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Is there a point in continuing with music lessons if your child doesn't not practice

(40 Posts)
Luna9 Wed 16-Mar-16 07:35:18


My 9 years old DD had been doing clarinet lessons for nearly 2 years at school, half an hour per week; she doesn't practice much. I am continuing revaluating things and yesterday I told her that I wasn't sure if there was any point in continuing with the classes if she doesn't practice; she then said that maybe she will stop them as it does get boring after awhile; she doesn't get the opportunity to do ensembles while kids who do violin do get to practice in weekly ensembles.

I am unsure or whether to let her quit or maybe persuade her to try a different instrument. We pay for the lessons which is not a problem but is this a waste of money if she doesn't practice?. I don't want her to be a professional musician but rather enjoy music and maybe take it as a hobby later on.

sofato5miles Wed 16-Mar-16 07:37:58

No point having lessons. There was a thread about this recently. The consensus was MINIMUM 10 mins a day. We've dropped the tenor horn for the same reason. Piano practise never seems to be a problem in our house.

Luna9 Wed 16-Mar-16 07:43:33

Thank you; didn't see the other thread. I do think she will enjoy the piano; In fact when she was choosing instruments at school she was excited as she thought she could do piano but that was not an option.

Floggingmolly Wed 16-Mar-16 07:44:40

Zero point. (been there)

Fleurdelise Wed 16-Mar-16 07:50:49

I think she finds it boring because she doesn't practice therefore there is no progress, or minimal progress. Piano is also a solitary instrument, hard to learn to read two two staves of music at the same time and only if she is really enthusiastic about it she'll practice and see progress therefore enjoy it.

No instrument will bring progress without practice and I think you need to make that clear to her.

Fleurdelise Wed 16-Mar-16 07:54:02

I would also suggest if you are choosing another instrument to look into private lessons rather than school lessons, from talking to other parents it seems to me that school group lessons are a waste of money and there is very little progress.

MummySparkle Wed 16-Mar-16 07:54:08

I never practised blush but I still love music. Wish I was better at playing the trumpet! And I sing with a relatively prestigious amateur choral society.

If she is bored now maybe leave it and potentially start up again when she gets to secondary. Chances are they will have a wind band or orchestra that will make it more fun to play with if she decides to take it up again.

Luna9 Wed 16-Mar-16 09:17:34

Thank you; discussed it with her again this morning and she said she will stick to clarinet; but I did made the point that she needs to practice 10 min everyday. I will need to remind her everyday until it becomes a routine and see how it goes.

CrotchetQuaverMinim Wed 16-Mar-16 09:22:54

Perhaps you can look around for community or LEA ensembles - there may well be some that even beginner clarinets can participate in, and that might increase her enthusiasm, even if there's nothing at school. Or if there is a violin group, could they add clarinets or other instruments to make an orchestra, if there's a teacher who could write out a suitable part? Maybe duets with other clarinettists or violinists or pianists. Local festivals could be another way of increasing enthusiasm/practice - some are very competitive, but others are much more friendly, and it might be a chance for her to play for other people, enjoy practising as she has something to look forward to, etc. You could also look for CD accompaniments to her pieces, or to other pieces that she'd quite like to play, backing-track style, and she might enjoy just playing around and figuring things out if she is keen on learning something in particular.

Icouldbeknitting Wed 16-Mar-16 10:50:05

I stopped the lessons on the second instrument when DS didn't get it out of the case between lessons. He was warned first but it was a waste of my money and his teachers time.

Our local music partnership run Saturday morning ensembles for all abilities, is there anything like that near you? Playing with others is fun and it gives you an incentive to improve.

Mistigri Wed 16-Mar-16 11:26:20

For reasonably able musicians there is probably an initial period during which progress can be made dispite minimal practice, but there is a limit beyond which progress becomes impossible without playing regularly.

I pulled the plug on my DD's music lessons when she was about your DD's age. She was technically quite able but didn't have any obvious talent or interest.

A couple of years later she picked up a guitar and has never looked back (it's rare for her to play less than 15 mins a day and she will sometimes play for several hours). She later took up piano from scratch and was playing grade 6/7 pieces within a year. She also sings and composes. Somehow stopping music and then starting again on her own terms has brought out a musical talent that we had no idea she had!

cingolimama Wed 16-Mar-16 12:59:23

I think she finds it boring because she doesn't practise and therefore there is no progress
Or, nothing's fun until you're good at it.

OP, can you not sit in on the practice sessions? This will help her. Remember she's only 9 - I think it's a little unreasonable to expect a young child to be wholly responsible for this. You can help her create a disciplined framework by sitting, listening and encouraging her to concentrate and repeat difficult sections of music.

Also, get a routine going - so for instance, do 15 minutes before school after teeth brushing, or 15 minutes before dinner. Everyday is actually easier than negotiating three days a week.

Good luck!

nonicknameseemsavailable Wed 16-Mar-16 13:53:48

I would agree, timetable in a slot for practice, if time in the morning as then it isn't affected by any other after school activities. Perhaps in the morning once they are completely ready whilst you are making lunches or sorting yourself out etc

woolleybear Wed 16-Mar-16 17:25:15

What level has she reached in 2 years? I would say my dd, same age and on clarinet for 1.5 years is middling in terms of practice, usually 20-30 minutes 3-4 times a week and has just taken her Grade 2.

There is no suitable ensemble at her school either, unlike almost every other instrument, strings, brass and flutes have groups but she is at an LEA wind and brass group beginners section. It has made a huge impact in her enjoyment of playing.

Luna9 Wed 16-Mar-16 18:45:51

Thank you; she has been invited for an interview at the local council music center in April so I am hoping she will get more opportunity to practice if she gets accepted.

cingolimama Wed 16-Mar-16 19:09:48

OP, your DD no doubt has plenty of "opportunity to practice". At home. Please don't look to a local music centre to fix her practice schedule and instill a disciplined approach. Really, (and I don't mean this in a harsh way), that's your job.

IoraRua Wed 16-Mar-16 19:13:34

Agreed. And I don't think the local music center will want to accept someone who, to be frank, shows no real dedication or interest. If she's not playing regularly, that's not a great sign for them.

She has opportunity to practice, and while I wouldn't expect her to be managing it all by herself she does need to be putting more work in.

Keeptrudging Wed 16-Mar-16 19:19:20

The more she practices, the better she'll get, as will the pieces she gets to play. Ensembles are definitely a great way to up her practice and give her something to work towards, plus it's much more fun playing together. Fingers crossed she gets into the music centre.

woolleybear Wed 16-Mar-16 19:48:33

For us at least there is a definite difference between playing and practice. If she picks up th clarinet and tries to make something up, or gets a book out and plays pop songs or Christmas carols then that's lovely and she enjoys it but when she practices, ie what her teacher has asked her to look at that week, she needs some guidance, otherwise her favourite piece and scale would be repeated ad infinitum!

Ferguson Wed 16-Mar-16 19:55:40

I always suggest for a student in her position, to try a variety of genres of music. So don't just stick to the school pieces she is given, but try to find sheet music in charity shops or car-boot sales. Provided it is of similar standard of difficulty, and within the range of note she know, it doesn't necessarily even have to be clarinet music.

This might be worth looking at:

Also, books by James Rae are VERY good; he does saxophone books, but also some for clarinet, and they are well worth studying.

Luna9 Wed 16-Mar-16 22:39:58

Agreed; we started today with the daily practice and I told her she can keep the music lessons as long as she practices daily; I also think the music centre will give her more chance to practice on top of the school lessons and daily practice. I am not very musical and have not instill the discipline; she is more musicl and is good at singing and I can see she has ideas for composing too; she just need more discipline to practice the instrument.

Thank you Fergurson for the advice about getting other books; haven't thought of that.

Butteredparsnips Wed 16-Mar-16 22:45:48

I was made to practice. DM used to call out if she couldn't here me. So I used to play scales and read a book. I wish she had let me give up. I have t played since leaving home nearly 30 years ago.

CrazyBoo Fri 18-Mar-16 05:35:18

IMO, if you need to remind and push your child to practice - particularly from seven years old or so - then there's probably little point. The motivation to learn an instrument and make music needs to come from within the child herself. If the motivation isn't there or is weak, she won't progress much. Perhaps the clarinet isn't 'her' instrument - maybe allow her to explore a little with instruments to find one that could be a better fit. If she finds her instrument, you won't need to push her to practice. She'll find the motivation herself. Good luck!

Eva50 Fri 18-Mar-16 21:15:42

Ds3 (9) is learning piano and cello. Both his music teachers say he has a really good ear and huge potential. He loves his lessons, loves to perform but is reluctant to practice. We do piano for 30 minutes in the morning each day and cello for 20 minutes in the afternoon 4/5 days a week (it takes about 40 mins by the time you get it out, set up and put away). I have to sit with him all the time whilst he practices in order for it to be the least bit productive. I hope as he gets older he will be more responsive for this himself but I think it could take time.

Mistigri Fri 18-Mar-16 21:23:58

The idea that a 7/8 year old is going to practice effectively on his/her own is just fantasy for the majority of children. Even older students can require reminding, and sometimes advice on how to use practice time effectively.

The time to give up is when practice creates bad will on both sides ie child is actively resisting practice or requires constant nagging. When I pulled the plug on DD's lessons we were doing well to get 10 mins practice a week.

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