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... to think DS(ister) should not cancel DN's music lessons?

(27 Posts)
lamreallynotallthatsure Mon 01-Dec-14 04:31:39

Let me just preface this by saying that this is her decision and I will not be saying anything about it at all to her. I am just curious as to whether you think this is right, as it struck me as a tad unkind.

BTW I am 100% certain Dsis does not use MN.

Dsis has three children. Two are away at university and the youngest is in Year 13.

Dsis has just told me that after Christmas DN (the youngest) will not be continuing her music lessons. She has not told DN this.

DN is not very good at music. She started quite late (already in secondary school when she had her first lessons). She also does not practice every day. Maybe 3x per week. But she tries and she enjoys it and she recently sat her first ever theory exam and she worked really hard for it, ending up with a distinction (I think she sat grade 3 or 4). I know she and her teacher have plans for her to sit a practical exam next year.

Dsis was telling me that really the money could be better spent and that DN will need to concentrate on her academic work for year 13.

DN is doing exceptionally well academically (she may not be good at music or sport but she is great at school) and I know for a fact Dsis is not poor. ( I think the money will go on luxury items for -my-- --sister)

So AIBU to think that this is quite unkind of Dsis? She will only have to pay for two more terms of music anyway and I think Christmas is a shit time of year to do this.

I know this is really trivial but it annoys me. DN has just asked me to go to her Christmas recital. sad


fortifiedwithtea Mon 01-Dec-14 05:29:29

Maybe YABU.

Music lessons are very expensive and Dsis maybe be as flush as you think. Is DN having lessons at school? What usually happens is the child is taken out of normal lesson time to do their music. They are then expected to catch up on classroom work they have missed. For this reason, music lessons are never at the same time each week so as not to keep buggering up the same subject IYSWIM.

There's nothing to stop DN carrying playing her instrument at home. I think that would be good for her. Sixth form is very stressful. If DN has time for a Saturday job, she could pay for her own lessons perhaps.

fortifiedwithtea Mon 01-Dec-14 05:32:01

Dsis may not be as flush as you think.

<wishes MN had an edit button>

jeee Mon 01-Dec-14 05:37:40

So your non-musical (but academic) DN is approaching her final school exams. Music demands a lot of time. A-levels demand a lot time. Your DN is probably revising like mad for her mocks at the moment, and your sister has realised that something's got to give. And it makes sense for it to be the music. Your DN can always go back to music later.

lamreallynotallthatsure Mon 01-Dec-14 05:41:14

Thanks for your reply. I do know that in the scheme of things it is not a big deal, it just sort of upset me because Dsis mentioned it casually when we were having coffee together at her house, and then DN arrived and invited me to the recital.

In answer to your questions.

But the lessons are after school. DN has a job but it is not paid.

And I know my sister is very well off, I don't begrudge her that. We are out of the UK and her husband earns mega bucks. She asked me for help filing her tax returns and I have seen how much they earn.

I accept though that I am unreasonable to be poking my nose in, which is why I will not be bringing it up with Dsis.

3bunnies Mon 01-Dec-14 06:05:06

Lessons are very expensive and I often question the value if the dc aren't practicing enough. Mine are still young and so I feel that we should continue to give them the benefit of the doubt. At 17/18 I don't intend to still be asking them to do their practice but if they are still having lessons then I would expect them to be regularly practicing. Maybe your niece has to be reminded all the time to practice.

Your Sis might be paying out for other activities such as driving lessons etc as well as still supporting the older ones at Uni.

I would only think it might be unfair if she paid for lessons for the other two for longer and they didn't practice much either but just happened to be better.

My dd loves doing recitals and would be excited to invite relatives along if any lived nearby. Doesn't make it any easier to get her to practice! Don't get me wrong she loves playing and it does go in cycles - sometimes she will want to play for ages, but other times I have to keep reminding her. I wouldn't want to still be at this stage when she is in sixth form.

fortifiedwithtea Mon 01-Dec-14 06:18:10

Hmm, ok well off and lessons after school. That does put a different light on it.

Other interests are important to combat stress. How about mentioning to Dsis the therapeutic benefit of letting DN carry on with music. It could indirectly help her achieve better academic exam success.

I can see how you would feel being asked to the recital knowing her mum is going to put the plug on her music in the New Year.


Cooroo Mon 01-Dec-14 06:31:13

If she's really practising 3 times a week that's pretty impressive. My DD is in Y13 and will continue to go to violin this year although i could happily use the money and she rarely practices! They play music together in the group lesson and she enjoys it. I believe making music with others is really good for you so I'm keeping lessons going till end of the year.

lamreallynotallthatsure Mon 01-Dec-14 06:42:05

Thanks everyone for your comments. I am not really sure why I posted here as nothing is going to change, and I certainly can't pay for DN's lessons, but I think I just wanted to know I was not completely unreasonable (although I do see both sides of the debate and I think Dsis is not entirely unreasonable either).

I guess I will just be a supportive aunt at her recital, as it will be her last.

Thanks everyone!

claraschu Mon 01-Dec-14 06:42:36

Your sister is very very wrong not to discuss this with her daughter. Maybe her daughter doesn't mind stopping; she might be quite relieved, even.

On the other hand, she might be very upset by this. I absolutely can't conceive of doing this to a child of any age, but certainly at this point, it is your niece's decision. If it is a financial problem (which seems not to be the case) it is still something that needs discussion and explanation.

Ifyourawizardwhydouwearglasses Mon 01-Dec-14 07:33:16

If she's that bothered she can get a job and pay for her own music lessons surely?

UncleT Mon 01-Dec-14 07:36:48

Seems to be largely based on your assumption that sis will spend the money on herself. Can you evidence that at all?

BeckAndCall Mon 01-Dec-14 07:44:20

Your niece is clearly better than you let on here if she is playing at a recital so she may actually love her lessons and be sad to lose them,

However, the study demands of year 13 are massive and your sister may be planning ahead or indeed panicking herself about the months ahead.

I suggest you don't judge but try to get to the bottom of it and talk through your sisters concerns.....

velourvoyageur Mon 01-Dec-14 07:47:14

YANBU in theory but interfering all the same.

If she got a distinction in a theory exam she is good by the way.

claraschu Mon 01-Dec-14 07:50:18

But the niece hasn't even been told that her lessons are stopping!

The mother should have talked to DN about it, explained why she no longer wanted to pay for this, and given DN some options. DN could quit, get a job to pay, cut down to fortnightly lessons, think about how important this is, and practise more if she wants to keep having lessons, etc.

As it is, I think the mother is being very insensitive.

LaurieFairyCake Mon 01-Dec-14 07:59:31


Any kid of that age practising three times a week and already doing grade 3 or 4 is doing it for enjoyment.

It doesn't really sound as if she gets a lot of enjoyment.

And I think what's making my spidey senses go is wondering if the other kids got it all the way through? I've met a few parents recently who's last child is getting the short shrift, not taken to uni's/no interest shown in their future - a lot of 'we will be glad when the last one goes'. [hmm

So if the others got it, she should unless there has been a dramatic change in circumstances with money.

LIZS Mon 01-Dec-14 08:03:11

yabu to think this has anything to do with you. Maybe there is an ensemble she could join if she enjoys it that much , although likely to be populated by younger children or maybe there would be an adult beginners one. She can always resume after exams or when she can afford. Just because your dsis has a relatively high income doesn't mean that her disposable income is also high as she could have significant outgoings or prefer to save for dn's higher education.

YeGodsAndLittleFishes Mon 01-Dec-14 08:18:12

I don't really think it is your business, but agree that if DN is practicing 3 times a week then it is worth keeping it up. Grade 3/4 is an awkward level to leave it at, and harder to go back to without a lot of encouragement, so I'd treat it as important as her other subjects and continue paying for lessons at uni as long as she is still going to lessons and wanting to practice every week. But I am very unusual, not many of my DCs parents have the same outlook.

Doing something for enjoyment is worth as much investment as academic study and preparation for work, imo. Some orchestras accept musicians at grade 3 and above, and your DN might be able to play in an orchestra at university, which is a great experience.

Icimoi Mon 01-Dec-14 08:31:58

Children coming up to big exams need something that offers a bit of a break from constant revision. If music is what provides that break for DN and she is enjoying it, she really ought to continue with it.

YeGodsAndLittleFishes Mon 01-Dec-14 08:34:38

Very good point ici.

skylark2 Mon 01-Dec-14 08:45:09

I'm a bit confused by the plans to sit a practical exam next year - if you meant next calendar year then that will be on top of her A levels and a really bad idea, and if you meant next school year, won't an academic kid have gone away to uni?

I don't think it's odd at all. DS won't be having any piano lessons close to his GCSEs. I can't imagine he'll stop playing and wouldn't ever try to make him (well, for some definitions of ever, he does need to do some work!) but timetabled lessons can have a break for a while.

People seem to think that music = lessons. It doesn't. And I think the worst of all possible worlds is encouraging someone who's in their A level year to practice more or get a job!

Balaboosta Mon 01-Dec-14 08:48:18

I think you can totally have a quiet word with dsis about this. Go to the recital and then say something like "it's a shame about dn's lessons... She was rather good you know. I likes how she -insert praising comment- Are you sure about stopping lessons?"

YeGodsAndLittleFishes Mon 01-Dec-14 09:03:42

DD sat her grade 5 theory music exam just after her GCSEs. She'd been preparing for it on and off for ages though, so didnt need to revise. She's having lessons now for enjoyment and not working towards a grade. There are plenty of pieces to play, lots of techniques to perfect, and as she isn't practicing (but does enjoy playing to help deal with stress) it is the last thing I'd cut. She thought I would cut it if she didn't practice, as that was my rule when she was starting out to encourage practice, but now it is about what is healthy and keeping up something she has put a great deal of time and effort into and has become good(ish) at.

BarbarianMum Mon 01-Dec-14 09:18:24

My parents stopped my music lessons when I was young when it 'became clear I wasn't very musical'. I am not musical at all, (I'm more of an academic) but I was gutted and still resent their reasoning. I really loved playing and being told that basically I wasn't worth it was a real slap in the face sad.

Not much you can do OP but encourage your niece to keep playing for her own enjoyment.

My kids are encouraged to pursue their interests on the basis of enthusiasm rather than talent alone, and everyone needs a hobby/ way to relax, even in exam year.

manchestermummy Mon 01-Dec-14 09:25:00

Um, YABU, because really it's very little to do with you.

What grade is she? Because three times a week isn't enough, frankly. My seven-year-old is made to does more than that.

I stopped piano lessons in Year 12 (or lower sixth, as it was back in my day!) because the 1.5 hours practice of my main instrument six times a week plus A-level revision wasn't really compatible with them.

Parents suggested it, I agreed.

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