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Piano Lesson torture!

(33 Posts)
groovyolmutha Fri 05-Sep-08 16:28:04

We are "making" our 8 year old have piano lessons. She does no other activities outside school. We have always said we would endeavour to organise anything she was interested in instead, e.g. any sport,any dancing, any instrument, any other hobby. She has flirted with a couple of after school clubs (running, french, dance)over the last 3 years but they have all become "boring" and she has stopped them. Piano lessons started in Sept 07 and now entering 2nd year. She never practices (I try hard to make it interesting and not to get cross, making opportunities but placing the responsibility on her, have tried star charts but they became a battle ground). My attitude with her about it is that they are just something you do, no big deal; no pressure to do grades; a part of education. She hates piano lessons and is starting to get into a "state" about them. Her teacher is lovely and very good and my d actually seems to have a natural aptitude for piano! I don't want to stop the lessons as it sends out such a poor message about it being OK to quit when you don't feel like doing something! Help!

AMumInScotland Fri 05-Sep-08 16:43:26

Why do you want her to do it, if it's not something she enjoys? As time goes on, she will have to be self-motivated to get anywhere with it.

NoblesseOblige Fri 05-Sep-08 16:47:16

oh god stop them.

and say no more activities *at all* for a term/6 months/whatever. if she still wants to do croquet/mountain biking etc after the alloted time, say "ok, but you HAVE to do it for .....(fill in decent slot of time here, ie one year.)"

no committment - no club.

uberalice Fri 05-Sep-08 16:49:55

What a terrible waste of time (your DD's and her teacher's) and money. Why is it sending out a poor message about it being OK to quit when she didn't want to start in the first place? I really think you need to back off a little bit.

funkybumps Fri 05-Sep-08 16:56:04

I did piano lessons from the age of 7 to 13. My mum and I got into constant battles over it until in the end she told me I didn't have to go any longer. It didn't give me any messages about it being ok to quit though. What makes you think she would think that ? Believe me, she'll just be v. grateful she doesn't have to go any longer !!

snorkle Fri 05-Sep-08 17:10:33

You are wasting your money: horses and water and all that. Some children thrive on doing lots of activities and others don't (I have one at each end of the spectrum). I think beetroot paid her children to do their music practise & that worked for her lot, but if your dd won't practise then you are mad to continue imo.

Moomin Fri 05-Sep-08 17:16:14

I had piano lesson from age of 4 shock til 13. I hated them and would have stopped far sooner but my mum died when I was 9 and my dad wanted me to carry them on as it was her idea for me to have them in the first place. It took 4 years of constant moaning before my dad relented (and probably the piano teacher told him he was wasting his money as I refused to practice).

But funnily enough, i do regret it now blush

SmugColditz Fri 05-Sep-08 17:18:51

Waste of time, waste of money. If she is having her needs met by school, rejoice in the free time you have instead of tying yourself in angsty knots making her do something 'improving' that she never wanted to do in the first place.

groovyolmutha Fri 05-Sep-08 17:18:58

I want her to do the piano lessons so that she learns to read music and play an instrument and has an extra social skill. We all have to do things we don't enjoy it doesn't mean we shouldn't do them. I actually believe(probably because I am old and radical) that it does us good to do things we don't enjoy, that it is important to learn to stick at things and that school doesn't necessarily have to be enjoyable. I don't want her to end up being an ignorant couch potato who never goes out and whose friends all seem to be actively engaged in numerous hobbies and lessons - so she is left out. It's not as though I am sending her up chimneys every day! Would really welcome some more constructive advice than just letting her quit and get her own way.

SmugColditz Fri 05-Sep-08 17:21:13

Oh, I see. One of those posts.

Constructive advice being "What I want to be told" hmm

The only way you are going to make her improve is to either pay her or punish her. You will NEVER make her like it, you could turn her off entirely, but you will succeed in your aim of making her do what you want.

Never mind if you ruin music for her, you'll get your way.

Beetroot Fri 05-Sep-08 17:21:20

When mine were little we used to play them to practice.

10p per practice for 10 mins and if they did 6 per week we gave them a pound.

we put a chart and they ticked it off when they had practised.

Simple.

once she start practising and therefore progressing she may well start to enjoy.

Does she like her teacher/
ds1 had a hideous teacher to start with and played merry hell when he had to go. Once we moved teachers he was fine and is now 14 and grade 6 piano smile

Beetroot Fri 05-Sep-08 17:23:16

I do think if she hates it then you might have to try some thing else - BUT you could do a deal with her and get her through her grade one first - and then she can add a new instrument.

<my kids think that is a treat - being allowed to do two instruments - perhpas not for all though>

motherinferior Fri 05-Sep-08 17:29:32

I played two musical instruments, rather well, up to the age of 18 or so. I was bullied to practise by my parents, on the same basis that music was a necessary accomplishment, and got up to grade 7 on the piano and grade 8 on the violin as a result of this nagging.

Oh, and I haven't touched either instrument for the past 27 years and don't really talk much to my parents either.

tortoiseshell Fri 05-Sep-08 17:30:58

Ok - as a piano teacher, if a pupil isn't enjoying it, and parents are determined to continue, there are a few things to look at;

1) Is there a problem with the teacher? Do they get on ok? Often it is a case of 'clicking' with the teacher, which isn't a case of good teacher/bad teacher, but simply finding the 'right' style for your child. For example, I had a very strict piano teacher at one stage, who did wonders for my playing. It was a disaster with my brother, who almost gave up because he couldn't cope with the strictness.

2) Does she enjoy the music she is playing? Could a change in the style help? Perhaps doing some tunes she knows would help? There are some 'easy piano' High School Musical books out. I wouldn't suggest this as the 'mainstream' approach, but they can be a good way in to reading music and enjoying the piano.

3) Practice is a necessity - can she do 10 minutes every day? Doesn't need to be more than that to begin with - the key is doing it regularly and getting into a routine.

4) For some children, doing a grade is a brilliant motivation. For others it is too scary. Is your child someone who would be motivated by a date/syllabus/mark?

snorkle Fri 05-Sep-08 17:33:50

As there's a social reason for wanting her to do it then an orchestral or band instrument might be better?

tortoiseshell Fri 05-Sep-08 17:35:16

I think there is a difference between nagging to practise to make it part of the routine (ds1 does violin and piano every night, because that is the rule, same as reading). But he is very good about going and doing it. If every night becomes hellish then it probably isn't worth doing it.

With me, I 'played' the piano the whole time - 2-4 hours a day - before school, after school, during break times, lunchtimes, just literally ALL the time. But I did still have to be made to do my 'practice' each day - ie scales, exam pieces, technical exercises. I'm very glad my parents did that, because otherwise my technique would be lousy! But I didn't have to be made to 'play' iyswim - and it was definitely the thing I wanted to do, and am now professional pianist and organist.

Flute was another matter - I got to Grade 8, did my practice every day, but never took the thing out of the case unless it was my practice or orchestra. I hated it. Still do. Haven't played it in years. But the orchestral experience was worth having.

Beetroot Fri 05-Sep-08 17:36:38

DD is like that with Clarinet TS - plays it whenever she can adn recorder

motherinferior Fri 05-Sep-08 17:38:13

My father forced us to practise our instruments, first thing, every day of the school holidays. I still remember it. 'Have you done your practising?' he would ask and then 'doesn't that feel better' afterwards (to which the truthful answer would obviously have been 'no, of course not'). It is entirely possible I might have enjoyed the experience rather more without this.

I did like playing in orchestras, till I found that I much preferred hanging around in lefty meetings.

uberalice Fri 05-Sep-08 17:40:06

groovyolmutha, learning an instrument is really really hard work. No wonder it's torture for your DD if she doesn't like it. I've taught piano in the past and you could spot the "my parents are forcing me to do this" a mile off. It's just so futile.

StarlightMcKenzie Fri 05-Sep-08 17:44:20

Message withdrawn

motherinferior Fri 05-Sep-08 17:48:21

I think you have got yourself slightly stuck trying to find an activity she wants to do. And are comparing her with her mates (many of whom, I'll bet, are actually being somewhat compelled to partake in their various activities anyway). Why don't you just sign her up for swimming lessons (that being a reasonably essential skill) and leave it at that for a bit?

I don't see why one should start an after school club at age six and stick with it for massively long in any case - that's the whole point of after school clubs.

magentadreamer Fri 05-Sep-08 17:56:39

By all means show a teen that all things in life aren't nice but to drag your DD to piano lessons because YOU think she should go is a bit OTT in my book. DD started ballet aged 3 stuck with it till she was 4. Age 6 till 9 she did Karate - she is still in contact with several of her former karate classmates. Age 10 till now she rides. No way do I feel it was a waste of my time her quitting the activities she's done in the past and no way would I make her do an after school activity that she loathed.

groovyolmutha Fri 05-Sep-08 18:11:15

Believe me, not bullying dd, we don't make her practice and she likes music. Thank you beetroot for your suggestion re paying dd. Will consider this but might just give up. No space for full details here - suffice to say she gets her way on most things and I really wanted to take a stand on this by being matter of fact about getting on with it. Overwhelming opinion seems to be let her stop, which is a bit despressing, however,will discuss this with DH. Motherinferior, very sad that you don't talk much to you parents. They must have done something really awful to you to merit such punishment, so empathy to you for that. By the way, dd has vehemently refused swimming lessons and we haven't insisted! Has got to do them at school this term and all her friends can swim already. So that'll learn 'er!

MrsWeasley Fri 05-Sep-08 18:20:10

my DD started piano lessons at 7, it was initially my idea and she seemed keen. The first year was fine, wasnt keen to practice but was ok, the second year she didn't learn or practise at all and the paino teacher wasnt good at motivating her. (Was happy to be paid to just sit and chat with DD!hmm)

So I stopped the lessons after several warnings. 3 years later DD asked to take lessons again and is doing it purely for herself, she does practise but says she isn't keen to do music exams which is fine by us.

Beetroot Fri 05-Sep-08 21:09:10

make a deal with her - give it a go unti Christmas

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