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to be disappointed that my 4 year old doesn't want piano lessons

(203 Posts)
evalluna Sun 01-Sep-13 08:56:05

Both my partner and I are musical, I played in orchestras throughout school and university and a bit beyond, though have let it slide since having children. My partner plays several instruments and has played in loads of different ensembles. We have a piano which we both (again mainly pre-kids) enjoyed playing though not to a great standard. We have always been keen for our kids to learn though (I have always regretted not having piano lessons as we didn't have a piano when I was growing up.) My partner was keen for them to learn by the suzuki method, so yesterday we took our daughter to meet a suzuki teacher, who was lovely (and our daughter actually went to sit next to when asked which is unusual as she is usually shy with unknown adults). However, when the teacher tried to do a few clapping games with her she wasn't interested and started being silly, and when she asked her if she wanted to learn to play the piano she said no. Understandably the teacher didn't want to take on a young child who didn't want to learn and suggester we leave it a while.

I am a bit disappointed, partly as I am probably projecting my own wish to have learned young on to her and feel it is wasting an opportunity. Also, I think she does have a fair bit of musical ability - she has always loved music and has had a very in-tune singing voice from an early age. My partner feels we have somehow failed not to have instigated in her a desperate desire to learn the piano. However, personality wise she has always been a mixture of extremely stubborn and quite anxious in new situations and has never been one for doing something she doesn't want to do. I wonder if she is just not ready - similarly for a long time she refused to write her name when asked even though she could but now is happy to do so. And although she has known her letters for a long time she has only recently wanted to attempt to put them together to read (she is about to start reception) and it was pointless trying to get her to do this before.

We have got a book called Lulus piano lesson which we have been reading with her and she likes, and my partner has done a bit with her, teaching her where the notes are, which she knows. When i ask why she doesn't want to learn she says 'because I already know' (ie can bash about a bit!)

I don't want to push it, but want to try to develop things so she might be ready for lessons at some point. Has anyone had similar experience/ got any advice? Thanks.

pigletmania Sun 01-Sep-13 09:13:01

Op does sound a bit pushy, its a good idea to teach her some melodies at home, and mabey experiment with differents things that make sounds so she can do a rhythm. play around her yourself, and hopefully she will want to learn an instrument (not necessarily piano) later on

Chippednailvarnish Sun 01-Sep-13 09:15:11

I doubt you would have such a mammoth opening post about your DD lack of interest in ballet OP...
I can see this is going to be one of those threads when the majority of MN'ers say YABU but the OP carries on regardless.

HamwidgeAlive Sun 01-Sep-13 09:18:23

She is her own person, not you or your DH. It sounds like you are pressuring her. Let her find her own interests.

QuintessentialOldDear Sun 01-Sep-13 09:19:45

evalluna, you do seem pushy from your posts.

And a bit pig headed to be honest. Your girl said "no" when asked if she wanted to play the piano. This is your cue she is not ready, not your cue to find different ways of disrespecting her stance!

Give it a few years! Let her try other instruments.

My son asked me to play the violin when he was 4. It was such a shock, as I am not musical, never played the violin, but I signed him up with lessons. He has not kept it up, but he learnt to read music, which has helped him in his vocal development. He now has singing lessons. I have never pushed him to do anything. I have nurtured his talents, and let him have plenty of opportunities. You just want to give your daughter the opportunity YOU wished you had. ONE opportunity, the Piano, not many, and not her choices...

I can tell you from personal experience that pushing your child into your instrument, may not instill the love you wish. My dad had always wanted to learn to play the organ as a child. I found myself in a dark and cold church battling a church organ as a young teenager, and did not stick to it despite bribery of an electronic keyboard....

SilverApples Sun 01-Sep-13 09:20:37

If you and OH play as a couple at home, she will want to be a part of that.
Let her participate informally, the rest may follow.

SugarMiceInTheRain Sun 01-Sep-13 09:21:08

YABU and projecting. She is probably too young. I teach piano and would not teach a 4 year old. A couple of 7 year olds I teach are still a bit young to concentrate for a half hour lesson or to practise enough to make it worth their parents' while forking out for lessons. Agree with posters upthread - wait til she is interested. Otherwise it will be a chore.

everlong Sun 01-Sep-13 09:21:52

Four is too young. She needs to enjoy it if she's going to pick it up.

Ds is just 7 and will start lessons when he goes back to school next week..

JumpingJackSprat Sun 01-Sep-13 09:22:14

If this isnt about you being pushy then why are you so focused on the piano? She might prefer the electric guitar in a couple of years - or she might prefer horse riding, dancing, trampolining, running, football or none of the above - let her develop her own interests. shes told you as clearly as she knows how that shes not interested in learning the piano.

evalluna Sun 01-Sep-13 09:23:25

Chippednailvarnish - no, you are right i would have been less bothered about lack of interest in ballet. However I think the ability to play piano stands more people in good stead into adulthood than childhood ballet lessons. i am glad she likes ballet and appears to be ok at it as I think it is important to have an interest.

As is clearly evident from my previous posts i am not carrying on regardless but am taking on advice that she is probably too young for a variety of reasons, which is partly what I wanted to know. i have no intention of forcing a child to learn something they do not want to do, but would like to gently encourage an interest if possible. If I was planing to carry on regardless I would not have posted (or perhaps you did not bother to read my subsequent posts)

PasswordProtected Sun 01-Sep-13 09:24:40

I think 4 is too young, unless your daughter has been asking you to teach her or sitting at the piano herself, trying to play "tunes".
I asked my parents for piano lessons when I was about 6 and a half, so would say if she wants to learn, she will do something similar.
Even though you, tge parents, are both musical it is a little unreasonable to expect or force the interest in your child.

evalluna Sun 01-Sep-13 09:26:11

Also, I am not just focused on the piano, I would like her to (want to) learn another instrument at some point but she is too young physically for many orchestral instruments.

QuintessentialOldDear Sun 01-Sep-13 09:27:43

Then leave it for now. Expose her ears to good music and let her learn a love of music from hearing great pieces to start with.

DoItTooJulia Sun 01-Sep-13 09:30:47

Tricky one.

I think the posters saying 'poor girl' and 'pushy mum' haven't read your posts properly. You don't sound pushy to me! And our daughter sounds like a lucky little girl!

I was forced to play the piano for years and didn't like it. Now, I wish I could play better, or at all. I'm not familiar with this Suzuki method, what is it?

I can understand that you are diapoointed, but keep exposing her to it and offering her the chance and if it's for her, it will happen! Why don't you try some lessons to scratch your itch?

evalluna Sun 01-Sep-13 09:30:58

Actually, this thread has helped me to reflect that she maybe is a bit too young and to stop worrying about it for the moment.

SilverApples Sun 01-Sep-13 09:31:14

I've got numerous friends who are folk musicians, their children are surrounded by people who love music and play it all the time, formally and informally. Some of those children are fine musicians now, because of the immersion.
Some are non-musical and working in completely different fields. smile

StyleManual Sun 01-Sep-13 09:31:30

Agree with Quint - she might be old enough to go to some concerts. Especially around Christmas there might be some nice child friendly ones. If you show her how wonderful the world of music is she will probably develop her own interest. Just letting her see and hear you play and letting her approach it herself in time. I don't think you're pushy btw.

Vecta Sun 01-Sep-13 09:32:25

If you really want to encourage music, at 4, it would probably be better to find a general music class to go to, one that does shaking, and banging with more age-appropriate instruments and objects. She will learn about rhythm and notes which will stand her in good stead with any musical instrument she takes up in the future.

evalluna Sun 01-Sep-13 09:32:52

suzuki method (my understanding of it) involves a parent going along and learning alongside the child, so they can help them at home. It also, I think, focuses more on listening and less on reading notation, so seemed suitable for a young child.

SilverApples Sun 01-Sep-13 09:32:54

<Thinks of the lovely eco-crusty fiddler whose son became a police officer>
Just keep on loving her, whatever her interests are.

saintmerryweather Sun 01-Sep-13 09:32:59

how does the ability to play piano stand someone in good stead over dancing?

Dackyduddles Sun 01-Sep-13 09:33:21

God talk about take fun out of a past time. Ooh a method yay lets shove it down dcs throat. Oh why doesn't dc play?

Best way is to just sing nursery rhymes and press the keys along. She doesn't need to know what a semi quaver is just that these few keys sing baa baa black sheep. I'd love a kid that can hear a tune and pick out on a piano more than one at four that can read music.

Why are you making it so difficult and so blooming unenjoyable?

evalluna Sun 01-Sep-13 09:35:22

Playing the piano seems a useful skill in lots of contexts - eg teachers who can play piano have an extra string to their bow (excuse pun), it is something that can be useful in various situations/ social gatherings. Maybe I'm wrong in this viewpoint though (I know lots of people forced to learn as children never play another note!)

elQuintoConyo Sun 01-Sep-13 09:36:31

Has she tried the harp?

SilverApples Sun 01-Sep-13 09:38:15

We tend to use CDs now to singalong with in school, or online resources.. Many schools are phasing out their pianos, they cost to maintain and tune, and if you only have one player in school, that is restrictive.
Playing the piano is a fun activity, not really a useful skill any longer.

IfIonlyhadsomesleep Sun 01-Sep-13 09:38:26

As other posters have said, four is really young to start to learn to play the piano. We want our children to learn instruments but held off until dd was in year two so a month off seven. It has worked well a year on, she can read music and is about to start the clarinet. Even at seven, it has sometimes been hard to help her learn the practice habit. I did music, reached grade eight and I didn't start more than recorder until I was nearly twelve. So on every level, I think you should relax. School will be demanding and she will need time outside school to do what she wants. There will also be reading books from school. It might not sound much, but you will need time and space to get used to it all.

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