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how to deal with practice primadonnas

(8 Posts)
howtodrainyourflagon Sun 09-Nov-14 21:30:12

Ds is usually pretty good at practising although he has to suppress his perfectionist tendencies. Today he lost it with a chromatic scale on c (which in theory he should be able to do with no problem as it featured in his exam last summer). The next half hour featured various snorts and squeaks and "GO AWAY" with a couple of bars from his pieces thrown in, here and there. When I went into his room he was hiding under his duvet sulking.

Is this normal? Ds is 9 and he's chucked his music on the floor in frustration a couple of times before (but tends to express frustration through overblowing the highest notes).

theposterformallyknownas Sun 09-Nov-14 21:38:51

This seems to be quite normal, well it is for us anyway.
DD is 10, a perfectionist and was quite often like this.
I think they find it frustrating sometimes and expect to get it right more often than wrong. Does this sound familiar.

I found that encouraging them to achieve something each practice to show improvement, even if it is just a few bars of something they find really tricky, as this helps their confidence.

I would be more worried about sulking under the duvet though and the lack of attitude of right lets get it done then.
When dd is like this she will eventually calm down, stop swearing and cursing herself and manage a couple of hours straight practice.

I really don't know what made her go from sulking like your ds to what she is like now, it just seemed to click one day.

howtodrainyourflagon Sun 09-Nov-14 22:00:29

Couple of hours practice? Hmm... ds isn't quite there yet. Half an hour is usually as good as it gets unless he's got an exam in a couple of weeks. I expect when he moves onto g6 pieces that's going to change a bit.

Mistigri Mon 10-Nov-14 08:22:58

My DD is still capable of massive frustration-related breakdowns and she's 13. If chucking music on the floor is as bad as it gets think yourself lucky ;)

There are days when she'll work on something for hours and others where it all falls apart in tears after 5 minutes. I tend to suggest playing for enjoyment (ie within her comfort zone) if she's getting very frustrated, ie focus on what she can do and not on what she can't. I also tend to suggest the little and often approach if there is a particular skill or section that she's struggling with. Five minutes with a positive mindset is easily worth half an hour of ineffective practice.

Wafflenose Mon 10-Nov-14 21:02:47

Mine is 9 and absolutely awful. It's perfectionist related (to the absolute MAX degree) and if she makes a mistake, she makes noises like a cow in labour, and snorts, stamps her feet, sometimes throws the music, and has been told off for throwing recorders. She has also recently taken to starting the whole piece again, instead of working through the tricky bit, which isn't a good way to practise, is it? I feel like I'm constantly having to build up her confidence, and really have to pick my moments to correct her (I teach her!!). We are trying to deal with this before puberty starts and she gets worse, but it's hard.

FoxgloveFairy Mon 10-Nov-14 21:09:44

Well, I'm also learning to play the piano at the ripe old age of 50. My sister and mother decided a couple of Christmases ago that I am musical and so would love it. To my surprise, I do. Sometimes I'd like to do what your son is doing though!

Claybury Thu 18-Dec-14 18:05:20

I have had this problem waffle - one mistake and all hell breaks loose , the piece is started from the top. Then the same mistake again as when he gets to the tricky bit he's forgotten why he's there again. Repeat. He's a mature 10 year old who doesn't like failure.

Two tips. 1). This week all pieces are split into sections and we only do one or two sections per day. Never start from the top. The practice time can be shortened a lot this way. It has worked and tricky passages are being learnt. smile
2). Re tantrums. I set the timer on my phone for say 12 mins practice. PAUSE during tantrums.

Claybury Thu 18-Dec-14 18:07:32

Waffle - you are also right to do this young. I have teenagers too!

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