Ok,assuming child is very able musically-what is next?

(169 Posts)
Worriedandlost Sat 02-Nov-13 21:56:00

Dd1 is taking music lessons and considered to be good at it (piano/violin). Assuming that pattern continues, what is next? To carry on with private lessons as it is now or are there other ways? And what is about future, what are employment opportunities for the adult musicians? I have heard that music area is very competitive and low paid. The reason for the question is that dd1 is coming to the point where practicing takes too much of our time and this affects other activities, this is not to mention cost of the lessons, would be nice to know that there are at least remote possibilities to get something back out of it smile

Periwinkle007 Sat 02-Nov-13 22:02:07

I suppose it really depends on if it is something your DD wants to do. I don't mean does she enjoy it now as I assume she does but more does she have dreams of being a musician? what sort of musician? would she like her life to go in that direction? OR does she actually just enjoy it at the moment and happen to be very good at it but secretly want to be a librarian, vet, author, scientist, police woman or something.

Worriedandlost Sat 02-Nov-13 22:21:46

Some time ago she said she wants to be a dinner lady at school (saying that she refuses to have school lunches smile). Again, it is a lot of assumptions in this topic as dd1 is still pretty young, but assuming she likes it in the future, or does not really have other preferences (I never had, my parents decided and chose a very good degree for me smile)-shall I try and gently push her into music direction, assuming she is good at it?

antimatter Sat 02-Nov-13 22:23:00

Have you checked for Music Service in your county/borough?
There she can play in an orchestra, learn theory, take up another instrument - all depends what they offer (all at discounted prices)

titchy Sat 02-Nov-13 22:52:08

Encourage yes push even gently no! How good actually is she? Grade 5 age 6 after 2 years of lessons happily practicing two hours a day? Or grade 2 aged 10 after two years? Former = big wow, latter = normal progress. How much practice is she doing for it to actually affect family life? An hour a day should be manageable I'd have thought?

titchy Sat 02-Nov-13 22:53:11

County music services IME aren't that big a subsidy I've found unfortunately.

Worriedandlost Sun 03-Nov-13 00:02:58

antimatter, she is doing two instruments with private teachers and one of the teachers took her at orchestra, so I think it is more or less ok for the moment, I just try to make my mind how much effort to put in a long term

Worriedandlost Sun 03-Nov-13 00:46:31

titchy, I just read the book written by mum of Maxim Vengerov, who is considered to be a violin genius of our time, she says he was practicing 7 hrs a day from age 5 smile. Under mum's supervision till about 11yo if I remember correctly smile. I personally do not believe that musical geniuses come from practicing two hours a day no matter how talented child is smile.

No, dd1 is certainly not grade 5 age 6, though she had her first grade at 5, and never will be grade 2 at 10 smile. But may I not give too much information in order to keep your attention on my questions smile, as I said-they are based on a lot of assumptions. And I ask them to clear my head first of all. So, if her progress is really good what I do next? And what sort of career one can have in music? Violin player in the local orchestra at the best?

She does not practice hour a day, it is usually minimum hour a day on one instrument, can be up to three hours together (no hard pushing though!), as teachers give quite a lot to practice! And we have to do it together as dd1 is still too young.

bsc Sun 03-Nov-13 00:53:39

Do you have access to a music school or conservatoire?

My brother was grade 5 aged 7.8- he went to music school, but is not a professional musician now (though a rather good amateur wink)

Giyadas Sun 03-Nov-13 01:20:39

Don't know if this is helpful but there is a shortage of certain instrumentalists, Not sure if she old enough to start but oboe players and the like are usually quite sought after. It may give her more opportunity to play in groups, even if it's just for fun.

1805 Sun 03-Nov-13 18:46:22

well, she can only have a career in music if she really wants one.

Its a bit like asking what sort of career you can have as a footballer…
you could be an international soloist and earn loads of money, you could play in a top orchestra and earn a decent wage (think around £35k), you could be the leader of a top orchestra and earn more, you could be a freelance player doing sessions and earn as much as you work, you could teach and earn a teachers wage, she could become injured and not be able to play, she may become disillusioned and not like the un-socialable hours required, she may be really happy having music as a hobby.

The normal way into the profession is to learn locally with a teacher, take A levels, then go to music college, then audition for jobs.

Is that what you wanted to know?

1805 Sun 03-Nov-13 18:52:05

Or depending how old she is, she could audition for a school such as Chethams, or Purcell for example. Then onto music college…..
Or put her on Britain's Got Talent grin

starrystarryknut Sun 03-Nov-13 18:56:33

1805 is spot on. If she wants it, it will just develop by itself, from her own impetus, if she doesn't, she will lose interest and it will stop or change. You cannot really "make" someone be a musician. They either are, or they're not. Speaking as a musician who also does some teaching, I can also say that a good teacher can spot within a very short space of time if the student has "it" or not. And there's nothing wrong with "not it" - you can still have a lifetime of enjoyment and fulfilment as a good amateur outside the profession. And frankly be able to earn much more money and work more sociable hours. But that is the child/musician's decision to make - not the parents. It's hard to explain but this is a thing that is really outside the guiding hands of parenthood. Talk to her teacher, but even though she is a child, let her make the decisions.

1805 Sun 03-Nov-13 18:56:56

Or put her up for BBC Young Musician of the Year

teacher123 Sun 03-Nov-13 18:57:10

Speaking as a music teacher I would say the following things:
1) where do you live? If you're within a reasonable distance of London, Manchester or Birmingham the music colleges do Saturday schools (places by audition). It means they get all tuition in one place on one day and includes things like orchestras, choirs, theory etc
2) private school music scholarship, this can be a way out of having to do all the running around, again lessons usually on site and if you pick the right school, plenty of appropriate ensembles etc
3) what are your DDs music teachers like? Are they aiming high for her and realistic about her talents?
4) usual pattern is grade 8/poss diploma whilst still at school and then university or music college. Music college is pretty much entirely practical, university more academic study of music.

I think it is pretty negative to say that you need to get 'something back out of it', if she was really good at swimming would you feel the same way? I always knew music was what I wanted to spend my life doing, and yes there are many better paid professions, but that wasn't and isn't important to me.

starrystarryknut Sun 03-Nov-13 18:57:24

1805 just wondering from your username if you are a fellow member of the squeaky band, btw?

1805 Sun 03-Nov-13 19:03:44

Yes - agree with starry - you will never 'make' her become a professional musician. It's hard. But by all means find out what it entails.

FYI - both me and dh are professional musicians (classically trained) and although our dc are good at their instruments, we are actively encouraging them into other (better paid) careers and keep music as a hobby!!!!

1805 Sun 03-Nov-13 19:05:24

By squeaky do mean 'modern'? No I'm not!

starrystarryknut Sun 03-Nov-13 20:02:10

Nooo 1805 I'm thinking gut strings and out of tune woodwind!!

And like you, I'm a professional musician, and my DC are both musically trained, both reading music - one at Oxbridge, one at a London conservatoire... against my begging and pleading. Musician NO! Captain of Industry/Lawyer YES!

Like I say, if it's in them, you can't change it.

starrystarryknut Sun 03-Nov-13 20:03:25

Oh yes, and I'm a (not out of tune if I can help it) 1805-ish type

1805 Sun 03-Nov-13 20:27:45

ha! now i get you! nooooooooo in the middle mainstream me!
good luck to everyones dc!! mine are going to be a lawyer and a vet! (although dd very much wants to be on the stage, but there's hope for ds yet!).

starrystarryknut Sun 03-Nov-13 20:38:26

Oh yes, vet, lawyer, doctor, managing director, accountant!! ACTUARY!!! Ah, fond dreams...

Worriedandlost Sun 03-Nov-13 22:25:15

Giyadas, probably too young, but she can play in groups with her violin?

CURIOUSMIND Sun 03-Nov-13 22:26:02

Like many careers, musicians life differ hugely, some international stars, some prefessors in music college, adjudicators,some teach in private schools, board examiners, some struggle to find a pupil, some do local music service, teach year 2 group recorder. But if you absolutely love it and really talented and willing to work hard, I am sure you will find you comfortable place ,the life style you love. Some people enjoy evening performance, as the centre of stage, some don't, would rather sit down as audience, but a music lover.
The music teachers I know, both long time examiners, one is orchestra conductor as well, both teach in private schools, and teach privately. Both have long enough list of pupil, and long list of pupils's name on tropies, both have wonderful reputation made me proud just by knowing them, have such good energy for their age and love of their family life . Both have definitely a high above average income, of course they are working hard you know.

How old is your DD, when did she start, how much practice did she do to achieve where she is now?

My another comment is :when you are not sure , you are not ready. If she is absolutely telented, with little teaching, fraction of practice time, achieved far far beyond her age, full of natural sparks, natural style, then you will know what's next.

Worriedandlost Sun 03-Nov-13 22:34:34

1805, I think it is more about life philosophy smile As I said above my parents chose degree for me, same for my dh. So, apparently, strong mind regarding career choice is not running in our family smile. Dd1 loves doing music, does not like practice too much of course. She appears not to be strong minded too. I really think I can forward her where I think it is right. It is up to her to achieve something though. But thank you for describing the opportunities.

Worriedandlost Sun 03-Nov-13 22:39:37

teacher123 thank you for your input! Yes, we live within the commute distance of London and Saturday school is a good idea, thank you! But it is not necessary to get there as at early age as possible, is it?

mistlethrush Sun 03-Nov-13 22:55:15

I was at school with two people that did the Saturday music school in London - one is a principal in a top London orchestral, the other didn't do music at uni and has another profession - although she still plays. I did my local county music school (I started quite a bit later than they did) and really enjoyed that, did a music degree, but then decided I didn't want to play or teach full-time so had probably better find another profession, despite really enjoying my degree - I still play and sing regularly though.

Violin is a really good instrument to play - there are 34 violins (and another 14 violas) if you have a full symphony orchestra - so plenty of opportunities. This compares to 2 (or if you're really lucky, 3) oboes, flues, clarinets etc.

I would make sure that she is optimising her practise rather than simply doing the hours - 10 mins concentrated playing is probably better than 30 mins general playing to a certain extent anyway.

Worriedandlost Sun 03-Nov-13 23:10:21

CURIOUSMIND, thanks for your comment! The thing about being "absolutely talented" is that I am not a musician and only have about half an year of musical training, as my parents never pushed me-I liked it, but I needed a good push to continue and they did not recognise it.

Obviously dd1's teachers praise her, but all children get it from their teachers, don't they? so you always have to take it with a pinch of salt. My inner feeling based on what I see is that it is for her. But then my dd1 has a friend who is taking the same route, nowhere close to my dd1 by abilities and progress (as I was told by teachers), and yet her parents think she is a genius. Apparently they are wrong, but I can be wrong too, cannot I? smile. Dd1's teacher says she is excellent, hard work but she will be great at the end (because of behaviour), very musical, but then every second child gets it. You see, my intention is not to tell the world about my great dd1 smile but decide for myself what I need to do smile

But I'll tell you that she is KS1 age, and started piano at 4.3 and violin at 4.8. Still too early to discuss the future with teachers! Suspected to be autistic (which indicates that she may indeed be very good at music as some of them are!)

Worriedandlost Sun 03-Nov-13 23:11:35

mistlethrush , thank you!

Worriedandlost Sun 03-Nov-13 23:19:03

And may I take the opportunity and check-my understanding is that violin is an "easier" instrument from career point of view? Dd1 likes both, occasionally likes one more than another, depends on which one seems to be easier at the moment smile

mistlethrush Sun 03-Nov-13 23:38:46

There are more 'openings' for violinists than pianists - pianists really need to be soloists or accompanists (or play chamber music - but that is more or less soloist) However, piano is a really good accompaniment for violin - I did both and I'm sure it helped, even though the piano never felt comfortable compared to violin / viola.

1805 Sun 03-Nov-13 23:41:00

Well I just hope she wants to do it. I can't imagine how you could do this job otherwise. Why not direct her to a job which pays more and works more sociable hours?

1805 Sun 03-Nov-13 23:47:53

OMG I've just seen how old your dd is!!!!!!!!!!!!!
relax! keep both instruments going and join local orchestras when she is older. If she is good enough, you will come across people to guide you what to do next.

curlew Sun 03-Nov-13 23:49:40

Please don't even think this way if she is KS1 age. Things change so much.make sure she has all the space she needs for music- but stay in the now.

Strumpetron Sun 03-Nov-13 23:53:47

I think you should concentrate on letting her be a child. MINIMUM one hour and up to 3 a day? That's a bit OTT OP.

You simply cannot push a career on her. Whether your parents did it or not, it's not fair and will cause her unwarranted stress.

MrsHoolie Sun 03-Nov-13 23:54:35

I'm a professional violinist in an orchestra.

1805 is spot on with her advice.

There are bound to be some small local groups she can join,there are often groups even for beginners.

Tbh most of my colleagues would not particularly encourage a career in music as it is extremely competitive. In our orchestra we usually expect about 150 applicants for a violin job,we'll hear maybe 40 for an audition of which 8 will get a 'trial'. The trial can go on for two years,sometimes more and then one person will be successful (hopefully!). So I wouldn't say there were necessarily more job opportunities per Se. Having said that as a freelance player yes there are possibilities. However the freelance world is quite shaky at the moment.
There are 'endangered species' of instruments,bassoon/horn/oboe etc but if you're not outstanding you won't get a job.
If she enjoys it then encourage her,the best thing about playing an instrument is the social aspect,especially when growing up. Actually,that's not true it still is!
So....Saturday conservatoire or local group,and maybe look into the National Children's Orchestra for the future.

Worriedandlost Mon 04-Nov-13 00:06:58

1805, I would love her to become a barrister but I am afraid it is too competitive smile

No need to faint because of dd1 age smile - music is something you have to start very early to become exceptionally good, this is to do with the way brain develops smile, let me also refer to Maxim Vengerov again, he started at the gentle age of 4.8 and was practising for 7 hours from about 5 or 6 yo. And yet, he admits that his parents pushed him a lot as he was not happy to practise. We all know the result, don't we? smile And why aim at something lower? smile))))))

(just joking)

I knew that giving too much info will spoil everything smile

Worriedandlost Mon 04-Nov-13 00:10:29

Strumpetron, you do force me to give too much info. It is a twice exceptional child and has to be stretched intellectually (music is intellectual activity, right? smile) otherwise the whole household is in trouble. I really do know what I am doing with my child, I only not sure about music, as it seems to overtake all other activities, we could do math instead for example smile

Worriedandlost Mon 04-Nov-13 00:11:31

Besides, her teacher requires practising a lot, perhaps she sees a potential? smile)))

Strumpetron Mon 04-Nov-13 00:12:50

1805, I would love her to become a barrister but I am afraid it is too competitive
You need to think that right now she is a child, and regardless of what you'd love her to be it is her decision.

The rest of your post, I'm sorry it's not what you want to hear but I feel very sorry for your daughter. She goes to school, presumably has her dinner and a bath, then 1-3 hours of practice? When does she get to play, do you have time to read to her and go over any homework she has?

Please just do be careful OP. pushing her goes one or two ways, make or break. I think this much is break. I know how the brain developes as I study psychology and biology, but you should know how it can also adversely effect a person.

1805 Mon 04-Nov-13 00:17:23

you know, I started out giving advice, but I think now you're just taking the mickey.
Good luck all you fellow professional muso's on here trying to help.

Worriedandlost Mon 04-Nov-13 00:18:32

MrsHoolie thank you, she is having her first orchestra performance in November, she is the youngest there, though it is not a permanent orchestra. And you confirmed my worst fears sad.

Well, it seems that I need wait and see, but make her to practice meantime smile. Just in case smile

What is about composer careers here (just asking! no plans smile)?

1805 Mon 04-Nov-13 00:18:54

OP - you've made me quite cross actually.

NorthernShores Mon 04-Nov-13 00:23:14

Gosh your poor child sad

Worriedandlost Mon 04-Nov-13 00:23:21

Strumpetron, if you study biology and psychology surely you know what twice exceptional is? She does not have homework as school does not know what to do with her, they said we do not teach staff she needs at ks1. And yes, I let her play, but... it is too much too explain, she is just different.

Worriedandlost Mon 04-Nov-13 00:25:24

1805, no, just try not to be too serious, I said above, as much as I think she is very able I try not to be to serious about it as it is too young to tell, but I need to be equipped smile Thank you for your advice, I really appreciate it!

Worriedandlost Mon 04-Nov-13 00:29:06

1805, I am sorry, I did not mean too upset you, I really needed help, you can imagine what a huge responsibility I have to equip my child for the future with her being different. Please, do not be cross!

Strumpetron Mon 04-Nov-13 00:29:50

Yes I do know what twice exceptional is, but that doesn't warrant what you are doing.

Anyway it's obviously not only me who sees a problem with this, but it's also obvious you see no problem so there's no point smile

Strumpetron Mon 04-Nov-13 00:30:28

Good grief.

Worriedandlost Mon 04-Nov-13 00:40:03

Strumpetron, main problem that people who do not live with such child have their own opinion how I should interact and deal with my dd1. Therefore I may become very offensive when I get advice what to do with her. She chooses what to do. And she do prefer playing the piano to dolls. And she is making her own music. And she does play some things by ear, not with one finger, taking one note, than another, but outright with two hands (just like her farther actually). And she enjoys it. But would she be able to do this without practicing? I do not think so! And yes, she does not like to practice. But she does like to use the results of her practice! Anyway... how can I know what to do.....

1805 Mon 04-Nov-13 00:41:08

stumpetron - wine wine

Strumpetron Mon 04-Nov-13 00:43:30

wine all around! grin

Worriedandlost Mon 04-Nov-13 00:52:29

For God's sake, why do I need to justify myself? I asked for advice and most grateful for the info I received, I absolutely did not want to give private details as I am perfectly aware where it all ends up! I have a bunch of professional advisers how to deal with my child who know us both in person, why on earth I need advice how to bring up my children from complete strangers from Internet? I did not ask that!

Thanks again to those who kept to the subject, I see pros and cons better know. To the rest-good luck with your own children.

Worriedandlost Mon 04-Nov-13 00:54:22

1805-very disappointed with you.
But thanks anyway.

mistlethrush Mon 04-Nov-13 07:15:43

The thing is, you don't have to do it 'professionally' to enjoy it, even if you have got to that level. Playing violin gives you a great advantage when playing chamber music (something I do a lot of) - there is much more string chamber music than there is wind music - or at least the standard stuff.

Again - I would suggest that you try to ensure that she's practising efficiently rather than pushing the length of playing, particularly at that age. Lots of people I have known that are professional haven't practised that much at that age.

Actually, you did ask for advice.

What I can recommend is to let her find her own way. That does not mean letting her practise on her own as I agree KS1 is too early for that. It means not to plan her future for her but giving her as many opportunities as you can afford.
If you are slightly moany about the cost of lessons you will have a shock paying for Saturday classes in London.

Being musical does not have to mean going into a music career. It can be a great and very social hobby for the rest of her life.

My 14 yo is about to do grade 8 violin (she started aged 10, so yes, very talented), but she does not want to be a professional musician. Her teacher says after grade 8 the real work begins. I agree. My daughter loves the social environment of orchestras, I think it is lovely to be surrounded by peers with the same interests.

The same goes for my 12yo son, who is a very good singer (in a professional choir), he doesn't want to go into a music career, but he loves the choir (and gets paid wink)

I have never had a single thought about if all the money we spend on their music is going to be rewarded somehow.
Music is part of a well rounded education for me. It is a part of the things we are fortunate to be able to offer our children to expose them to many different aspects of life.

yorkshirepuddings Mon 04-Nov-13 08:07:17

I feel sorry for your daughter too. If she enjoys music just let her learn at an appropriate pace. (3 hours a night is excessive and you have said she doesn't enjoy it.)

You do not need to decide on a career for her.

My son has guitar lessons. He will (probably) never be a professional musician. However he loves playing.

My Dad took up the guitar in his 40s. He is out about 3/4 evenings a week singing with friends and in local folk clubs. It has enriched his life in so many ways. He has no grades and earns no money from it, but I would guess he enjoys music much more than many children practising every night as parents see grades as the only measure of success.

MrsFuddyDuddy Mon 04-Nov-13 08:43:43

I think there is a cultural difference here.

DD went to a school outside the UK where her friends had their career choices mapped out by their parents to the level of selecting particular courses and institutions. They thought that was normal. We thought it was not. My DD chose what she fancied; her school friends had the choice made for them.

I think (though I'm guessing) the OP had previously thought in terms of medicine, law, engineering, accountancy, etc etc for her daughter. She said that both she and her DH had their degrees chosen by parents. So for the OP it is normal for the parents to decide the child's career path. Now that she sees that her daughter has musical ability she is asking what careers are available within music and how to navigate the path.

Worriedandlost Mon 04-Nov-13 10:23:13

MrsFuddyDudd, oh, thanks, at least one person here who tries to understand and not judge! Whilst I do not think it is normal to choose career for you child, I definitely do not think it is wrong for some children. There was a huge topic about former G&T children who are adults now, only few relatively succeeded in life, the rest admitted that were not used to put efforts into what they were doing. I do not think it is their fault, I think it is their parents fault as one cannot rely on child to organise their life-they do not have enough experience for that! And the more able child is the more wasted opportunities are there.
Anyway, as I said, child has certain problems and therefore I have to ensure that there are ways for her.

Worriedandlost Mon 04-Nov-13 10:24:55

CinnamonPorridge, I did not ask about how to bring up my child, did I? I asked about paths she can take in music and this is completely different. I did not need "Oh, let he be a child" sort of advice

Worriedandlost Mon 04-Nov-13 10:38:03

Once again, for those who is just scanning and not reading, I wrote "She does not practice hour a day, it is usually minimum hour a day on one instrument, can be up to three hours together (no hard pushing though!)"

She does not practice three hours a day! I do not push her hard! And she does like it! But of course if something is not right and she needs to repeat her piece for say, 5 times, she starts moaning of course because no one likes boring staff! And it can take long time as child quite unsettled and slightly hyperactive, though music helps her to concentrate!

Guys, I would also appreciate your thoughts on how to minimise practice time if - violin alone is usually 10 pieces, scales+arpeggios, sight reading, and to do it 1)we listen cd 2) we play it twice, as teacher requires 3) if she makes mistake we play it more. this way each piece takes three minute at least-to listen and play (so, 30mins pieces only!). And please do not tell me she is not able if she does not nail it from first time smile

Piano - scales, two A4 page pieces, sight reading, technical exercise for hands (2 to 5).

So, what should we do? To play 4 bars per day only? Change teachers? And yet we never do all homework in one go, it is too much!

MrsHoolie Mon 04-Nov-13 10:39:52

I went to a specialist music school. It was great for me as I was too far from London to go to a music department.
Over half my school year went on to university to do something other than music. Many of them have become lawyers etc. The music school environment totally put them off.
For me the school was perfect but my parents never pushed me,they just encouraged me and I was very keen.
There is a lot of luck involved but it does require a lot of hard work and practice and if you are super talented but don't practice you won't make a career of it.
The chances are she will change her mind every year about what she wants to do eventually.I wanted to be a pig farmer at five years old!

Worriedandlost Mon 04-Nov-13 10:50:16

I just read some old topic here about parent asking how their teenage child can make career in music where child did not start early enough and only did one instrument and the answers were quite depressing. Take another example - Suzuki-he said he wanted to be a performer but it was too late for him to start when he had that dream. There are certain professions you have to start early not to miss the opportunities. And you know what? DH was against dd1 playing violin, it was my idea, but after half an year she started, bought himself a violin and taught himself to play! (he played other instruments before though). And they play lovely duets together now!

Worriedandlost Mon 04-Nov-13 10:51:49

MrsHoolie thank you! I totally agree with what you said!

Where exactly did I write "oh let her be a child"?

Worriedandlost Mon 04-Nov-13 11:01:36

CinnamonPorridge, sorry, you did not, I just mentioned it when answering you.

1805 Mon 04-Nov-13 11:06:23

ok - so no more judgey talk.

I disagree that it is essential to start so young. But if your dd enjoys it, then fine. Please be aware of Repetitive Strain Injury though. Her teachers should be on top of that though. Ask her teachers how to minimise practice time. Maybe less pieces??? Quality not quantity???

Also, if dd is autistic, then please be aware that a musicians life can be fairly erratic. You may find she needs an assistant to make sure her diary is ok and she is in the right place at the right time. Also, rehearsals can be very boring and tedious at times, with long periods of sitting still and quiet. I get the feeling though you are looking more towards a solo career rather than on orchestral career though.

1805 Mon 04-Nov-13 11:11:43

Does she compose her own tunes/songs and write them down? That would be a good thing to do. Or to compose a soundtrack to a book/tv programme/comic/day out??

Re needing two instruments - then under normal circumstances music colleges require a chordal instrument (usually piano) as a second study. So yes, having two instruments is important. They don't both have to be the same standard though. I was grade 6 piano when I went to College.

BeckAndCall Mon 04-Nov-13 11:26:12

OP you've clearly done a lot of research on your DD's behalf which is great as you know where you stand - nothing worse than getting to 14 and having only one instrument and finding you're years behind your peers and will never catch up.

So as not to repeat others' advice, I'll just raise the question of singing - all serious musicians sing - one on one lessons and training choirs. I think your DD is probably too young to have a wide access at her school to music of the required standard but you should look at county provision for singing. ( singing is a compulsory part of the JD curriculum)

And the two instruments she plays are great, - composers all play piano and she needs an orchestral instrument to get the joy of group music.

Is she old enough yet for NCO? I may have missed that in your posts. Someone mentioned BBCyoung musician - it's too late for 2014 as the first rounds have already taken place but you might think about the 2016 competition - but usually every entrant has a lot of orchestral experience - so build on that.

And the conservatories have some very junior programmes avaialbe - I've never really noticed who they're aimed at but at my DD's JD there is a very young singers group.

If I were you, and I'm not of course, I'd put in singing lessons and a training choir and I'd look into county music groups as my first priorities. After that, everything else just slots into place if its meant to.

CURIOUSMIND Mon 04-Nov-13 11:59:00

Op, you really don't need to start that early to become brilliant professional, or you missed a great deal of chance, you don't. The difference is how easy and fast you make the progress, then take over.
Your DD is so little, you don't need to worry at all. Only small fraction of instrument learners eventurally become professional, but the rest majority is NOT useless.Many of them will play in local orchestral as afterwork activity, or just play at home for own pleasure, isn't that a wonderful hobby? Such a wide range of possiblity when your DD is so little.
How about take her to local festival, they are very gentle competition for a start, but many little stars arise from local festival.

Rockinhippy Mon 04-Nov-13 11:59:03

For goodness sake back off a bit, your DD is still so young, you risk pushing her too far & actually putting her off for good -

encourage her interest by all means, but she is a very young DC, please don't push for your own ends, it's her life, not yours, just because you & DH got a raw deal with that doesn't make it right - just have a look at the problems suffered by many child geniuses, pushed too far by tiger mothers.

FTR my own DD is considered musically gifted - according to her teacher she packed 3 courses into one as she was racing ahead so much, I used to feel if I was spending money on lessons then she should rehearse at expected by her teacher, it became a battle ground, so I backed right off - turned out she didn't need to rehearse as she picked it up instantly & can still pick up her instrument & play everything she learnt - my pushing was counter productive anyway as out came the preteen & she would dig her heels in, so I left it, let her leave her instrument for a while & she's now showing interest again - she was so excited by the music dept at a recent senior school open eve & the teacher spotted her interest & talent & took her off on a private tour & let her play with some other instruments not on display - she's now playing again & looking forward to opportunities at senior school

Our friend is a musician, he pushed his DS to play young & as a result his DS isn't in the least bit interested now & at an age when he should be of his own accord & lots if support in school, but no interest at all, weirdly he seems to use it to rebel against his dad

So do be careful

Rockinhippy Mon 04-Nov-13 12:08:36

Curious minds idea of local festivals is a good one - my own DD was asked to do this recently & though a nervous wreck, she absolutely loved doing it - ironically though considered talented & shows a lot of promise musically - she can sing too & loves performing on stage & those that see her perform all say they can see her making it big one day,

But she wants to be a doctor & keep it as an enjoyable hobby smile

MrsHoolie Mon 04-Nov-13 13:01:53

Personally I would avoid BBC young musician.

Some of my colleagues didn't start the violin til they were 10,and some later so I guess they were very quick learners and obviously talented.

At music school we did hours and hours of aural training every week. I think this was probably the most useful and essential part of my musical education. We had an amazing and inspiring teacher. Even the children with the least training could do the most amazing things after a couple if terms with him.
There are so many duff teachers out there I feel sorry for kids who are talented but aren't reaching their potential. My parents aren't musical and were shocked when my teacher said I was talented. When she suggested music schools my parents didn't even know they existed!

FrameyMcFrame Mon 04-Nov-13 13:14:14

Hi, the violin is a discipline. To succeed you have to sacrifice a lot for practice. The rewards are not great financially. The profession is very stressful and competitive.

Am I selling it to you yet?

Having said that, learning a musical instrument is an extremely enriching thing to do with your time!

mistlethrush Mon 04-Nov-13 13:18:39

When something is wrong does she play the whole piece again, or just that little bit? The best way to get it right is to just do the tricky bit - several times correctly, then add a note before and afterwards, then the bar before etc.

If she's learning the suzuki method, please make sure that she is actually learning to read music too. So many players come through with fantastic technique etc but put them in an orchestral situation they haven't a clue as they haven't got used to sightreading music particularly at speed - so although they could easily play the music, the fact that they have not learned it first stops them being able to play in the orchestra. 10 pieces - how many of these does the teacher actually hear in the lesson?

starrystarryknut Mon 04-Nov-13 14:04:05

Gosh, well I just came back to look at this. OP I see you say your daughter is autistic. I think the life of a professional musician would be very challenging for someone with those special needs - a musician's life is erratic in hours, locations, and earnings. You need to juggle a lot of different skills and be extremely self-reliant in terms of doing what's needed musically as well as chasing work, running your accounts as a freelance (almost all musicians are) and so on.

Just as an example, let me tell you about my day today. I've just come back from a 3 hour rehearsal; we sight-read our way through a pile of stuff which we're performing on Friday. I had to sit still, listen, count, play, stare into space while others did their bits, and concentrate non-stop. Then I jumped on a train and buzzed home, in time to catch up on a bit of diary management (organising bookings, website, accounts, promotional stuff) and next I've got three hours of teaching. Then as soon as I finish, I grab a bite to eat, and I'm heading out to another rehearsal, this time chamber music preparing for a small concert at a later date, which we are promoting ourselves, so which has no financial guarantees at all attached.

The day is broken up into lots of small but intense bursts of work and involves interacting at a complex level with a lot of people, some of whom I might never have worked with before, or might never again. It is fulfilling and pays OK, but is hard work and requires a lot of flexibility.
None of these things are probably what you envisage for your 4 year old in thinking about a career as a musician, and I doubt they are the kinds of demands that an autistic adult could deal with very easily.

I'm glad you are supporting your child's music, but really - she's FOUR!! Stop worrying about Maxim Vengarov and how old he was when he started. Some musicians start at four, most don't. I personally was 10, and ended up at a London conservatoire and with a good career. You really can afford just to mess around at this stage, be it ballet, brownies, gym, or whatever.

richmal Mon 04-Nov-13 16:15:31

I have very little knowledge of music, but being told to play 10 pieces through twice does seem a little unusual for a practice. Could you not ask if she could cut it down to fewer? Would you say there is a good structure to her learning? If she has not done any exams yet I would ask when she could do her first pre grade one exam as this will give an indication of her progress and require her to perfect only a few pieces.

Worriedandlost Mon 04-Nov-13 20:43:53

1805- much better this time, very relevant information, thank you!

Worriedandlost Mon 04-Nov-13 20:46:58

BeckAndCall good advice about singing, thank you! It is actually on agenda, but not right now, she is too young for it, I think they only take from 8yo, or smth.

stillenacht Mon 04-Nov-13 20:49:02

Mistlethrush did you go to CYM?smile

Worriedandlost Mon 04-Nov-13 20:51:34

Rockinhippy thank you, I just realised actually that she was put forward for the festival in November, I was confused by her orchestra, I thought it was the same, but actually two different events. How did your dd coped with her nerves at the end? And as a matter of fact how did you??? smile

Worriedandlost Mon 04-Nov-13 20:52:04

MrsHoolie, thanks for advice, but still too young.

Worriedandlost Mon 04-Nov-13 20:52:39

FrameyMcFrame smile - thanks!

Strumpetron Mon 04-Nov-13 20:56:36

Defo go along with singing too. It's a brilliant way to releave stress too and anxiety. I was classed as a 'troubled child' at school and when anger management and counselling didn't work, they let me sing with my old tutor. Help loads.

Don't go in the deep end though, let it be a fun difference from her instrument maybe?

Worriedandlost Mon 04-Nov-13 21:00:53

mistlethrush, I feel somehow that with violin it is better to repeat the whole lot, as pieces are relatively small, mostly half a page, but with piano I narrow it of course, and will try to do it the way you described, as I am not musician I do not know all these methods but try to remember when someone shares! (I wonder, is it only our family-I am not a musician and deal with dd's practice, dh has good musical education and absolutely useless in helping dd! smile)

And no, she is not learning suzuki, classical approach, so her sight reading is quite good, not ideal from exam point of view smile but good enough to play new piece outright.

Rockinhippy Mon 04-Nov-13 21:09:39

I sort of missed it as I was working elsewhere at the same festival & due to a problem with the sound system, my organised break to coincide with DDs slot, didn't IYSWIM - probably did me a favour if I'm honest as I was more nervous for her than she was to do it & her left sat on stage in front of the crowd whilst they sorted out the equipment would have been too much for me blush - she coped brilliantly though, but I could hear the tremble in her voice, but she still pulled it off so well they've asked her back next year & she was even congratulated by the mayor & got a mention in the news smile

I thought the sound system problem might put her off as she was really thrown in the deep end, but she still loved it & it's fired her enthusiasm again, which is lovely to see - so yes, nerves big time, but it didn't matter - with hindsight I'm now glad I couldn't see her - as it meant she couldn't see me, which I think eloped her cope better smile

Worriedandlost Mon 04-Nov-13 21:10:02

starrystarryknut, thank you for describing your day, you know guys, these small insider bits of info are the most precious!
Sorry, as I tried (unsuccessfully) to hide personal info I probably mislead quite a few of you, no, she is not 4, she started at 4.3, she is older now. And yes, you and 1805 spot on potential problems for someone who is autistic. Frankly speaking she is not formally diagnosed yet, so she must be sort of high functioning case, but she is watched by specialists , etc

Rockinhippy Mon 04-Nov-13 21:11:11

Helped her cope - damn you autocorrect hmm

Strumpetron Mon 04-Nov-13 21:12:20

Just to point out those are very valid problems for a person that is autistic OP. you might get some more advice on it if your DD is formally diagnosed

Worriedandlost Mon 04-Nov-13 21:17:59

richmal, you see, we already had three teachers so I sort of have an idea now what good teacher is like and this is our best teacher who gives all these workload! To be honest, dd hated violin at the beginning, whilst she fell in love with piano almost immediately, but she prefers violin now, and I think it is all thanks to teacher!

The paradox is - the more dd practice, the easier it becomes. The easier it becomes-the more she likes to play.

Pre grade is a bit too late now, she passed that stage already.

Rockinhippy Mon 04-Nov-13 21:18:03

Might not be relevant to your DD at all worried but always worthy mentioning just incase

There was a time that I worried a bit about DD as regards some sort of high functioning SN, she's always been very very bright, very much a perfectionist - her toy sets for example were never mixed up - always fastidious about what dolls went with what set etc etc, always pretty hyper, extremely sensitive to things like labels, seams on socks etc etc etc

Turns out the reason for this with DD is she has EDS - hypermobility type - this condition answers her other quirks & also makes playing certain instruments much easier for her too

Worriedandlost Mon 04-Nov-13 21:20:53

Strumpetron, thanks, will definitely follow your advice, and yes, I do not think she is up to become a great singer of our time smile, I think she does not have that sort of voice, so definitely for pleasure!

Strumpetron Mon 04-Nov-13 21:23:01

She'll be fab at karaoke wink

Worriedandlost Mon 04-Nov-13 21:27:07

Rockinhippym, fantastic, well done to your daughter! Somehow I feel it is better not to watch-too nerves wrecking as you said, but then they would love to see their parents, at least little ones! I worry a bit about solo performance as when she was taking her first exam, she was so excited she played pieces with a huuuuuge speed and made quite a lot of mistakes. As a special child smile she was given about 5 minutes extra - did not need them at all, finished about 5 minutes earlier!
But your daughter, oooh, little hero!

Worriedandlost Mon 04-Nov-13 21:28:51

Strumpetron, absolutely, I am aware of it!

Pollaidh Mon 04-Nov-13 21:30:09

teacher123 has it right I think. You also need to be sure that the current teachers are giving a realistic assessment - there's a big difference between the best player at a comprehensive with no musical reputation and a cathedral school or a private school which has high quality players and scholarships. I was one of the best players at my school and orchestra, but didn't even make it into the front row of the casual orchestra at uni and no way near the proper orchestra standard. Although if you pick an unusual instrument such as a cor anglais or one where orchestras have lots (violins) then you have a better chance of a spot in the orchestra. But avoid playing only instruments that are variations (like a bass clarinet, piccolo, as usually a Bflat clarinet/flute player will also play these, switching depending on the piece). You also shouldn't pick an instrument just for this reason - you need to love it.

I play a few instruments, have done since having private and LEA lessons as a child. 20 years later I still play (not very well) with a load of other people who don't play very well, but it's great fun and a good way to make friends at university and later in life. My parents consider the investment worthwhile as I still get a great deal of pleasure from music.

Worriedandlost Mon 04-Nov-13 21:34:37

Rockinhippy, oh, this is relevant, thanks a lot! Apart from toys, mine has different play style, my dd is the same! But what exactly you mean by hypermobility? Hpmobile joints? My dd has it too smile. I did not know about that side of hypermobility! Please, could you tell a bit more and what specialist diagnosed your dd? I also think about sensory processing disorder, she actually has second assessment now, so hopefully they will finally come with some result ...

Worriedandlost Mon 04-Nov-13 21:37:58

Pollaidh, absolutely, this is why I said-there are a lot of assumptions here, she may turn to be not that good at the end smile Not to mention her autistic problems. And agreed with the rest, thanks for sharing!

MrsHoolie Mon 04-Nov-13 23:26:43

I have hypermobility in some of my joints,I only discovered it a few years ago when I had some wrist problems during playing.
My fingers are ridiculously bendy but sadly I don't think it helps my violin playing!A colleague of mine has it too and it affects her in a bad way at work.

mistlethrush Tue 05-Nov-13 00:07:34

OK - in terms of getting things right, having got them wrong, you really need to get the mistake right a good number of times in a row (particularly if its always the bit to go wrong) - so its much better to just do a small bit - and then put it into a small context - then play the whole piece with it all right all the way through... otherwise you have the potential to play the piece through and get it wrong again - and then repeat and do the same....

My son's been singing in a choir since he was 5. Its hugely beneficial for violin playing as, if you can pitch the note as if you were singing it, you can then play it in tune... And its good for phrasing too.

(Stillenacht - no, 'fraid not...!)

FriendlyLadybird Tue 05-Nov-13 09:52:45

I do think it's a bit odd (sorry) to look at your child's music lessons in terms of 'get[ting] something back out of it'. Music has a value just as an enriching experience, and it also teaches children a different way of learning. I believe it is well worth the investment of time and money for those reasons alone.

But that aside, what do her teachers say? In my experience, when teachers realise that they have an exceptional pupil (not me or my DCs, by the way) they do start making recommendations off their own bat. It was my brother's teacher who suggested that he should audition for one of the music school junior departments, who put him in for the concerto prize etc. Incidentally, he got absolutely loads of wonderful experiences out of it but decided not to pursue music as a profession. When he went to university (not to read music) he sailed into all the orchestras but found them rather dull. So he just stopped. He still plays the piano and sings, for his own enjoyment -- but that's it.

Worriedandlost Tue 05-Nov-13 22:16:54

mistlethrush, thank you for advice, I will try to do it this way, it will save a lot of time! Again, I made requests about singing but was told wait till later. dd1 has perfect pitch though, according to her teacher.

Worriedandlost Tue 05-Nov-13 22:28:37

FriendlyLadybird, this is useful bit of information, thank you! If dd is not told something like that in a couple of years I will know that she is not the one smile. For the time being I only know she is the youngest in the orchestra and her teacher told me she only includes good private students. Other children seem to be much older.

difficultpickle Tue 05-Nov-13 22:47:43

Ds sung in the church choir from the age of 6 and took grade one singing when he was 7. I have no idea what perfect pitch was until I googled it. Ds has this too (not sure how useful it is).

summerends Wed 06-Nov-13 06:42:08

OP, your DD is practising far far more than almost all of her peers and, with some natural talent (which she must have), will obviously make much more rapid technical progress than them and will be playing at a level of usually older children. At a young age these differences in technical proficiency are always more marked but less so at 18 when the later starters have come through.
At the end of the day it will be her musicality in interpreting pieces that will make the difference to what level she can achieve (assuming she continues with the inner drive to pursue music). A love of listening to music may help with this.

richmal Wed 06-Nov-13 07:30:41

I agree that a the ability to interpret music is not always apparent until older. However the impression I get is that most top classical soloists were extremely technically proficient at a very young age.

summerends Wed 06-Nov-13 09:04:53

Also think OP that if your daughter has got HFA then a major benefit for her longterm, whatever she ends up doing, will be developing communication with others through all the channels music enables. If she is particularly good at it, even if mainly at a level of technical proficiency, then she will also get a lot of pleasure and feeling of selfworth.

BanjoPlayingTiger Wed 06-Nov-13 09:17:47

Hi Worried I have a very musical daughter - she is now at a specialist music school. At the age your daughter is she only played the recorder and did 15 min of practice a day.
She started piano at 7, and brass at 9. She only did the amount of practice you are talking about from the age of 10.
I would say that it isn't the technicality that makes a musician (though that is obviously a big part) but their inate musicality. From a very young age people have said my daughter was clearly musical. Often in the local music festival she would be described as having tremendous musicality.

I don't know if any of that is useful to you, but I thought hearing from another mum of a musician might be handy smile

Worriedandlost Wed 06-Nov-13 23:40:42

summerends, richmal, BanjoPlayingTiger thanks, totally agree that it is musicality and not technicality that matters. Watching for this, I think it is improving slightly, but not quite sure, cannot say she is really good at it.

summerends , listening to music-oh! you will not believe what CD collection I now got in my car! Dd has no problem listening to the most "heavy" classics, I struggled a bit at the beginning but got used to it now. Still, would prefer David Garett to David Oistrakh smile

BanjoPlayingTiger - yes! all opinions are appreciated and valued! from mums particularly smile About early age, I was told that from the beginning that children who start later make more rapid progress, in fact I slightly regretted starting violin so early, as she really struggled for the first three months or so. She loved piano from the very beginning though. Re practice-teachers require min 30 mins a day and there are two instruments + dd is a bit hyperactive, so everything takes longer, even lessons!

bisjo, they say perfect pitch is nice to have but not really essential smile

difficultpickle Thu 07-Nov-13 09:50:34

Innate musicality is key. Ds has this in spades and it is something that cannot be taught no matter how technically proficient you become. I don't know what age KS1 goes up to, is it 6? If so then an hour's practising a day seems a lot to me. Ds does 30 mins a day at school aged 9 and that is deemed enough until you get to above grade 5 when a lot more is required. None of his music teachers have ever said he should be doing more than 30 mins a day. He learns two instruments so does each instrument on alternate days.

Worriedandlost Thu 07-Nov-13 11:31:23

bisjo, I guess it depends what you are aiming to? Frankly speaking we could do each instrument in 10-15 mins, dd is reading from page well, does not make mistakes often, so could play once and off we go... But no matter what happens I want her to be good at it and not only have fun!
The thing is-if child does not learn well certain things problems will build up. Many children loose interest when program becomes more difficult. But to make it easy one have to practice! And it is good to get it into habit whilst she is still young.

Not agreed about musicality, dd could not even sing in tune till about 2.5 (ds was doing it at 9 months but the he has older sister who is playing!) and yet it turned out that she has perfect pitch! Besides, she is not very musical in MY opinion, dh and her teacher both think she is musical smile Time will show, but thanks to this discussion I feel we are on a right track if she continue to love it smile

Thanks again everyone who contributed!

difficultpickle Thu 07-Nov-13 12:58:03

Ds practises and performs for over 22.5 hours a week. The only thing we are aiming for is that he enjoys himself whilst he is doing it. I'm not musical either but I can appreciate ds's love of music as it is what defines him. I leave it to those who are qualified to tell me how exceptional his musicality is. I would never ever push him to practise.

titchy Thu 07-Nov-13 13:09:39

I REALLY don't like this sentence in your last post:

But no matter what happens I want her to be good at it and not only have fun!

That's quite sad imo. Having fun is all life should be about at 6yo.

difficultpickle Thu 07-Nov-13 13:18:46

Is the OP's dd 6? I agree with you titchy! 6 is very young to be doing that much practising a day. Mind you I wonder what it is like to have a child that will do what you say and practice as much as you ask them to. Ds will only practice when he wants to and there would be nothing I could do to make him.

Worriedandlost Thu 07-Nov-13 14:13:11

titchy, I am the person who has never being to pushed to do something, as a result I still fight my infintilism smile. I want to send dd a message-you try your best at what you are doing, is it smth wrong with it?

Worriedandlost Thu 07-Nov-13 14:14:30

And no, dd is not 6, though you may round it to 6 perhaps smile up or down I am not saying smile

Worriedandlost Thu 07-Nov-13 14:26:13

bisjo, would you please remind me how old is your ds? Just to remind you that dd is younger and autistic, and sort of g&t, she will have to be guided every step. Guys, honestly, just assume that I know more or less what is the best for dd's well being, most of you if not all judge from the position of a parent of a normal child. Dd has behavioral problems and I know how to control and put her energy into something positive smile I may make mistakes, who does not, but one thing is for sure, dd is not pushed into music in a nasty way, she loves music, she is very good at it and it is definitely her thing. How good she is only time will tell. But you have to be realistic, no one loves boring staff, and the younger child is the more child has to be helped to get through the routine practice.

But she may easily spend hours at the piano, playing her own tunes, playing some violin tunes or just playing build in music games.

Just trust me smile

difficultpickle Thu 07-Nov-13 14:58:01

Ds is apparently KS2 age, using your terminology. He's not NT either which imvho makes it even more important that he leads rather than me trying to push him.

In this day and age where children are expected to achieve it is very easy as a parent to latch on to something your child appears to be good at and use that to show they are better than others of their age. In reality most children have strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes and (at least for me) it is important to encourage lots of interests rather than focusing on one thing from such an early age (assuming that KS1 means your dd could be anything from 5 to 7).

If ds chooses to continue music when he is older than good for him. If he doesn't he will have had an unusual experience for a child so young which he can add to all of his many other interests.

BanjoPlayingTiger Thu 07-Nov-13 15:03:01

I found at that age that my dd responded better to only being allowed to do a small amount of practice. I would stop her practicing whilst she was still having fun and that way she would be really eager to get back to it the following day. Doing it this way meant that by the time she was playing more instruments and was about 9 she was great at disciplining herself to practice as it was a fun thing for her to do and has never been a battle.
If you push too hard your little one has something to rebel against.

Worriedandlost Thu 07-Nov-13 15:12:24

bisjo, let me shake you hand (re not NT child smile)
I agree with your last post 100%

Worriedandlost Thu 07-Nov-13 15:19:59

BanjoPlayingTiger, mine cannot control herself even over basic staff. Most of the time I will stop when we covered what I planned or she says she is tired.

On the other hand we have this conversation with her teacher at summer, it was horribly hot, the children were out playing, we came poorly prepared couple of times, and her teacher was on and on and on about the importance of good practice. I(!!!) told her that dd is just a young child and have to have some fun esp when weather is good. It did not help, her teacher still insisted on practicing and said that we actually had to practice more as dd was getting older. This teacher is a really good experienced teacher, passed by word of mouth only, fully booked etc, surely, she knows what she is saying?

BanjoPlayingTiger Thu 07-Nov-13 15:27:43

It is different to what my children's piano teacher said. Their teacher wouldn't take pupils until they were 5 as they don't generally have the concentration skills needed until then. At 5 years old she said that 20minutes was more than enough. Any more than that and they get bored and it becomes a chore.
My dd is the second of her pupils to get into one of the top music schools in the country recently, so she knows what she is doing.
I have no idea about your childs teacher as I have never met her. However from my experiences if your child is only 5 or 6 then I would have to disagree with her.

1805 Thu 07-Nov-13 15:29:51

my dd has behavioural problems and is awaiting an assessment for aspergers amongst other things.

My dd also loves performing. My dd also plays violin and piano. My dd is 8, yours cannot be older than 7 in KS1.

However, there our similarities end.

Being a professional musician, and obviously having many musician friends, mine and your ideas of what makes a successful musician are very different, also how to nurture our dc is also very different.

I would be interested to know where you would like to see your dd in say 20 years time? I am just trying to understand what you are trying to achieve, and how you think dd will cope with that.

mistlethrush Thu 07-Nov-13 15:31:28

I still think that you should be aiming to concentrate the 'practice' and really make the most of it - then if she wants to go on and play afterwards, fair enough - but concentrated practice is going to be much better than simply playing through the pieces 2 or 3 times. I used to do my practice then spend some time playing through Albums that my grandfather had of G&S tunes and other arrangements - my mother would play the piano with me.

MusicalSvengali Thu 07-Nov-13 15:44:08

very tongue in cheek name change, but I have previously worked in the business side of classical music and ran for the hills as there's not much of a business left outside of arts organisations. Of course I'd like to hear what 1805 and the other pros on the thread have to say.
Union fees for sessions are pretty poor and are constantly being adjusted downwards. In spite of that, it's simply not economically viable for many recordings to take place in the UK any more - operas are pretty much all done in France where the government supports it (1805, what do the players get for those sessions, do you know?). Effect is that there's very little work here - but probably a lot in Prague but at derisory rates. Getting permanent places in orchestras is getting harder -the BBC are hauling in their belt and they're desperately trying to get commercial work for their permanent players.
It's not all gravy for the soloists either- the size of recording deals for them are tiny. The amount of work they are required to put in to make a few thousand is astonishing - so they need to make it all by playing live, which means a full diary of extensive travel around the world relentlessly. It's really bloody tough.
Of course a lot of the people working around performers have a playing background / were at music school. There's a lot of working more for love than money until you're running the Opera House / your own agency etc but there's a lot of love and there are a lot of fun careers that don't involve playing, which give a more stable / normal lifestyle and for which a 6 year old can enjoy playing for the sake of it, as well as having some playdates and riding a bike of an evening.

summerends Thu 07-Nov-13 16:11:18

Worried, I think her musical development would be better aided by encouraging her 'playing around' or experimenting on her instruments than as much technical practice. The former will allow her musicality to come through and creativity that could be quenched by the emphasis that time spent on technical progress is more worthwhile.

1805 Thu 07-Nov-13 16:22:07

I don't know about French rates, only uk. sorry. I find getting work is as much "who you know" and the contacts you make, as much as doing a good job. Dh and I do not do solo work because a) we're not good enough/don't fancy it, b) do not have the contacts, and c) prefer a more static lifestyle with the dc.
Personally, I only started practising properly once I was at Music College.

I know that to get an orchestral job, you have to show that you fit in with the section as well as playing the right notes. Lots of people change career after music college because they can't find enough regular work. Theatre work is anti social hours, but fairly regular if you can get a long running show. Even then, many musicians will have additional careers such as teaching, plumbers, electricians, IT work that they run alongside their music career.

Definitely I see it as a vocation rather than a career.

summerends Thu 07-Nov-13 16:43:56

Worried, I remember a recent article concerning a very young girl who learns music by improvisation in a similar way to musicians in Mozart's era were taught You might be interested in finding and reading it whilst you are fact-finding. Not sure whether it is a generally applicable or even a desirable teaching style now but others on this thread might have a more informed view.

Worriedandlost Thu 07-Nov-13 17:29:05

BanjoPlayingTiger, our teacher takes children from 4yo. I do not think any of the teachers wrong, there are different schools of thought. I personally do not get Suzuki, but some people love it!

From my own experience, other things aside, there is a correlation between practice and result.

Worriedandlost Thu 07-Nov-13 17:32:42

1805, you may be more relaxed about it all as you are a professional musician, you know the industry and at the end of the day you have some connections with the "right" people. As I said before, it also may be that I just have different life philosophy.

In 20 years time I would like DD to be adapted to the NT world and be a reasonably successful in occupation she likes.

Worriedandlost Thu 07-Nov-13 17:33:54

mistlethrush, I do not quite see what exactly you mean, could you please explain?

Worriedandlost Thu 07-Nov-13 17:37:34

summerends, this is true, and she likes just play with instruments as well as play old pieces on her own for example. Thanks about mentioning the article!

MrsHoolie Fri 08-Nov-13 00:38:46

Classical sessions are the least well paid,I can't remember the exact rate but about £75 maximum for a three hour session. At my company we probably record one CD every three years.
Film rate sessions are well paid,about £159 per three hour session.
I have earned a fair amount from tv progs being sold around the world but that has pretty much gone down the pan due to buy outs.
I consider myself lucky to have a job,but then in always wanted one and didn't want to freelance so made sure I pushed myself in that direction early on.

mistlethrush Fri 08-Nov-13 08:56:32

I meant that 'practice' and 'playing' are two different things - get the 'practice' bit concentrated - getting bits right that are going wrong, practicing certain new techniques, really thinking about what you're doing etc - then 'play' for enjoyment. The playing will also help of course - particularly on the musicality side of things - but it is not the same as the mentally tiring practice.

Bemused33 Mon 11-Nov-13 17:03:27

Dd plays sax and cello. She is 10 and a half now. Grade 3 in sax, cello - grade two. Both with distinction and not a great deal of practicing. She plays with two orchestras and a band. She loves it. She started the cello aged 8. The sax in januaru. We have been told she could be professional when older.

However we are putting no pressure on her if she plays she plays and this weekend spent her time designing a saxophone song for three people just of her own free will.

We are going to see how it goes.

I sung at school and have dabbled for years. I work in music part-time now. This year I started a choir and I love it. I have no music training but I have a good ear and while I will never hit the heights I adore it.

I think if it's there and it's where her heart is it's where she will go but of it's not then as long as she is happy I will support her all of the way. smile xxxx

ElizabethJonesMartin Mon 11-Nov-13 17:37:50

3 of our children won music scholarships, a few grade 7s or 8 in 2 or 3 instruments by 13 which is fairly rare, and grade 5 theory etc BUT BUT BUT music is for most badly paid and can mean no chance to buy your own home or not easily so not surprisingly a lot of people who were the best in their secondary school at it and thought they would do very well as a soloist end up teaching lessons to children who often don't want to earn at a fairly low rate per hour. You don't do it for the money. You might do it because you love it and you can get by (or you might be the rare genius who becomes a leading soloist).

I kept my career as a hobby and that's worked really well. I recommend it. Keep paying for her lessons as music lessons apparently make children do better in academic exams as well as giving her a lovely hobby and by all means try music scholarships to private schools at 11+ but perhaps do not push her into a career in it.

chocolatemartini Mon 11-Nov-13 18:05:48

it's never wasted <waves at other musos & early music types on this thread>

ElizabethJonesMartin Tue 12-Nov-13 07:25:25

( I kept my "music" as a hobby (not career - typo))

mistlethrush Tue 12-Nov-13 08:51:27

I agree Elizabeth - mine's a hobby that takes up a lot of time! smile

schilke Tue 12-Nov-13 20:51:41

I think you're thinking too much! Just let your child have a childhood.
My dh is a musician and would not encourage any of our dc to do it for a living. I am not a musician, but have to put up with one. It took me years to persuade him to have a holiday.....might get a gig. Plan a lovely weekend, oh last minute gig....you get the picture. The pre christmas season means I won't see him from next week until December 23rd!

Plus, my dh can be a bit shy. It's hard turning up to play with a group/orchestra and you don't know. Usually he knows someone there.

At the moment, one of our dc wants to be a musician but we'll see what happens.

MrsHoolie Wed 13-Nov-13 00:02:43

Peripatetic music teachers earn more per hour than I do (in an orchestra)!

mistlethrush Wed 13-Nov-13 08:41:42

MrsHoolie - can you imagine doing that all the time? I have done it, for one day a week, and that was quite enough. I have great respect for those that can do it day in, day out, but, unless you can get to the stage where you've only got the pupils that you actually want (and that want to learn and have a gift) it can be so difficult to continue to be upbeat...

Motet Wed 13-Nov-13 09:41:41

OP - you suggested the bar was 'too competitive'. Music is horrifically competitive. If she likes practising that is great, but do keep options open - equally, keep an open mind. Music degrees at good universities have value in the job market - I know a barrister and a solicitor, both with first degrees in music.

But you have to keep an eye on the alternatives. It gets difficult for somebody who has trained at a music college and then tried to scratch a living for some years to retrain after 30 when they may also wish to start a family. It's difficult for female musicians with small children to tour constantly. Music teachers where I live are charging well below £20 an hour, which has to include preparation and travel time. Even if you are wealthy and feel that you could provide her with a private income or a mortgage-free property, you don't know what the future holds.

One friend has described the conservatoire system as effectively a pyramid scheme; far more students are enrolled than could ever earn a sustainable living. A small percentage will get posts in music colleges and then over-recruit the next generation of students.

Professional musicians generally have to earn income from 'something else' to cross-subsidize their vocation. It's easier to build a good career in one of the professions, enjoy good quality of life and have music as a serious hobby (look at Alan Rusbridger) than work primarily as a musician getting ground down by the compromises, unfulfiling teaching, worrying about home ownership and pension provision. Many freelance musicians work for as long as they can into old age and not only because it's their vocation; they are strapped.

cory Wed 13-Nov-13 09:48:34

OP, I think one reason why some posters have been rather cautious in their replies is that you were talking initially of your dd's music lessons as a financial investment and seemed to view it as something that ought to pay off financially, a way of getting your dd safely settled.

If that is your main concern, a career in the performing arts seems an odd choice: there must be hundreds of other career choices that are far more predictable.

Having said that, there is plenty of evidence that music develops transferable skills which could help her whichever career she chooses. And having an enjoyable hobby is also something that is worthwhile for overall quality of life.

MrsHoolie Wed 13-Nov-13 16:33:19

mistlethrush no I can't imagine teaching full time. In fact I don't do any at all although I did when I was a student.
A friend of mine teaches full time at a very prestigious private school which pays £35 an hour,she hates it and would much rather be playing (piano) but it is a good job in terms of hours and income.

I know a couple of freelance musicians who are also barristers. Luckily for then the are extremely talented in both fields so combine them. Amazing I think.

MrsHoolie Wed 13-Nov-13 16:33:43

mistlethrush no I can't imagine teaching full time. In fact I don't do any at all although I did when I was a student.
A friend of mine teaches full time at a very prestigious private school which pays £35 an hour,she hates it and would much rather be playing (piano) but it is a good job in terms of hours and income.

I know a couple of freelance musicians who are also barristers. Luckily for then the are extremely talented in both fields so combine them. Amazing I think.

MrsHoolie Wed 13-Nov-13 16:33:57

Sorry for posting twice.

ElizabethJonesMartin Wed 13-Nov-13 19:30:20

There is an awful lot of crossover between lawyers and music and my view is that if your child could be a lawyer it can be rather nice to keep your music as a lovely hobby. You might even able to afford to subsidise your own orchestra or music charity in due course. Music has given me huge pleasure over many years (4 grade 8s etc )and yes I shouldn't say so but I am pretty good but it's a hobby and I would prefer that for our children as would their father who is a pretty brilliant organist and often has felt his parents should have encouraged him into something more lucrative.
However if your alternative career would be £6 an hour care home worker then yes your piano teaching at a higher rate per hour might indeed feel like an abundance of riches so I suppose it is all relative.

mistlethrush Wed 13-Nov-13 22:38:25

I had a year off after my (music) degree - and travelled and played and studied and worked - and came to the conclusion that, if I did a masters I would really enjoy it, but not actually get any further forward - I didn't want to teach full time, and I didn't want to play full time (I could have done either with the appropriate post grad qualifications which I could have achieved) - so I found another profession instead. Its one that's a bit similar to law - and interprets law - not as well paid, but not bad, and interesting. It means I can play what I want, when I want (ie I don't have to play Beethoven 5 for the nth time that year). I actually sing more than I play though - although I've never done any grades....

Worriedandlost Thu 14-Nov-13 01:05:46

Thanks for all the new answers, reading them all!
Many of you mention barristers-as if it were easier to become a barrister than a musician smile)))!
I suppose it is more time than money that worries me. Including my time.

mistlethrush, you are not doing taxation by any chance, are you? smile))

mistlethrush Thu 14-Nov-13 07:35:25

No, I'm not doing taxation. Or accountancy.

Music seems to go with medicine quite a bit... and there was a recent thread I saw asking whether medicine was a suitable aim for a child with Aspergers and I think that it was concluded that some branches were.

FastLoris Thu 14-Nov-13 20:03:02

Many of you mention barristers-as if it were easier to become a barrister than a musician

I think it probably is, if you mean a musician who makes a decent full-time living from playing or composing music. (And that's not even considering, obviously, how much lower a "decent" living we're talking about even being possible for a musician, as opposed to a barrister).

I don't think there are many barristers who had to practise the skills they need for hours every day since they were five, before even being ready to START a law degree.

Worriedandlost Fri 15-Nov-13 19:00:49

FastLoris, I understand the most difficult part of becoming a barrister is not practicing smile or getting a degree, but getting there! I have heard that it is extremely competitive area and you virtually do not stand a chance if you do not have a mentor. Whilst with music, the ultimate talent will probably get you there (or am I naive?....)

Saying that, Oxon law degree will be extremely useful, and you certainly have to practice to get it smile))) Not in music though smile

mistlethrush Fri 15-Nov-13 19:50:37

I think that you can have the talent and not the contacts and therefore get sidelined or bypassed if you're a musician...

ElizabethJonesMartin Fri 15-Nov-13 20:44:36

I mentioned law because lots of lawyers in London are very good musicians and you tend to find those at the very selectively academic schools tend to work very hard at their lessons and their music (and sport) and get pretty good at them as they are the kind of person who gets on with stuff so the two can combine nicely. I mentioned it because the original thread suggested music was some kind of well paid job and worth investing in which is comical to lawyers but obviously very true if the child with instead of music be on the minimum wage.

As for which is harder to become - musician or barrister - it depends on the kind of each of those that you're after. If you want a few private music pupils that is not at all hard to get. If you want to be a leading UK soloist that is very hard.

My mentioning the two careers was also to suggest they go well together - that clever professionals also often enjoy a lot of music and have some pretty high music grades and it's a lovely hobby and because studies show children who learn a lot of music then do better in their academic exams.

I think most parents put a lot of time into helping their children do well at academic work and with music practice and for me it always varies - often it's lovely (to accompany them at the piano - they are always better at the accompanied pieces as we do those more because I like it) and sometimes it's a nuisance to have to make the effort to make sure that they practise.

FastLoris Fri 15-Nov-13 21:11:18

I understand the most difficult part of becoming a barrister is not practicing smile or getting a degree, but getting there! I have heard that it is extremely competitive area and you virtually do not stand a chance if you do not have a mentor. Whilst with music, the ultimate talent will probably get you there (or am I naive?....)

Probably not so much naive as simply misguided. There is no evidence of any such thing as "ultimate talent" in music. That's just a label people attach to people like Maxim Vengerov to explain their success after the fact, because they don't find the seven hours of practice a day or the early first class teaching a romantic enough explanation.

And even if there were some respect in which those few outliers were "destined" by their talent for a success that no worldly considerations could stop, it wouldn't be relevant to the issue anyway because those people are only a miniscule fraction of the profession. What's relevant is the experience of most musicians and aspiring musicians, compared with lawyers.

I suspect being an international touring superstar is probably a pretty rewarding life, if an extremely tough one. I'd personally rather be one than a lawyer. But what's unusual about the music industry is not the condition of those at the very top (that's going to be pretty good in any industry), it's the steepness of the curve from there down to those earning nothing or almost nothing.

I'm sure it's bloody hard to get into Oxford, get a good law degree and make it as a top solicitor. The difference is that you can get into a lesser university, get an average law degree and still make a living as an average solicitor. There are thousands of such people sitting in offices all over the UK doing house conveyancing and whatnot, and quite comfortably paying their mortgages.

In music, a TINY proportion of those who practise their arses off all through their childhood manage to get a position in a professional orchestra (which is not, in itself, a particularly good living). Of the rest, some freelance for a few years until they give up and do something else; some drift into teaching or whatever. But there is no lower, broad level of the actual practical music profession like there is in other professions. If you're not in the tiny proportion at the very top, you do something else or starve.

Laradaclara Fri 15-Nov-13 22:33:06

Have a very good plan B would be my advice.
I have a very close friend who has as much natural talent as anyone and I really mean that. He didn't bother too much at music college as he was too busy entering (and winning) some of the high level music competitions and travelling the world working in a couple of top international level orchestras though he had no interest in working long term as an orchestral musician. The last time he performed as a soloist the conductor had recently conducted Nigel Kennedy playing the same piece the week before but said he had much preferred my friends version. It was however just about the last time he performed as he finally realised he just doesn't enjoy it. It had been drummed into him for so many years that 'his talent must be heard' that he hadn't had the head space to realise it just wasn't what he wanted. He says it is a huge relief to be free of it all.
However, his education had been so narrowly focused on music that he has no qualifications for anything else but thinks he would have been happiest had he trained as an architect grin He now teaches and finds that more rewarding than the orchestral or solo work.
Btw - he started playing at 8 and only really started practising more than a couple of hours a day when he went to specialist music school aged 11. He also feels that starting earlier is totally unnecessary and did his real serious hours of practise as a late teenager. He says there were plenty of highly talented people at his music school who started at 10,11 or 12 so your DD isn't losing out if she isn't practising hours and hours a day. He also says that he had to relearn everything at music school as his technique was so bad from poor local teaching. They obviously picked him up for sheer musicality. He also says he has known people with equal talent to a number of famous soloists but that very good connections within the music world and serious family financial backing as well as a good deal of plain and simple luck are extremely helpful if you are to reach the absolute peak. With natural talent and good teaching you could get into an orchestra but one of the reasons he hated the orchestras was there was such a lot of pressure to fit in and such a lot of competition for places that if your face didn't fit perfectly you'd find yourself out of a job without any notice and he saw that happen to a number of good players. There is very little job security in these careers. His friends who are still pursuing solo careers seem to live an absolutely exhausting life, never in the same city from one day to the next and performing in another country 3 weeks after a CSection in one case! For all these reasons he wouldn't want his children to do music as a career.

Laradaclara Fri 15-Nov-13 22:46:57

Just reading your last post again and no, ultimate talent does not get you there. My friend commented that there are hundreds of people with enough talent, drive and ambition to make an good international solo career but only a few will manage it and only a few of those will be remembered in the future. Similarly there are hundreds more good enough for the orchestras but offend the wrong person or don't quite get on with the section leader and you'll no longer get a look in as they'll have plenty of others to choose from.
He earns as much money teaching as working for an orchestra also though I believe the solo work is well paid if you can get enough of it.

Worriedandlost Fri 15-Nov-13 22:48:18

Probably not so much naive as simply misguided. There is no evidence of any such thing as "ultimate talent" in music. That's just a label people attach to people like Maxim Vengerov to explain their success after the fact, because they don't find the seven hours of practice a day or the early first class teaching a romantic enough explanation.
grin grin grin

Worriedandlost Fri 15-Nov-13 22:49:25

Laradaclara - this is a very interesting, thank you!

Worriedandlost Fri 15-Nov-13 22:51:48

Just out of interest - how about students, say, Menuhin school? Do they have any advantage in profession (obviously they have good grounding, but I mean does it equal Oxford-Cambridge in music world?)

morethanpotatoprints Fri 15-Nov-13 23:00:24

If you practice and enjoy playing and want to do it you will, irrespective of schools attended.
Ime it helps to go to a good music school if you want to go into the profession of teaching, quite often at the school you attended yourself.
The best musicians I know went to an ordinary college if they took further education at all.
Musicians play for very little money most of the time.

Motet Fri 15-Nov-13 23:22:05

Some really interesting responses here.

OP - the rewards for being a 'good but not quite the best' musician (or visual artist, novelist, ballet dancer, tennis player, etc) are not worth the personal investment unless that person really could not envisage doing anything else. The rewards for being a 'good but not quite the best' barrister, strategy consultant, copywriter, senior civil servant etc are extremely high.

Alfred Brendel said that talent was not enough on Desert Island Discs this week, stressing perseverance, resilience, hard work and good luck.

We have a tendency to think that there must be something deserving about those who have succeeded and accordingly that those who are gifted will succeed. But it is easily possible for the truly gifted to fail - there is no court of appeal and very little redress in the arts sector if outcomes are unfair. This is the case even though most people active in the arts might be altruistic and well-meaning. In other fields, the penalties for being 'not quite the best' (whether in reality or simply perceived as such) are just not as severe.

Success in the arts often depends on tiny random differences & occurrences. It's easily imaginable that if John Tavener's brother hadn't been doing building work on Ringo Starr's house, then John Tavener might never have won the support for his career that he did through being picked up by Apple Records.

Laradaclara Fri 15-Nov-13 23:23:21

Yes, I believe so, particularly if you don't have the experience to know where to get good teaching from if you are not from that world yourself. My friend would not send his children there even if they did look like they were going to be the next mozart and were determined on a music career. He could now work out what they might need musically and which teachers to approach himself without sacrificing the all important plan B! I have heard several graduates from those schools comment that the career advice was still limited.

MrsHoolie Sat 16-Nov-13 08:18:14

The advantage to going to a music school in my case was that practice was included within your daily timetable and that you were surrounded by like minded musicians.
When it comes to the profession no one would even notice where you had been to school when it comes to CV's and auditions.
They certainly don't suit everyone and there were loads of unhappy kids. For me it was great and I had some very good teachers.

ElizabethJonesMartin Sat 16-Nov-13 08:40:36

I agree with fastloris and Lara. Many musicians do wish they had done something better paid (like the law and accountancy mentioned on this thread) obviously ionly if they would have been able to pass the exams to do those things I suppose but they often are quite bright so could have done and when they get to the life stage of buying houses, having children it can hit home the impact their career choice has had on them.

We know children who have gone to music schools. If music is your passion then you may want to do it although it is by no means essential and if you change your mind your teens as loads of teenagers do it is difficult because you are at a place where music the key focus whereas at other good schools (as I said 3 of my children won music scholarships to academic private schools) you can still win your choral scholarship or whatever to an Oxbridge college but you can also in your teens decide not to do as much music, plan to read medicine at university or whatever. I would never put any of mine off careers in music but they can see with their own eyes how much pleasure you can still obtain from music if you have it as a hobby beside your professional career which pays better and also they see those who are struggling to earn a crust teaching music and what fewer life choices that then can bring.

FastLoris Sat 16-Nov-13 13:15:00

On music specialist schools a la Menuhin -

This is something I've thought about as my little one, though younger than that right now, might be suitable for it down the line.

If the kid has shown the desire and drive to do music that intensively, it's hard not to be attracted to the obvious advantages. I'm not sure about Menuhin but at the Purcell School they get two and a half or three hours of one-to-one lessons a week; their academic timetable is all arranged around their music; and if they board they're surrounded by other kindred spirits 24/7.

I've read about people going to specialist music schools and deciding by 18 that they hate it and don't want to do it as a career. I have to admit I don't think that's such a bad thing. It's probably better to get the bug out of your system, learn what the reality is like and make an informed choice that it's not for you when you're 18 and can easily go and do something else, than when you're older like Lara's friend.

It's also worth noting that the academic (ie non-music) results from these schools tend to be pretty good. Not absolutely top notch, but well above average. Every year they send people off to do science and law and various other degrees, as well as music. If DC is academically bright and well organised, I don't think there's anything stopping them getting good enough results in other subjects to go into another career after such training.

I tend to look at it as doing what they have to do to follow their passion to the max while they can, rather than necessarily signing up to a career. Doing that while the window to other careers is still open, seems to make more sense than doing it at music college and then while trying to work in your twenties, and finding out in your thirties that it's not working.

ElizabethJonesMartin Sat 16-Nov-13 13:56:01

Plenty do well from those schools. I think you should go if music is your absolute passion. Plenty of just fairly musical children probably keep their options a little bit more open if they go to slightly better schools if they can get in - Westminster, Haberdashers etc. As the thread was about investment in a child's music, careers and money we can probably say the average St Paul's boy earns more than the average music school child and probably can do a huge amount of music too and win a choral scholarship to an Oxbridge college.

However if you really have to do loads of music and want to be with other children who do then the specialist music schools will be good for some. (They have not had a great press recently because on the whole you board and there have been cases of child sex abuse which is much less common in the academic day schools).

Motet Sun 17-Nov-13 09:23:58

Music schools can be pressured and not always an ideal environment for perfectionist and competitive young people. If you live in London or a city with a strong music culture, top-class tuition can be arranged privately & on a bespoke basis, so that your child could stay at home and also attend a very good day school. As mentioned above, cathedral schools and public schools with a strong music tradition also have a very strong offer. The young girl who won the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition last year commuted fortnightly to Hamburg for music tuition.

As for whether attending music schools is equivalent to Oxford-Cambridge, well, studying at Oxbridge does not guarantee anything either! It depends on the whole package - a graduate with a first in Economics from UCL, followed by two years at McKinsey topped off with a Harvard MBA, for example, looks pretty stellar. In the field I work in, a stint at Oxbridge doesn't have exceptional cachet - the field is very international for a start and having the right knowledge, connections & experience is more important. Oxbridge doesn't have a monopoly - there are parallels with music.

I did study at Oxbridge for a time and met a few students who had studied at Chet's/Purcell etc before having had enough. Some of those work in music-related fields now & continue to play seriously. But my sense is that those who activated Plan B early enough to do well at something else are happier and more fulfilled.

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