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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.

coco27 Sun 01-Sep-13 08:57:41

There musty be a reason most piano teachers don't want thembefore they are7 yrs old.

Bluestocking Sun 01-Sep-13 08:58:54

Does she see you and your partner playing the piano? That might be the way to start. If she sees you enjoying playing she may well want to get in on the act.

JumpingJackSprat Sun 01-Sep-13 08:59:35

she seems way too young for it and you sound quite pushy. has she showed an interest in any other instruments?

pigletmania Sun 01-Sep-13 09:00:16

The piano teacher is right, she is only little and if she does not want to, do not force her, ask her in about a year. Mabey do one or two lessons to see how she goes. You really cannot project yourselves onto her, she is an individual of her own

Pancakeflipper Sun 01-Sep-13 09:02:27

Try when she shows an interest.
You say you didn't have lessons as a child and are musical.
You will obviously have music around that become part of her childhood.

Don't push her into it though as it will become a chore and not a joy.

missalien Sun 01-Sep-13 09:03:15

If you are both so musical why can't you just teach her gently some little melodies at home yourselves ?

Four is too young unless she shows an interest herself I'm afraid

frogspoon Sun 01-Sep-13 09:03:23

Sounds like your DD may be a bit immature for piano lessons at the moment. 4 is very young, I know very few people who started before the age of 5 or 6. Maybe try again in a few years?

If she has a nice singing voice perhaps look into singing lessons or a children's choir.

Has she shown interest in a different instrument? Perhaps look into that instead.

pigletmania Sun 01-Sep-13 09:03:53

She is only a baby, my friends daughter is 4 and is learning the piano and doing well, but she really wants to and that makes all the difference. i would leave it for now

claraschu Sun 01-Sep-13 09:03:57

I am a musician and teacher, with 3 kids who play. I started them all myself, and they ad teachers when they got older. Wy don't you show her how to play a few simple tunes, if and when she is interested. Keep it very lighthearted. Maybe she would prefer another instrument

evalluna Sun 01-Sep-13 09:04:47

Hi, i don't want to be pushy, but at the same time i wanted her to have the opportunity. I thought the suzuki method would be good as she could do it with her dad (she is currently a daddy's girl!) and it is quite a child friendly method, more intuitive than rote. i also wanted to find a teacher who could make it fun for young children. She has also been taken to ballet - is that pushy?? She likes that, though, I think if playing the piano involved a sparkly outfit she would be more interested.
She has shown a great interest in my partner's trumpet, which strangely she has bee able to get a reasonable note out of for quite a while (obviously she is way too young for a brass instrument though!)
She doesn't really hear us play because if anyone tries to play she wants us to stop so she can bang about instead!

QuintessentialOldDear Sun 01-Sep-13 09:04:53

Poor little girl.

Let her be a child. There will always be a time later on for you to try live your own dreams through her.

Just because the adult you regretted not having lessons as a child, I bet the child you were then were really happy she did not have parents who tried to push her so much.

Keep pushing, and you will ensure she will be sick of the word "piano" by the age of 8, and embark on playing drums aged 12. grin

Lonecatwithkitten Sun 01-Sep-13 09:05:11

My DD also wouldn't have been interested at that age, but by 7 she was desperate to play an instrument. 3 years later she is now playing two instruments and having singing lessons, in 2 choirs and an orchestra all of her own choosing.
Firstly don't loose heart it may just be later with her I know an incredibly talent 15 year who now has grade 8 in 4 instruments he couldn't play a note till he was 8. Also consider that she might prefer a different instrument.

Roshbegosh Sun 01-Sep-13 09:05:42

Maybe she won't ever be interested, she is an individual not an extension of you and maybe you should let her develop her own interests in life.

SilverApples Sun 01-Sep-13 09:06:03

Have you thought about her handspan, her concentration levels, her inability to reach the pedals?
Have you considered a keyboard for her to enjoy?
What about a stringed instrument that can be scaled to her size?
What about letting her enjoy music for a few more years, then choose?

OH was forced to take piano lessons and hated it, quite put him off the whole idea of playing. Turns out he's a strings man.

Chippednailvarnish Sun 01-Sep-13 09:06:19

My Ds started drumming lessons at three because he was obsessed with them. He started piano at four and is much less interested in it, therefore the piano is very much as and when he wants to.

You mention that your DD is shy and quite anxious - maybe you should let her play and stop pushing her. Or better still improve your own piano playing...

Isitme1 Sun 01-Sep-13 09:06:21

Shes 4.
Give her a doll for now and play the piano in her presence so she becomes interested and ask her in a year or so

evalluna Sun 01-Sep-13 09:06:25

Yes I have thought about maybe doing a bit myself with her - my partner has already started showing her where the different notes are,

Groovee Sun 01-Sep-13 09:06:43

She's 4, I'd leave it until she is older and understands better.

pigletmania Sun 01-Sep-13 09:06:43

i agree claraschu, mabey she does not want to learn piano, try another instrument and mabey wait until she is 5/6

SilverApples Sun 01-Sep-13 09:06:51

Or she could end up completely unmusical, but talented in another area.

LadyGoodman Sun 01-Sep-13 09:07:11

She's 4!!!! plenty of years for that!!

That is all

frogspoon Sun 01-Sep-13 09:09:24

Perhaps if she can get a note out of a trumpet she will be a woodwind or brass player.

How about the recorder?

evalluna Sun 01-Sep-13 09:12:05

quintessentialolddear - she is not a poor little girl, she has a very full and happy life with lots of opportunity for playing. And surely it is preferable to have parents interested in giving her opportunities than not. As you can see from my post I am not pushing, I am wondering about her age and how best to encourage interest. I am aware lots of people have had negative experiences young with teachers not especially sensitive to the needs of young children
I would also be quite happy if she developed an interest in drums or any other instrument.

StyleManual Sun 01-Sep-13 09:12:21

4 is very young for formal lessons. If you make it fun and just let her go to the piano when she's interested and just show her bits and pieces, in a few years she might be interested in learning properly. By then she will be able to grasp the concepts of notation and be physically more capable. At 4 their hands are so tiny and not that coordinated, so it can be slow going. Just carry on as you are and she will pick up so much from you if you just show her little bits and pieces here and there without the pressure. It's quite a tricky time anyway when they're just starting school - they are tired and can feel under pressure from school. If you wait until she's settled into the routine of formal education, it will probably be much happier all round.
4 would be unusually early to start and unless you're planning on training her up to be a concert pianist, then really unnecessary if she's not bursting to learn. It's not the age they start at but their level of enthusiasm. Progress will be much faster and enjoyable if you wait until she's ready.

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