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To ask for your tips in getting kids to do music practise....

(59 Posts)
LilacRoses Sun 11-May-14 19:24:27

Dd (11) has been playing the violin for a couple of years. She really does enjoy the actual lessons (recently changed teachers for various reasons, loves her new teacher). However, we are still finding that we have to nag her every single time to practise. Part of me thinks that this is just what kids are like but part of me thinks that by now she ought to be more self motivated.

I've asked her many times if she really wants to carry on and she insists that she does. She's looking forward to doing her grade in a few months and is excited about playing in various groups at high school but she is still very lazy about practise. If we didn't nag her she wouldn't pick her violin up from one lesson the the next. Any great ideas?

guineapig1 Sun 11-May-14 19:28:33

Tbh I think any practice helps so encourage orchestra/ group playing. Does she have any friends who she can practice with, maybe look at duets etc. Other than that you could resort to bribery wink but at 11 she is old enough to decide for herself whether she wants to carry on and realise that practice is essential for progress.

fourcorneredcircle Sun 11-May-14 19:29:41

Explain to her that you are pleased she enjoys her lessons so much and that she's excited about playing violin at high school but that she needs to understand that lessons are expensive. Make a timetable with her of when she should practise and for how long. If she doesn't do it cancel the lessons. By 11 she should understand that you aren't going to pay for things she does't commit to.

Coffeeinthepark Sun 11-May-14 19:31:10

I suggest make a set number of minutes of practice a day a condition for whatever it is she definitely does want to do - watch TV, get pocket money etc. not sure if that will work for an 11 year old but works here for my 6 year old

TheEmpress Sun 11-May-14 19:31:41

Get the violin out for her and set the music up. I find it's the effort to get started that stops the practice, whereas if all she has to do is play, it might be easier.

CaptainTripps Sun 11-May-14 19:33:13

Number of minutes for each year she has been alive - so 11 mins per day. It is manageable like this.

puntasticusername Sun 11-May-14 19:35:11

My first concern was whether she does really want to carry on learning - but it sounds as if she does and she's just having trouble getting into good habits with her practising.

Routine and regularity help a lot. Set aside times to practise every single day eg before school, after tea - so it becomes something she just does, like brushing her teeth morning and night.

Two or three short (15-20 minute) sessions might be more beneficial for learning than one long one, and easier to manage psychologically!

Check that she's structuring her practice time properly as well, doing the right mix of scales, arpeggios and sight reading and not just skipping straight to her favourite pieces! Doing five minutes of each at each practice will mean she's done before she knows it.

Goldmandra Sun 11-May-14 19:35:27

We always work on the principle that you earn the lessons by doing the practise. I've cancelled a violin lesson once and made DD1 tell the teacher why. I didn't have to do it again but have had to remind her several times.

With DD2 we pay termly so I just threaten not to pay when the next bill arrives.

Normalisavariantofcrazy Sun 11-May-14 19:42:43

We operate on a 'instrument out for minimum of 5mins a day or the lessons stop' policy

It works because they know if they're tired they can stop after 5-10mins but some days they can be there practicing 30-45 mins later

Jjuice Sun 11-May-14 19:42:54

Ds plays guitar. He was rubbish at practicing when going for 1st grade. He got a distinction. I told him if he could do that without trying how amazing could he be if he practiced properly. Hmm next grade he got merit. Ohwell.
I find now his guitar is on a stand in his room he plays 3-4 times a day albeit only 5-10 mins.
He now going for grade 4 and is really looking forwards to it. At weekends he plays sometimes 10 times a day.
He would never do this when guitar was in case...too much effort.
Is there a wall bracket or desk stand you can get so it is permanently out?
I played violin for a year at that age and hated the faff with the resin and tuning.

Auntimatter Sun 11-May-14 19:48:35

Look on the positive side: not practicing means you really hone your sight-reading skills. As you have to pretend to the teacher that you have been practicing...

Not that I am exactly recommending this approach... but a constantly nagging parent is one sure way to put a child off doing whatever the thing is, even if they do actually enjoy it and want to play.

I didn't practice much, enjoyed music, got to grade 5 piano and 6 flute. These days I sing rather than playing, but music is something I get a lot of enjoyment from. It wasn't spoilt for me by an overbearing parent (they were too busy to chase us to practice every day). Can you try chilling out a bit and letting her go to it for pleasure rather than duty?

CountessVronsky Sun 11-May-14 19:50:13

My son started his instrument with his best friend and they share their lesson. This seems to help. Possibly not helpful advice, I'll concede.

PolkadotsAndMoonbeams Sun 11-May-14 19:56:59

It's definitely better if they're easy to get to, music on stand etc., it's the setting up that's the hardest bit! And music teachers can tell if you haven't practised you know. My DSis ended up with a star chart from her teacher - she was sixteen.

Otherwise, having somebody sitting at the table trying to do something quietly usually worked well in our house <rolls eyes>

PolkadotsAndMoonbeams Sun 11-May-14 19:58:48

Plenty of violin stands here.

Auntimatter Sun 11-May-14 20:02:46

Of course they can tell! But you don't quite want to believe that when guiltily playing something you've not looked at for a week!

wintertimeisfun Sun 11-May-14 20:02:58

dd does roughly 15 minutes a day although on two instruments as opposed to just one. not particularly easy to get her to do that but she says she loves playing (which she does), just hard to get her to do it, especially theory which she has to do (as working towards g6). some days she doesn't do any at all. never encouraged her to join an orchestra (outside of school) as thought she wouldn't like it and may end up giving up playing (my parents used to push me, i ended up giving up which i have always regretted since). i know some kids (2) who are forced to do an hour every day before school!! try for around ten minutes a day (dd doesn't do much at the weekends) and see how it goes. fwiw this was enough for dd as she just got a music scholarship!! :0) best of luck

IwishIwasmoreorganised Sun 11-May-14 20:03:19

Ds1 has been practicing his guitar more since I got him a stand for it and for his music. It's out and ready to go without fussing with the case, finding the right page in the book etc.
Could you try that?

Goldmandra Sun 11-May-14 20:10:54

Ds1 has been practicing his guitar more since I got him a stand for it and for his music.

On the back of this thread, I've just ordered a wall hook for DD2's guitar. Anything to make it easier is good smile

PolkadotsAndMoonbeams Sun 11-May-14 20:14:49

Oh I know now. I don't know how I used to think I'd get away with it.

I did get away with it when I first started the saxophone - nobody had told the teacher I'd played recorder and clarinet for years, although she knew I could read music. I was too embarrassed to say anything. She was very impressed with my 'sight reading' and guessing of fingering for notes I didn't know blush

ThreeLannistersOneTargaryen Sun 11-May-14 20:19:34

Totally agree with having an instrument stand and a music stand.

With three currently playing instruments and also trying to fit in homework, revision and after-school activities, we have found it easy if each child has a time slot. So DS2 has to do his clarinet practice at some point between 4pm and 4.30pm.

Along with homework and chores, music practice is just one of those things they have to do before they can watch TV or play on the computer.

CanaryYellow Sun 11-May-14 20:42:41

With DS we found that short bursts of practice (10 minutes at a time) worked best.

Another good way is to make the practice not such a solitary activity. We ask him to come and play for us - anything he likes, show us what he's working on in his lessons, and explain to us some of the theory and techniques.

We have a guitar in the living room, one in the kitchen/diner and he has one in his bedroom so he's always picking one up and strumming along with whatever music we've got on at the time.

And bribery never fails!

LilacRoses Sun 11-May-14 21:00:29

Thanks so much all, this is really, really helpful. Good to know it's a universal dilema! Great to hear about little things that make it easier to get them going! I think I will get the music out on the stand and Dd has said she will do it after tea every day which is fine with me. I'm definitely going to say that if she doesn't do it then the lessons stop, which will pain me greatly because I'm so happy she has kept them up for this long when nearly all of her friends have given up! Thanks again!

maddy68 Sun 11-May-14 21:13:18

I really wouldn't pressure her. That's a fast way to kill the love of music. If she wants to practice she will

RandomMess Sun 11-May-14 21:14:34

I ask my dd to tidy her room and the next thing is I can hear practising the keyboard!!! I'm sure it's not a failsafe method though smile

clam Sun 11-May-14 21:20:00

Just to piss everyone off, can we please sort out the correct spelling of practice/practise?
Practise = verb, e.g. I am practising the piano.
Practice = noun, e.g. I have done my piano practice.

<<runs away>>

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