering about with lego, trying to get the Perplexus ball to the end of the labryinth or just drawing complicated squiggle designs and relaxes you if you really like it, even if you have to concentrate to do it.

Mind you I feel the same about 10 minutes into looking into maths so she may have that from me.

Pictures sounds a lot less scary put that way smile

Dd has two really full on days with very little time at home. I wish they were spread out more.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 24-Sep-13 22:45:35

Hello Stilenhact?

I can't speak for all primaries but round here there seem to be a few dc in each class who have an individual instrumental lesson from the ITP.
Anybody else who plays anything either has a private lesson and these are fewer dc than with ITP, or as part of the whole class, for one year as wider participation.
It isn't enough. It's ok for authorities to say we have the ensembles and teachers, unless there are more children encouraged to play.
Many primary teachers don't have much of an interest in music, nor the time, to be fair.
If parents don't encourage, most won't get the opportunity.
Our LA is fantastic and offers subsidised tuition for those on out of work benefit. You can also join as many ensembles as you wish for £25 per half term. There are bands, ensembles, groups, orchestras, and every imaginable instrument has little groups.
My dd would practice and muck about with music all day if I didn't stop her. Her lessons and practice equate to about three quarters of time spent on education.
She spent an hour today waving a stick around, to a cd, showing how well she thinks she can conduct grin

morethanpotatoprints Wed 25-Sep-13 11:18:21

That should read £25 per term, so it is even more reasonably priced.
I think the biggest barrier to be honest is the parents and at times the authority. There seems to be no continuation from primary to secondary.
If the music service were to send follow up reports to secondary, or encourage dc to play in ensembles, the move to secondary would be just as smooth as for other subjects the dc do. The dc would just turn up to ensemble at the beginning of term as they did in primary.

Jux Wed 25-Sep-13 14:11:15

Which authority, potatoprints? I think I need to move!

morethanpotatoprints Wed 25-Sep-13 22:12:10

Jux, will pm but only as it may identify my dd.

Sokmonsta Thu 26-Sep-13 20:36:19

For me, or rather my parents, the barrier to me continuing my piano/violin/recorder lessons at secondary school was cost. They couldn't afford to continue lessons in just one instrument. Primary lessons were free. Secondary lessons were £30 an hour every week. The teacher kindly agreed to me doing just half an hour but long term to get a good grounding it just wasn't feasible to continue.

78bunion Fri 27-Sep-13 07:32:00

Also those short of money do use the internet. I taught the children theory and taught them all the grades just about all of them up to 5. They learned the piano from parents at home too (no cost). I taught myself the violin to grade 8 and singing to grade 8 without a single lesson (although my piano and theory lessons - both grade 8s too) helped mean that was possible, although obviously if you can afford lessons that will for most children be the best option. I also did music GCSE alone as a teenager teaching myself - library books etc.

Clayhanger Thu 24-Oct-13 08:22:17

Putting the cost issue aside (though obviously it's a major barrier!) I wonder if there's another way of approaching it. You meet so many adults who regret having given up an instrument that I almost wonder whether there's scope for targeting the parents to learn along with the children. Learners' orchestras shouldn't be restricted by age.
My DDs were in a Saturday music centre for years which allowed parents to join the main orchestra - there was already a parents' choir.

I sympathise with stillenacht though. DDs' school (comp) has a fantastically dynamic music department. There's a Y7 concert in the first term and all music lessons are geared to that - a mass choir. But the orchestra isn't too strong- the good players don't want to join because it's too scratchy. All school music teachers have my admiration for their patience!

anotherboringnickname Fri 25-Oct-13 14:04:15

OP, it's interesting you mention the 11plus, though. I know kids who were tutored several hours a week. No more time for music! Isn't it a symptom of the academics taking over, parents anxious of getting into the good schools, getting the A* for UNI, etc?
It does get more difficult and demanding with time!
My DS is into music, he is a music scholar with three instrumental lessons a week plus choir, ensembles, etc. On top of all that time, there is the individual practice time which he has to do everyday after finishing homework, while many of his friends, after homework, can just chill out playing games or watching TV. This requires an iron will.

goonIcantakeit Sun 27-Oct-13 16:45:59

Hi Stillenacht,

I work part-time in a primary and we are working on transition right now. I feel the same as you from the other side of the fence: "All that work, all that input.... then they give up at secondary!"

You already said you are doing transition links so I won't try to teach-my-grandmother-to-suck-eggs.

Another thought: how about, at the beginning of year 7, you get that list of "I used to play x but gave it up for 11+ tutoring" kids and say to them "right, if you still have it, do not sell it, do not return a hire instrument, because you will be using it in each and every KS3 music lesson...."

This, of course, would mean that your classroom music syllabus would then need to incorporate use of a range of instruments in every lesson - but that, as you know, can be done, especially with composition work being such a desired focus these days.

let me know what you think! HTH.

SE13Mummy Mon 11-Nov-13 23:06:21

Here in SE13 I'd say one of the major barriers is the lack of support by school leadership for music as a curriculum subject.

My own experience as a primary school teacher is that there is so much pressure on children making progress in Literacy and numeracy that that lots of class teachers panic when children disappear out of parts of lessons for 30 minutes once or twice a week. Personally, it's not something that bothers me as I spend at least 5 hours a week teaching Literacy and numeracy - if a child doesn't 'get' what we're doing in 4.5 hours, I doubt that the 30 minutes that they are in a recorder/brass/woodwind lesson will be the dealbreaker.

I am completely biased as I'm someone who played musical instruments all the way through primary and secondary school, loved singing in choirs, playing in the youth orchestra etc. and I would like every child I teach to have the opportunity to do the same. Sadly, until primary schools are no longer judged by their KS2 test results (by Ofsted, the press and by parents), I expect that most Headteachers will feel they are justified in claiming that parents want high KS2 results and so music has to be an extra that is squeezed in here and there. It's not the case in all schools - I know of a couple of primaries near here who have made music a priority. At those schools every single child will learn at least one instrument throughout their time at primary school.

Another possible barrier is the apparent lack of opportunity to perform through the school and the age limits put on other opportunities. For example, DD1 took up the trumpet aged 7.5 (because she had been desperate to for ages, had picked up the recorder/reading music quickly, had enough adult teeth and there were spaces in the brass teacher's timetable) having a 30 minute group lesson, at lunchtimes, once a week. In Y3 she was put in a group with 2 children, one from Y5, one from Y6 and took grade 2 after a year of playing (she passed with distinction). The other two were able to go to a very local schools event for brass and woodwind players along with all other Y5+ pupils who were having school music lessons. DD1 wasn't allowed to go because she was in Y3. Unbeknown to me, her brass teacher and the recorder teacher had put her name forward to attend the event. Being in Y3 was the only stumbling block. So, a highly motivated, keen and musical pupil missed out because she's not in the correct year group. Other children from DD1's school returned from the event saying, "you should have been there - X can only play 3 notes and she came, you'd have loved it". She won't be in the correct year group to participate in any of the Lewisham/Southwark/Lambeth music events for another year from now. I'm not sure that's a great way to enthuse young musicians! Luckily for DD1, she does get to play at church once a month and through the Music Service Saturday morning groups so it's not as though being barred from that event (which was for the launch of a new group) has prevented her from playing. Chances are, there will be children in Y4 for whom that would have been their only easy opportunity to engage with music socially.

I was made to take piano lessons from about age 6 to about age 13 in the 70s, got to grade 5 level but never took the exam. I did my best but clearly wasn't very talented. I finally managed to persuade my parents to let me stop it at that point and I have never wanted to go back and do it again, never regretted stopping for a single minute, it was just a relentless slog. I don't feel I've missed out in the slightest, it just isn't where my interests lie. However while I don't think anyone should have to carry on for years if they hate it, I do think that everyone should have the opportunity to learn and see if they want to pursue it.

As for my own DCs, DS (9) did keyboard in year 3 and it was a total slog for him (he has ASD and poor coordination). I will admit my rusty skills were useful in helping him. DS (7) wants to learn instruments but hasn't been offered anything through school and already does ballet, tap, Brownies, drama, rugby and swimming outside school and it's hard to see how we could fit it in TBH. Maybe the home learning via the internet will be the way to go for us, my rusty skills might come in handy. Our school does not appear to prioritise music very much unfortunately.

arfishy Mon 09-Dec-13 02:34:09

At DDs school everybody starts an instrument at 5 - mainly violins & cellos. Then in year 3 the brass/woodwind program kicks in and everybody gets an instrument and a free lesson on whichever instrument they have chosen. DD started violin at 5 and chose clarinet in year 3, which has now evolved into Saxophone. She has violin lessons out of school and percussion & saxophone in school, one fixed and one rotating slot.

She is 10 and doing grade 4 for violin and saxophone so may just reach the mythical grade 5s by 11! This isn't considered as particularly spectacular by the school - they have to be grade 7 in year 6 for a music scholarship shock

We are finding that sport is frequently clashing with music now as another poster mentioned. Next year sailing clashes with her violin ensemble rehearsal on Tuesday and another orchestral commitment on Saturday. We had to do all of the sport enrolments before we got the results of the ensemble auditions so now we're double booked.

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