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Give up one instrument?

(30 Posts)
Rabbitcar Thu 17-Apr-14 23:22:24

I hope you can help me with a music related question. DD1 learns the piano and flute, and I'd quite like her to give one of them up, as I think two instruments is too much hard work. She is academic, but is also in lots of sports teams, drama clubs, singing ensembles etc. and has a busy social life. I just think it's too much. She is in Y8 and by the end of the academic year will have done her Grade 6 flute and Grade 6 piano. She does well enough in the exams with a mixture of merits and distinctions but is not especially talented/a musical genius by any means. It's more that she's lucky enough to do ok at most things with some effort.

I think she should give up one, as the pressure will only get more as she progresses through the school. She seems to feel that she should keep going, even though she doesn't enjoy the flute at the moment - no idea why she feels this as she gets no pressure from us, maybe it's because her friends at her school also do music at a high level. She wants to do music gcse but not at any further level.

Also, which should she give up? She would say the flute, as she much prefers the piano (mainly because of a nicer teacher) but I think the flute is better as she can then play in orchestras etc at school. The piano is less sociable. The counter argument is that she will do better at the instrument she likes best. Of course it is ultimately her choice and I would never dictate to her which instrument to play, but I would be interested in your views.

I don't want to force her into stopping, but she might find it easier if I made the decision for her and she could blame it on me! She does get very tired, and I think maybe I should 'save' her from herself.

I just want her to be able to relax and enjoy her childhood, and two instruments seems too much. I know lots of other children do two or more however, but she is not particularly robust. DD2 does two and seems to cope better.

Thanks a lot

Ishouldbeweaving Fri 18-Apr-14 08:56:03

I think she's old enough to take the decision herself, whether to give up one or carry on with two. It's not whether you think it's too much work (now or in the future), it's whether she thinks it is. If she's overcommitted then at some point something may need to give but she may choose to drop one of the other activities instead.

Rabbitcar Fri 18-Apr-14 09:37:19

Thanks a lot

Noteventhebestdrummer Fri 18-Apr-14 09:43:10

Carry on with both and agree not to take any more exams in flute?

AlpacaLypse Fri 18-Apr-14 09:46:12

dd1 is year 10 now and doing Music GCSE. She has been much happier since she gave up taking grades in piano. She still has lessons, but is only doing grades in her other instrument - voice.

I think something does have to be dropped, the work rate when they start GCSE courses is pretty intense.

FamiliesShareGerms Fri 18-Apr-14 09:49:04

I thought you were going to say she was learning three or four instruments. She should be able to do two, especially if you agree that she doesn't need to keep taking exams at such an intensive rate and that academic studies take priority.

Theas18 Fri 18-Apr-14 10:03:41

Umm depends what you/she are looking to get out of things.

Piano skills support any other musical activity- including GCSE etc, and are very worth continuing, flute is a more sociable instrument.

Piano and an orchestral instrument is a normal combination. You don't have to keep grades going. Doing every grade is very over rated!

WilsonFrickett Fri 18-Apr-14 10:07:47

Give up the exams, rather than the instruments?

WilsonFrickett Fri 18-Apr-14 10:09:06

Gah, pressed post too soon! If she enjoys playing then she should keep playing, but take away the stress and 'work' of grades and exams. She'll have enough of that on her plate very soon.

yegodsandlittlefishes Fri 18-Apr-14 10:15:01

I'd suggest drop the flute as the piano is a much more useful instrument if she wants to continue to use it to teach/tutor and support others. She can still play in orchestras with her flute if she wants to, and there is nothing to stop her taking up flute lessons again in her A level years or beyond.

Rabbitcar Fri 18-Apr-14 11:48:56

Thanks, the idea of giving up grades is a really good one. Hadn't thought of that!

Rabbitcar Fri 18-Apr-14 15:00:36

Thanks all. I have spoken to her, and she will continue to do two instruments but not do the flute exams. I agree two instruments is not excessive-it's just that the music, combined with playing in the netball team, carrying out positions of responsibility, doing LAMDA exams, homework etc all seems to build up. Many children do seem to do a lot more, more instruments, more sports, more drama, dance etc - I just can't see how they fit it all in, but hats off to them. Maybe we are just lazy! Thanks to all for the advice.

Noteventhebestdrummer Fri 18-Apr-14 16:21:40

You're not lazy!
And its great to step OFF the rat race of music exams.
DS plays flute, violin, piano and sings. Done Gd 8, 8, 5, 6 so far with zero stress because simply NO rush. Our plan for years has been to have the lessons and have fun and if/when an exam grade is easily achievable to take it if he wants to. Or not. Or in 4 weeks if his mother decides to enter him wink

Rabbitcar Fri 18-Apr-14 16:52:15

Wow Noteven, your DS sounds amaz

Rabbitcar Fri 18-Apr-14 16:54:47

*amazing! Very well done! Don't know where your DS finds the time to practise all that. There barely seems enough time for the 4 lots of music practice in our house. 4 instruments each for my two DDs would probably kill us. I admire you and your DS!

Noteventhebestdrummer Fri 18-Apr-14 17:06:46

He is not at all good at practising regularly BUT he is good at doing efficient practice, that helps. And he did start young, that also helps! I did nudge him into doing the Gd 8s in Y10 so as to allow GCSE revision to be undisturbed by music exams...

BackforGood Fri 18-Apr-14 17:14:28

Agree with the giving up exams. My dd has been much happier since I said she doesn't have to do any more exams - indeed, she's now chosen to take GCSE music, and has also started to learn guitar as well as doing FAR more practice on both flute and piano than she used to do before! (She's in Yr10) smile
If she's already Grade 6 though, another option would be for her to continue with the orchestra / ensemble but not actually have any more individual lessons on the flute? Just another way to save a bit of money time, but continue with her playing.

Rabbitcar Fri 18-Apr-14 18:53:51

Thanks Backfor. Agree it would save money. We were adding up the costs of four lots of music tuition today, and it's a lot.

WilsonFrickett Fri 18-Apr-14 20:26:34

I'd kick the LAMDA exams into touch as well. If she's interested in drama let her find a good local youth theatre, preferably attached to a writing theatre and just get on with it. Drama grades are no earthly use to anyone and I speak as an ex-actor.

Rabbitcar Fri 18-Apr-14 20:34:50

Thanks Wilson that's helpful to know. What's a writing theatre btw?

RaspberryLemonPavlova Fri 18-Apr-14 21:07:11

I'd second the advice about exams. And that she could still continue to play in groups without the lessons. We have done both here

DS1 did Grade 5 piano last summer, then carried on with lessons with the agreement of the piano teacher that there would be no more exams. He is planning Grade 8s on his other 2 instruments and is really enjoying just having piano for fun.

DD stopped cello lessons at Christmas (her choice) but has carried on playing with Youth Orchestra.

I get your point about making the decision for her though, but perhaps if you presented her with several options and she could choose 1?

Rabbitcar Fri 18-Apr-14 21:24:20

Thanks Raspberry. You also have talented children! That's very helpful.

Rabbitcar Fri 18-Apr-14 21:28:29

Out of interest, having completed g6 in flute and piano by the end of y8, when would you expect her to do g8 either if she did one, or did both instruments (we are leaning towards one though)? Am wondering if there's any chance of doing a g8 before gcses in y11, but this seems unlikely? Am sure g7 and 8 are hard. Am completely unmusical so can't help. Thanks

WilsonFrickett Fri 18-Apr-14 21:31:43

A theatre which supports new writing and is therefore putting on its own productions , rather than a theatre which simply 'receives' touring shows. Like the Royal Exchange in Manchester or the Traverse in Edinurgh or the Citz in Glasgow. (Can you tell I'm Scottish? smile)

But really any vibrant youth theatre which seems to have a bit of get up and go about it. I went for a look at the LAMDA website after my last post and honestly, it's there for moneymaking. She'll learn exactly the same skills in a good youth theatre, probably have more fun, certainly will meet a wider range of people, and it will save you a fortune.

Rabbitcar Fri 18-Apr-14 22:04:46

Thanks Wilson

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