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music practice - do you have to nag?

(37 Posts)
Soveryupset Sat 19-Jul-14 09:11:32

All my children play instruments, they are all musical and done well with grades, etc...

I was hoping though that after so many years and at ages 8 and 9 my eldest 2 would practice without me reminding them or cajoling, sometimes even bribing... Is this normal?

They don't want to give up and enjoy playing but practice is often a battleground... What to do?

Kerberos Sat 19-Jul-14 09:16:05

I feel your pain.

My 9 year old wouldn't practise at all without reminders from us. I find it's easier if she's got a performance (orchestra) coming up as she's keen to sound good. Are yours in any kind of ensemble?

Soveryupset Sat 19-Jul-14 09:31:02

Yes mine are the same. They have both been in music competitions, performances a ensembles and they will practice for those. Exams seem to motivate them less. I just wish they were a little more motivated!!!

babasheep Mon 04-Aug-14 22:37:55

Same same same ..... I recently said to dd unless she will pass one grade per year from on or I will stop paying for her piano lessons. She can do it as a hobby but I don't want to pay £16 a week anymore. Or she has find something a lot cheaper.

hmc Mon 04-Aug-14 22:44:00


steppemum Mon 04-Aug-14 22:47:43

yes I have to nag.
she loves playing and loves the lessons, but practising is boring!

morethanpotatoprints Mon 04-Aug-14 22:56:20

Why do you continue to pay for lessons, exams, music, ticket to concerts etc if they don't practice.
Of course they will say they don't want to give up, but until they realise that practice is necessary to continuing and enjoying music, you will have to nag. If they aren't practising they have given up.
I think you have to ask yourself why they continue with lessons and if you stopped the lessons would they give up. Many children do it for an easy life, to make their parents happy.
I'm sure it's not the case with all you people but some parents live their past experiences or lack of through their children too and as its not coming from the child they become very resentful.

steppemum Mon 04-Aug-14 23:02:50

morethan - my dd loves her lessons. She plays 2 instruments, one she plays with a band. She loves the band. She is a real people person and loves playing WITH teacher/other band members etc.

In one way I would happily let her just have the lessons/band and not worry about practice, but if I did that she would make slow progress and then that would dent her enthusiasm and confidence. It is also not fair on the band if she isn't ready when they perform.

So I nag, and she practises, and she improves and then acknowledges she is glad she practised!

wotoodoo Mon 04-Aug-14 23:39:14

No never. Ds asked to play the violin first aged 3 when somebody came to his preschool and introduced it to the class.

I said I didn't want him to as tbh do not like the noise it makes nor wanted the hassle of nagging him to practice. He asked me regularly after that and I still said no.

When he was 6 his headteacher had a quiet word with me and said I ought to let ds learn to play as he'd been asking to for 3 years and she thought it would be a good thing for him.

Felt a guilty, selfish, neglectful mother of course but told ds he could only have lessons if he practised daily and without me having to ask him to. He agreed. He kept his word.

Wind forward another year and he asked if he could also learn to play the guitar after somebody came to the school and introduced it.

I immediately said yes as practising is as routine as cleaning his teeth for him. Wind forward another year and he plays both instruments in the school orchestra, and plays solo demonstrations for the school.

Coming from a non musical family I feel very proud of him and of course I believe it is best if the passion and interest comes from the child rather than a (pushy)parent.

Earlybird Mon 04-Aug-14 23:52:56

wotoodoo - how old is your ds, and how much does he practise per day?

I have a dd who has real musical ability - maybe even a gift - but practise is tedious, repetitious and often boring for her. She also is interested in other things, and has a rigorous school schedule which demands a significant amount of homework each night. Sometimes it almost feels cruel to insist she practise on top of everything else.

MostWicked Mon 04-Aug-14 23:54:30

I played piano as a child. Never once was I ever told to practice. I played and had lessons because I loved playing. I couldn't imagine practice ever being a chore.
If I didn't want to practice/play, what would be the point in having lessons?

I played for pleasure, not to pass grades. I do think that gets lost sometimes. I also played music that I enjoyed.

wotoodoo Tue 05-Aug-14 01:15:00

Ds is 8. He practises as much and as little as he wants to, I have never timed him! Sometimes he goes through all of his book, sometimes he picks one or two songs.

Last night overheard ds's friend who is sleeping over (also aged 8) asking ds to teach him to play the guitar. Was really cute listening to them playing before bedtime smile

PopularNamesInclude Tue 05-Aug-14 01:27:10

Same as wotoodoo. DD comes straight home from lessons and practices. Practices every day, and she enjoys it. I have never timed her, or asked her to play. She simply loves it.

I have no musical ability at all, nor does DH. No idea where this kid came from! But it's wonderful to see her take such pleasure from it.

lecherrs Tue 05-Aug-14 09:45:42

I'm the same as wootoodoo too.

Dd1 asked to learn to play an instrument. I said I wasn't bothered about her learning, but I wasn't prepared to pay for lessons if she wasn't prepared to practice. That would just be wasting my money.

So we agreed she could learn if she practised every day. She agreed, and she practises every weekday morning once she's ready for school. Occasionally I have to ask if she's done it (esp dd2 who us more of a faffer) but I never have to nag.

babasheep Tue 05-Aug-14 09:51:29

I dont have a problem about pass exam if the lessions are a lot cheaper. DDS do other things too like girls and gymnastc. These are a lot cheaper so I don't have a problem how long it may take for next badge or anything.

Wafflenose Tue 05-Aug-14 10:52:57

We have been through phases of nagging, but not lately. DD1 has to be told, and sometimes grumbles, but gets on with it and enjoys it once she starts. Sometimes I have to remind DD2, but she says "OK then!" and does it without any fuss.

Biggest issue at the moment is DD1's theory. She does moan and throw strops, but now knows this is her last crack at it before she gets way behind. She is working towards Grade 6 Recorder and Grade 4 Flute, and we are only on the Grade 2 Theory book.

headoverheels Tue 05-Aug-14 10:55:02

I have to remind but not nag. DS is 8.

1805 Tue 05-Aug-14 11:00:24

yep. we nag ours all the time!!!! I find bribery works too!!
But at age 44 I find I don't have to nag dh (!!). I use teaching as my practice these days (lame).

Theas18 Tue 05-Aug-14 11:00:55

At 8-9 yes.... I think we did have to cajole/organise them yes.

As they get older it gets easier - as has been said many times , playing in groups is great and they don't know it's also " practice" of sorts.

Beyond 11-12 yrs though we didn't nag much and some practice happened. Again, I've said before, exams aren't vital and sometimes are detrimental. Progress is still made and enjoyment had. They've all been grade 8+ in 2-3 instruments on leaving school and are not heading for music careers so it doesn't matter (though why DS, are you not... having heard you play in the summer you'd be grand and less stressed!)

Theas18 Tue 05-Aug-14 11:04:41

Wafflenose, can I just ask who wants her to do the exams? She could happily work at grade 6 standard.... then grade 7 and maybe just take grade 8 in a couple of years when her theory catches up.

She might actually decide herself she wants the certificate and nice review before then and realise that she has to get on with the theory to do it. She's so young really.

Unless having the actual certificates is going to matter to what she does?

JulieMichelleRobinson Tue 05-Aug-14 11:39:17

I had to be reminded... and sometimes nagged. It's normal to go through phases. In fact, I very nearly quit altogether at various points.

Under 8, I'd say parents probably need to even help with practise (depends on child).

Under 11, children will definitely need reminding unless they're super-organised and weird ;-)

Over 11... it'll be on and off as priorities change. Little and often is my recommendation (all my current students are relative beginners, if an 11yo is grade 6 that's be a different matter).

I try to be very concise and specific with practise instructions for my students - you can make more progress in 15min of real practise than in an hour of mucking about. "If you need to practise more than five hours a day, you're doing something wrong..." :p

And yep, teaching is my "practise" too, though it's done my bowhold wonders, having to demonstrate it correctly all the time!

Wafflenose Tue 05-Aug-14 11:56:13

Theas it's the flute she'll need it for, so as long as we keep the theory a grade below her flute level, there won't be a big problem later on. I'm not even sure what her next flute grade will be, because we miss them out here and there. She likes to do every single one, but I could tell that Grade 3 flute was going to be a big waste of money, as she was sailing straight past that level. DD1, her teacher and I decide between us which ones are going to be helpful to motivate/ help her improve. We won't do all the theory grades either.

Recorder is with Trinity, so she'll just do it whenever. I thought it would take a couple of years from Grades 5 to 6, which doesn't seem to be uncommon, but it might be a little bit less. Fortunately we won't need to Grade 5 Theory beforehand.

Flute teacher is working on Practical Musicianship, in case that gets there sooner than the theory. It won't hurt her to get both ultimately!

cingolimama Tue 05-Aug-14 12:10:49

I think 8 and 9 are still quite young and most need nagging support to practise. Also, if the child is learning a particularly difficult instrument, like violin, it takes a long, frustrating time to get good at it, and it seems unreasonable to me to expect a child to just persevere without parental presence.

It's great that some MNers have DCs that just get on with it, but I think that's unusual. However, by 10 I would expect them to practise independently.

MostWicked Tue 05-Aug-14 14:57:53

So few children seem to get the opportunity to play purely for pleasure, without having to learn for exams.
I started playing at 5-6yrs old, started lessons at 9ish, stopped lessons at 17 and apart from a couple of grades that I took around 10-11, everything else was just about playing. I was in the school orchestra and I loved it, but it was (and still is) a hobby. It does seem a shame that so few kids get to have playing an instrument as a hobby.
I remember playing as a stress reliever when I was revising for exams (not music). I don't think it could have been if it was another subject that I was studying.

Wafflenose Tue 05-Aug-14 15:22:05

I make sure that for all my pupils (including DD1) at least 90% of what we do is unrelated to exams. Earlier in the year, she was invited to play at the local farmers' market, in town by the local radio station who heard her, and then at a school fete (not our school). This is her favourite kind of thing to do! But she also plays in her school orchestra, advanced recorder ensemble, helps to teach the little ones, and likes to do festivals when the opportunity arises.

What is everyone hearing at home this week? From DD1 we have:
Flute - lots of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Disney, some scales, old pieces
Recorder - a Gavotte, Hornpipe and a jazzy thing called Boogaloo Bunny!

Recorder - Nellie the Elephant, Scarborough Fair, What shall we do with a drunken sailor, and... her own improvisations. Lovely!
Cello - Hot Cross Buns, Twinkle Twinkle, a few easy pieces with CD, scales in interesting rhythms (Apple Pie and Custard/ Cold Cup of Tea/ Fish and Chips)!

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