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Piano advice!

(13 Posts)
ChampagneBabyCakes Wed 09-Jul-14 20:43:49

I'm a music teacher - but please don't judge my question!
I have a 5 year old son. He has always loved music and learned to play simple two hand pieces on the piano by just listening to me. He was so enthusiastic and full of love for music. He asked to work towards exams after hearing some of my students play. I didn't want to pressure him, or push my own love of music onto him, so sent him to a local music teacher who has a great reputation.
Since then it's all gone a bit wrong. He's rude and disrespectful to his teacher, and doesn't listen in the lessons -Though he listens enough to be able to do his homework for the following week.
Essentially I know I have to stop the lessons - I can't let my son think it's ok to be disrespectful each week. I guess my question is, how can I enable him to learn without becoming his teacher myself?

TweeAintMee Wed 09-Jul-14 20:46:37

To me it sounds as though you would be the perfect teacher for him. How about you give him a book he can work through by himself with a check up once a month with you? The deal being that he has to practice every day at a set time, come rain or shine and that you are on had if he needs guidance.

plumnc Wed 09-Jul-14 20:58:31

I'd take a break from lessons. He is still quite young for sitting down for formal lessons.
'Playing about' on the piano on his own and with you in a less structured way is probably much more fun at this age. Personally I have found the whole music exam thing completely off-putting for my dcs' It's a peculiar British thing to do (They don't seem to be so exam fixated on the continent and in the States) and I do wonder how it is supposed to foster 'a love' for music.

TweeAintMee Wed 09-Jul-14 20:59:54

plumnc - I had EXACTLY this convo with my girls this pm! You are right.

ChampagneBabyCakes Wed 09-Jul-14 21:01:34

Thanks, tweeaintmee. I'm just not sure I'm the right woman for the job! I'm sure it's not wise to teach your own kids.... But I do think your suggestion is an improvement on our present situation.

tumbletumble Wed 09-Jul-14 21:02:32

I agree that 5 is young for lessons - my DC started at 7. If I were you I'd stop the lessons and continue as you used to.

DottyDot Wed 09-Jul-14 21:02:44

I'm a part-time piano teacher and have a musical 10 year old son, so I know how tricky the balance is!

I've left it for ages as I've not wanted to push him too young and I started to teach him a few years ago but it wasn't working, so eventually, last year I got him a piano teacher and it's working really well now.

Maybe 5 is just too young and it's time to give him a break from lessons for a year or two - see how he goes and he might take up something else via school or want to learn another instrument - or hopefully go back to the piano when he's a bit older.

Goldmandra Wed 09-Jul-14 21:02:47

Children this age learn best through play and exploration. Encourage him to do that and help him when he asks. That is then way he will learn to play and learn to enjoy it too.

Pregnantberry Wed 09-Jul-14 21:04:48

Could you give a different teacher a go? Some are excellent teachers normally, but not with children that young.

ChampagneBabyCakes Wed 09-Jul-14 21:07:56

Plumnc, you're right, we will take a break from the lessons. Some kids love the exams - they love the sense of achievement and the knowledge that they are progressing. Some kids use it as motivation to keep working, and to learn pieces from different composers and styles they wouldn't normally experience.
Some kids hate them and just want to play what they love, and that's ok too- to each their own.
I've just got to find what suits my kid, and I think I'm too close to him to actually know!

ChampagneBabyCakes Wed 09-Jul-14 21:23:04

Thanks everyone, very lovely and reassuring advice. I think I'll stop the lessons, not make a big deal about it and follow his lead for a while. I'll try to make sure he's truly ready for lessons if he goes back.

JulieMichelleRobinson Wed 09-Jul-14 22:43:58

I seem to be the oddball who starts teaching my piano students at 3yo. And no, not Suzuki or anything - I use Wunderkeys (high/low, loud/soft etc. but uses the piano) and then Music for Little Mozarts. Since finding the resources, I seem to do well with my youngest students and all this year's Wunderkeys class are continuing next term with MFLM so I'm doing something right. However we are very much still playing around with the piano - I tend to get a little too serious sometimes with the older MFLM beginners and have to tell myself off for it.

I think teaching the youngest ones is definitely a niche that either works or doesn't. I seem to be quite good at it, but I can't handle under-3s so well. You either need to find the right teacher or just leave it for a bit and then go back to piano formally when he's 7 or so.

Goldmandra Wed 09-Jul-14 22:46:12

However we are very much still playing around with the piano

Exploring something with an engaged adult who can make suggestions and lead the learning is a really effective way for children to learn through play.

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