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How much music practice (secondary school pupil) is an optimum but realistic amount?

(56 Posts)
mrsjavierbardem Mon 20-Jan-14 12:16:15

How often, and for how long, do your dcs practice their musical instruments?

I want ds to do more but it's so hard. A friend says every morning before school is easier than blood from a stone after school.

boogiewoogie Mon 20-Jan-14 12:49:10

Depends on the grade/ standard. DS is 9 and preparing for grade 3 and spends 20 - 30 minutes in the morning after breakfast.

He does try to get out of it but he knows that he won't be allowed to have do his own things until it's done so he gets it out of the way by doing it early.

mrsjavierbardem Mon 20-Jan-14 12:59:53

thanks that is useful to know.
A few people have said do it in the am before school otherwise it won't happen without huge nagging effort

Picturesinthefirelight Mon 20-Jan-14 13:01:02

Dd is struggling.

She's at a vocational performing arts school for dance so classes don't end until 6pm. It's 7.30pm-7.45pm at least by he time she gets home - then there is homework & her daily dance/ physio excercises to be done.

She tries to do 20 mins when she can.

Lancelottie Mon 20-Jan-14 13:01:44

When nagged, or when suddenly realising that grades don't do themselves.

(Unless it's guitar, that is. Somehow DS seems able to play the guitar whilst doing maths homework. Never quite worked that one out.)

Picturesinthefirelight Mon 20-Jan-14 13:01:55

She also leaves for school at 7.15-7.30am so before breakfast isn't really an option.

OldBeanbagz Mon 20-Jan-14 13:14:08

DS (Y4) - 20 mins on piano before school (working towards Grade 1)

DD (Y7) leaves for school at 7.30am so she practices both her instruments in the evening. 30 mins towards Grade 4 on the first, 20 mins towards Grade 2 on the second.

mrsjavierbardem Mon 20-Jan-14 13:15:17

Thanks, this is so useful to hear how much children do.

EasterHoliday Mon 20-Jan-14 13:17:20

every day before school?
also, is that solo practice or supervised?

hootloop Mon 20-Jan-14 13:20:23

Going back many years, I used to do 30mins per instrument per day, I did 3 and got up to grade 5 at that that amount of practice.

Blueberrypots Mon 20-Jan-14 13:29:56

Here it goes with mine:

DD1 grade 3 violin = 30-40 minutes
DD1 grade 2 piano = 30 minutes
DS1 grade 2 violin = 20 minutes
DS1 grade 1 piano = 20 minutes
DS2 pre-grade 1 piano = 10 minutes
DS2 pre-grade 1 guitar = 5-10 minutes

mrsjavierbardem Mon 20-Jan-14 13:31:26

Thanks hootloop was that through parental encouragement, enforcement, good training or personal commitment, or a combo?

mrsjavierbardem Mon 20-Jan-14 13:32:38

Every school day?
Do you time them?
Is this before school?

BackforGood Mon 20-Jan-14 13:34:01

I sometimes wonder if the people who suggest 'before school' actually have teens ??? shock

My dd2 (Yr7) rarely practices unless nagged. She was doing both guitar and piano, but I've stopped the guitar and piano is under threat.
dd1 has always prac'd her flute for about 1/2 hr x 2 a week. The piano she used to need a lot of nagging, but now she's got better, and can play far more tunes that she likes and enjoys, she regularly does 20 - 30 mins before bed each night.

flowery Mon 20-Jan-14 13:36:25

DH used to do at least some of his before school when we were teenagers but there was no way on earth I would have managed that, because I was a normal teenager so I did mine after school.

OldBeanbagz Mon 20-Jan-14 13:38:26

BackforGood i appreciate that it's going to get harder as they hit teens (only 1 year left for DD!).

The only reason DS does piano practice in the morning is because he gets up when DD does and so ends up with an hour of free time before school.

EasterHoliday Mon 20-Jan-14 13:38:38

This makes me wonder if we are approaching things incorrectly... DD - aged 6 - has one lesson a week and then half hour or more of closely supervised practice with DH (who is a v talented musician) once a week. other than that, it's as and when she fancies getting her violin out and playing about with it - that happens another once or twice a week more, but that's "pure pleasure" time with the instrument. She'll do some scales, maybe do her piece(s) but will also improvise and just have fun with it.
She wants to do Grade 1 later this year; guess we need to get a little more formal / regimented on it.

Lancelottie Mon 20-Jan-14 13:41:53

Hmm, here's it goes with mine, by way of contrast to Blueberry:

DD1 grade 5 cornet = 30 minutes the day before the lesson
DD1 grade 2 piano = 10 minutes at random intervals when not 'too tiiiired, and I've done LOADS of music this week already' (see cornet above)

DS2 grade 7 tuba = 30 minutes three times this week, in face of teacher's wrath (yes, he does enjoy it, he's just idle)
DS2 singing/guitar = random outburst most days

flowery Mon 20-Jan-14 13:45:08

Easter DS is also 6 and plays violin and piano. We wanted him to get into the habit of practicing every day with both, so that's what he does. He also pootles about on the piano sometimes for fun, because it's just there. Usually when I need him to be doing something else...

I supervise both practices, and because I'm a musician also, it means he is getting the most out of his practice and I can ensure he's practicing the right technique etc. Some of his pieces are duets so rather than waiting to do those with his teacher only, I can do them with him as well. Similarly he's just started in the junior strings group, so I can go through that music with him.

Doesn't mean you are approaching it incorrectly though, by doing it in a less structured way. As long as she's enjoying it and her teacher is happy, sounds good to me!

BackforGood Mon 20-Jan-14 13:46:20

Thanks Lancelottie I was wondering if this was going to turn into one of those MN threads where you are only allowed on if you have perfect children grin

Winterwobbles Mon 20-Jan-14 13:50:50

I remember starting piano at 8 and having to have a signed practice book of 20 minutes 5x a week. I didn't do it to start with and got told off by the very strict teacher - after that I remembered! By the time I had a new teacher, maybe a couple of years later I'd got into the routine and more importantly enjoyed practice and making improvements. My parents never prompted me as I recall. There were still weeks where I did very little - perhaps 20 minutes once or twice a week on bad weeks but in general I did 20-30 minutes around 5 days a week until about grade 4 and then gradually found I needed to increase that. I was probably doing a couple of hours a day or more in the run up to grade 8. And absolutely never in the morning!

EasterHoliday Mon 20-Jan-14 13:50:58

thanks Flowery. We're doing things similarly to you - so DH accompanies on piano, for eg, however he's not a fiddle player so technique isn't his realm. She's also picking her tunes out on the piano and playing that for fun when she wanders past it, tho' no lessons yet. When did you get him onto his 2nd instrument?

For those who let them get on with it, what do you expect them to do in unsupervised practice?

flowery Mon 20-Jan-14 14:02:10

He started piano second Easter, but actually it was quite soon after he started violin, just because he asked if he could, and asked DH to teach him. He was constantly messing around on it anyway and wanted to learn, so we started him. Because DH is teaching him his piano feels a bit more informal anyway. He does about 15 minutes on each most days.

hootloop Mon 20-Jan-14 14:13:42

To be honest mrsjavier it was mostly to get an hr and a half away from my brothers playing power rangers.

schilke Mon 20-Jan-14 14:49:46

Ds2 grade 7 violin - about 15 mins 4 evenings a week. No way could he do any before school!

In contrast, dd2 (7) grade 2 does 20 mins trumpet most days because she loves it and wants to be a trumpet player when she's grown up.

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