Advanced search

Should I force DD to give up her trombone lessons?

(59 Posts)
AgentZigzag Fri 29-Jul-11 15:01:19

About a year and a half ago 10 YO DD1 started weekly lessons to learn to play an instrument for the local brass band.

They give you the instrument and you pay twenty odd quid for the insurance.

She started off on the euphonium and about 9/10 months ago went onto the trombone.

I reckon she's doing really well, reading music and that, the bloke she has lessons with thinks the same and she should be doing her grade 1 in the next couple of months.

The problem is she doesn't practice at home, we've 'encouraged' her to do it and said if her teacher thinks she's good when she doesn't practice just think how well she'd play with a bit each/every other night. She enjoys it when she's at her lesson, but maybe sees practicing as a chore but doesn't want to give in/up.

I'd be interested to know whether other posters think she's not practicing because she's a 10 YO and has better things to do, or whether the lessons are on to a road to nowhere because if she was into it she'd want to practice?

This came up a few months ago and we gave her a certain amount of time to show us she could practice before we said it might be a good idea to let it go and someone else's child have a go. She didn't practice.

It's come up again because we're going through a skint phase and with the £20 we pay for insurance, plus the time DH loses in pay when he has to leave early from work to get her to her lesson, could help out quite a lot.

I'm stalling because I want her to have the benefit of being able to read music/play instrument/play in band, so is it worth it scraping the cash for such a long term benefit? How have other peoples DCs music lessons panned out?

I did think last night that perhaps I could offer her an alternative activity like swimming/dancing that's not so 'expensive'? She has her own trombone as well, so she could keep it up and maybe start lessons at some time in the future, she's moving to a new school as she'll be in Yr 7 next year, so perhaps they'll have lessons.

I just keep going round and round in circles because I don't want to do wrong by her, what do you think?

ragged Fri 29-Jul-11 15:11:39

In your situation I made DD earn her pocket money (& part of birthday/Xmas money) by practising. No practise = no pocket money. Half the time she was supposed to practise = half the money. Etc.

It worked(s), DD mostly practises now what she's supposed to do (her teacher is delighted & even said she'd wish other parents would do the same). I thought same as you, if she really loved it she ought to want to practice without external incentive, but I think the reality is a bit more complex.

VeganMummy Fri 29-Jul-11 15:13:03

Speaking only from personal experience, I started piano lessons when my mother inherited a piano and was really keen on it for a while. After a couple of years I started to lose interest, and didn't practise any more in between lessons. My teacher noticed I wasn't practising and she was the one who persuaded me to stop. I think YANBU in asking her to stop lessons if she's not practising in between. She may be good now, but it will eventually get to the point when the teacher notices she's not practising and she's not keeping up with her lessons.

Dozer Fri 29-Jul-11 15:17:40

Yanbu, but if she gives up now, it's unlikely she'll start again. I know people who passed lots of grades and were good enough to play in local/school ensembles and have all the fun that goes with that who rarely practiced. Perhaps the teacher might be able to help encourage her.

LoveBeingAtHomeOnMyOwn Fri 29-Jul-11 15:18:42

Part of the 'contract' of having lessons is practise. Maybe it's the wrong instrUment for her? Or she is just too young at the moment and would put more into it in a year or so?

ExitPursuedByAGryffin Fri 29-Jul-11 15:20:41

My DD gave up the piano, and has now given up the clarinet. She passed exams and was OK, but did not shine and I used to get a headache trying to persuade her to practice. Life is too short for all that stress imo smile

roisin Fri 29-Jul-11 15:37:16

In my house music lessons go hand in hand with a commitment to practise regularly.
ds1 doesn't have the temperament for this and is not particularly musical, so has never had lessons.
When ds2 stopped playing regularly I dropped his piano lessons, but he took it up again a couple of years later.

I think it's a cyclical thing: if they practise, they improve, get invited to perform, impress their teachers, parents, examiners, friends, etc. So they want to practice more...

ds2 did an exam this week and it's the holidays, so we're fairly relaxed. But he's been practising for half an hour a day, or more; because he got such a buzz from the exam.

bubblesincoffee Fri 29-Jul-11 15:40:42

If she enjoys it, it would be a shame for her to give it up. I'd try bribery. No computer/television time until she has practiced. It's the only way I can get my 11yo to practice.

ragged Fri 29-Jul-11 15:40:44

I am sure that someone on here, Beetroot? used to pay her kids to practice, 20-40p/practice, I think. She was happy with that solution, her children made good progress iirc.

JanMorrow Fri 29-Jul-11 15:41:13

I used to be rubbish at practising the violin.. I enjoyed playing it, but I was lazy.. so I think a bit of encouragement, if she actually does enjoy it, will not go amiss.

AgentZigzag Fri 29-Jul-11 15:41:27

Thanks so much for your answers.

I'm realistic when it comes to childrens hobbys, I know they usually drift off from them in time, so I don't want to force her to keep doing it just because she's done it for a year and a half.

Nor do I want to be a parent who strictly enforces practice times, a surefire way to put her off and make her resent me.

She's been to dance lessons for 5/6 years, so she has got staying power, but like you say LoveBeing, maybe it's not the right instrument or she's not the right age - for her to be into it, as I'm sure younger DC get into music.

Whenever I bring up stopping the lessons though she gets quite upset and I'm trying to get to the bottom of why she's upset. I know you can't tell me the reason because you don't know her, but I didn't learn any instruments when I was younger so in a bit of a void about it.

JanMorrow Fri 29-Jul-11 15:41:57

and by encouragement, I mean the above plan to get her to "earn" her pocket money by practising!

AgentZigzag Fri 29-Jul-11 15:43:23

She can be a tad lazy sometimes Jan, getting the trombone out of it's case and putting it together, setting up the music stand, finding the music etc then putting it all away, maybe it puts her off a bit?

JobCarHouseNoBaby Fri 29-Jul-11 15:50:39

I would be careful as she is only 10!

I started piano at 3, cornet (also in a brass band where they loaned the instrument) at 11 and sax at 15. I don't think I really got any enjoyment out of practicing until I had 'mastered' how to read music and play a tune without support from my teacher (prob about grade 2-3). If she is only at Grade 1 she might find it difficult to play on her own and might get frustrated without someone helping her with the notes.

I got such an enriched teenage life through playing music in ensembles - I would definitely recommend you try to stick with it for a bit yet. Sometimes the 'fun' in music making is not the practise but the social activitiy of playing music with others. I learnt a lot more about how to read music and play my cornet during my weekly brass band rehearsal than I ever did sitting in my room with a book trying to practise.

I am biased though. Ended up doing a music degree and now run a community wind band at the weekends! (Yep, muso geek alert)

nomoreheels Fri 29-Jul-11 15:59:01

I had piano lessons at that age & stuck with them due to nagging from my parents. I wasn't naturally inclined to love practising at home & I think that's just an age thing. I didn't like my teacher very much though. I did progress to quite a high level (grade 9 I think) but have forgotten most of it now. A shame really.

BTW is the insurance £20/ month or yearly? Because if it's annual, not sure how that will give you more spending power? Not missing work hours to collect her sounds like it would of course.

roisin Fri 29-Jul-11 16:00:31

"Nor do I want to be a parent who strictly enforces practice times, a surefire way to put her off and make her resent me."

Do you know, I am not convinced by this at all. You see more posts on here saying "I wish I'd practised more" or "I wish I hadn't given up" than people who say "My mother was a witch because she chained me to my cello." wink

If you have a few groundrules, it doesn't have to be a huge battle.

In my house if they're having lessons, they can have one non-practice day per week, other than that they have to do some every day, even if it's just 10 minutes.

MissVerinder Fri 29-Jul-11 16:00:54

Ha ha, jobcarhouse what did you get up to in tour?

IME maybe ten is a little early to be expecting that level of practice on a trombone, which is physically quite difficult. I play French horn (had to get that in) and it can be hard on the neck/arms after a bit, especially after the euphonium.
Is she happy with her choice of instrument? Maybe it's the social aspect of band she'll miss which upsets her.
Also, in my area they used to do sh eleventh session music school on a Saturday as well as tuition through the council which was subsidised. Maybe you could look at this?

wineandroses Fri 29-Jul-11 16:12:54

My DD (6) has violin lessons at school (after-school activity which we pay for) but doesn't practice at home. New term in September = new violin lesson fees. I've suggested we drop violin as she isn't practising, but she got very upset. She likes lessons and playing at the school concerts etc but I think she is a bit lazy about practice. However, I also know its hard because we both work, so she comes home about 5.45-6.00 then has homework, then supper and a little TV, then bed, so not much time for practice. Not sure whether to continue with lessons or not. Might go with the bribery suggestion, maybe 4 times a week or something.

Theas18 Fri 29-Jul-11 16:13:42

Ita with the poster who said grade 2 and a good grasp of reading music before it really gets to be fun. Do you help her practice at all? If shes doing it alone apart from the lessons then to get to grade 1 by now is great! Encourage her, it don and listen to her playing rather than fighting for her to practice. Fwiw my 3 play now at quite a high standard and don't do a Lot of practice. Infact it is only post grade5 they start to practice in the way I understand- ie take the hard bit and work on it rather than playing the whole thing through ignoring the bits you dont get right lol.

Oh and get her playing in a band ASAP. Playing with others is the best bit and will increase enjoyment and motivate her more.

AgentZigzag Fri 29-Jul-11 16:30:03

It's £20 a month, and with DHs lost hours making it up to £55 a month.

The music she practices is a bit limited and short, I listen to her from another room and encourage her to feel/listen to it rather than just play the notes (don't know if that's right, I was thinking what good musicians get out of their music).

She plays with the band after her lesson and enjoys it.

I'm not adverse to making her do things she doesn't like (she's tidying her room as I type grin) maybe it's me being lax about her practice and I should nag remind her more often?

LiegeAndLief Fri 29-Jul-11 16:43:09

I started playing the piano when I was 10. Went through a stage when I was at secondary school when I definitely did not want to practise, but was too terrified of my piano teacher to give up/stop trying (was at boarding school with my parents in another country so they didnt' have much influence).

I'm really glad she scared me into it though, because I ended up getting t o quite a high standard and now really enjoy playing. Sometimes a bit of encouragement is a good thing and she should only need to do 15min or so every other day to see some improvement. If you really are having to force her every time though it's no fun for anyone and maybe not for her.

Katisha Fri 29-Jul-11 16:47:02

You can pick up a brass instrument a lot later and still get to a good standard, unlike strings and to some extent, piano, which benefit from an early start.

You would probaly not do any harm by dropping it all for now. If she misses it and wants to start again then fine, but next time she has to practise.

afussyphase Fri 29-Jul-11 16:56:23

I am so glad I had music in my life, it really did enrich my teen years - most of that was the social aspect of singing in choirs, which I was much more able to do having learned to read music and play piano. I've always loved music but I still never wanted to practice piano. My mother told me flat out: no practice = no lessons, they were not willing to pay for it if I wasn't going to practice! That didn't solve the everyday thing but it did make me at least intend to practice, if you see what I mean. My parents probably helped me find the time, plan it out so I wasn't bugged to do it right when I wanted to do something else ... Anyway I still play and I'm so glad they figured out how to get me to practice at least some smile

5Foot5 Fri 29-Jul-11 16:58:51

"She can be a tad lazy sometimes Jan, getting the trombone out of it's case and putting it together, setting up the music stand, finding the music etc then putting it all away, maybe it puts her off a bit?"

Please try to get a trombone stand and let her leave the trombone on that, maybe in her room. I play the trombone too and in between band practices and lessons I try to keep it assembled and sitting on its own stand. I also leave the music stand up with whatever music I should be looking at close to hand.

That way I am more likely to think "Oh I have the odd ten minutes I can just pick it up and have a quick blow" then I would if I had to open the case, put it all together etc.

If she gets upset at the suggestion at stopping lessons and if she is genuinely enjoying band practice then I would urge you to let her continue for a bit. Playing in a band is great fun. Practicing scales on your own not so much. Obviouly you have to put in a bit of work to get anywhere but maybe she will come round to that as she gets older and the grade exams are more pressing.

Anyway, I can strongly recommend the keeping it on a stand ready to hand approach

AgentZigzag Fri 29-Jul-11 17:06:28

Thanks again for taking the time to post smile

Unfortunately she shares a bedroom with 19 MO DD2, who, although not in there on her own yet, does make a beeline for her trombone if she is. Else she could leave it out.

We have said if she doesn't practice she won't go to the lessons fussyphase, but it hasn't made her upset enough to get it out and do 10/15 mins, even once or twice a week would be good enough for us. What would you make of that from your own experience? That in her heart of hearts she wants us to make the decision for her perhaps?

I want her to enjoy it and have a way of 'expressing' herself through it (if that doesn't sound too poncey grin) but it's not something you can force...or can you?? grin

Join the discussion

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

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: