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How do I encourage my DS to carry on his music lessons

(19 Posts)
Nell16 Tue 16-Oct-12 22:22:49

My DS has just started secondary school. In primary he has been taking baritone lessons and passed grade 2 with merit. His music teacher recommended him to the secondary school band but my son was adamant that he does not want to do music in secondary school. Part of the problem is that his instrument (baritone) is very heavy to take on the bus and carry all the way to school. Another part is probably that he thinks that doing music is "not cool". We suggested taking up another instrument (we have a piano, guitars at home) but to no avail. It is a pity really, as he is musical, used to sing in the school choir and out of school quire and had been always chosen for musical activities in his primary school.

I just think that music is important for a child's development and everybody in our family plays an instrument. But my DS is very strong-willed and I cannot seem to convince him to continue... What should I do?

BackforGood Tue 16-Oct-12 22:26:29

Not much you can do really. He needs to want to.
I suppose the other thought would be to get a teacher to come to you, or for you to take him to private lessons somewhere. That way he isn't lugging it to and from school, and no-one he doesn't choose to tell, will know he plays something.
A lot of dcs choose not to go forward with their instruments - it's a bit sad, but they have to make their own choices sometimes. He's not going to get far with it if he's doing it against his will even if he doesn't lose it on the bus.

usualsuspect3 Tue 16-Oct-12 22:32:01

He might decide to learn another instrument when he's settled in.

MoreBeta Tue 16-Oct-12 22:33:47

TBH having the same issues with DS1. I have made the policy decision and told him that if he passes his piano exam in December he can drop it then or carry on - it is entirely up to him.

On the plus side DS2 has dropped several instruments in the past but has recently joined the cathedral choir and passed the audition with flying colours - completely his own initiative and I have never seen him so enthusiastic.

UptoapointLordCopper Wed 17-Oct-12 07:44:52

I've heard about this "uncool" business. We do music outside of school. No one in school needs to know about DSs' music lessons. wink

usualsuspect3 Wed 17-Oct-12 07:48:10

All the 'cool' boys play the guitar grin

Bluestocking Wed 17-Oct-12 07:53:09

Is there any way he can have his lesson on a Saturday, so he doesn't have to take the instrument (not sure what a baritone is?) to school?

HappyTurquoise Wed 17-Oct-12 07:56:29

I basically forced my dd2 to carry on to grade 3 by saying she would have to stop horse riding as well, or take up another sport. It also helped that the school rule is, anyone in year 7 not playing an instrument and in orchestra is automatically in choir (with a pretty heavy practice schedule and house competitions). She carried on to grade 3 and I then gave her the option to give up. (She has).

What about private lessons, out of school for a while? Would you be able to take him?

exoticfruits Wed 17-Oct-12 08:02:51

I would let him take a break- if he wants to do it he will take it up again- it will never work if it isn't driven by him.

hardboiled Wed 17-Oct-12 11:53:20

Nell16, I think the advice to try and carry on music outside the school it's a good one. Maybe change instrument? I wanted to drop extracurricular art class at 12, my mother said "no way", and I ended up going to art college at 18!

OTOH, I didn't know music is supposed to be uncool in school? Is this a comp, grammar, private? Single sex? And does it make a difference? Opinions?

ScaryBeardyDeadyman Wed 17-Oct-12 11:59:16

Sorry for the sexist comment I'm about to make.

Tell him that girls love musicians.

solidgoldbrass Wed 17-Oct-12 12:06:09

Let him stop it for a while. If everyone in the family plays an instrument and music is important to you, he is probably just trying to assert himself as an individual by wanting to do something else.
In fact, is there a non-musical hobby he wants to try? Sport, painting, stamp collecting, gaming?

I agree with you that it's a good thing for a child to learn a musical instrument and my own DS is learning the trumpet but your DS has had several years of lessons and the important benefits (dexterity, creativity, the general pleasure of music) are already there. If he's simply had enough, forcing him to continue will do no good at all.

Nell16 Wed 17-Oct-12 21:30:45

Thank you for all your replies and sound advice. Yes, we suggested lessons out of school BUT could not find a teacher for baritone (it is like a French horn - sort of). He does not want to take up a new instrument out of school.

Usualsuspects3 and ScaryBeardy - yes, I tried to use these arguments too smile! Did not work!

He does sport (swimming, kun-fu) but wants to quit swimming too (we are resisting). He is strong willed and full of opinions and can put a good argument forward in defence of his position. I guess, short of bribing (which would be wrong) I will have to concede defeat and let him drop music.

P.S. the school is a local comprehensive, now an academy. That's another reason why I want him to do extra-curricular activities - to prevent him "hanging out" aimlessly out of school.

hardboiled Wed 17-Oct-12 22:26:54

Good luck Nell16. It's a difficult age in which they suddenly want to "drop" everything. I think they want to start taking control of their life, find out who they are by becoming someone else different from who they were at primary, etc. It will pass.

exoticfruits Thu 18-Oct-12 07:43:23

It is more likely to pass if you let him give up for a while and then he comes back to it because he wants to come back to it. It never works if they do it because their parents want them to do it or 'all the family' do it.

usualsuspect3 Thu 18-Oct-12 07:48:07

I think if hes musical, he will take up another instrument when hes a bit older. Our local comprehensive had a fantastic music dept.

ZZZenAgain Thu 18-Oct-12 10:34:06

if you can't find a teacher out of school, of course it is difficult. Have you tried asking the teacher he had in primary if s/he could continue him privately?

I think if he is strong-willed and knows his own mind, you may just have to agree that he can stop now if he really doesn't want to continue. Maybe tell him to settle in at secondary, check out whatever ensemble opportunities there are and see if they might appeal to him, let him know that if he does change his mind, you'd be happy to pay for the lessons next year, although he may have fallen back a bit, it wouldn't be the end of the world.

ZZZenAgain Thu 18-Oct-12 10:34:26

continue teaching him


Nell16 Thu 18-Oct-12 21:59:04

Thank you very much for all your replies - they have been very helpful! smile

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