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Start new instrument now or wait until after 11+ exams? Which brass instrument?

(9 Posts)
hopebeyond Mon 28-Mar-16 13:10:39

My ds is coming to the end of Year 5 and will have 11+ type exams this Autumn / early next year. He is bright but we will need to do some regular preparation in the run up.

He is keen to start learning the trumpet / cornet / horn. He has been saying this for 2 years but as his front teeth hadn't come in we were recommended to wait, so he chose guitar instead. He had a year of classical guitar lessons which he enjoyed but did not practice midweek unless there was a concert coming up. I eventually said he will have to stop lessons if he doesn't practice, no change, so he stopped and hasn't really picked it up since. At recent school concert he was largely disinterested until the brass group came on and his face lit up and he started bopping along to the music in his seat. He is now asking to start learning a brass instrument as his front teeth are fully through.

I want to encourage his interest, but a little reluctant as read some messages here suggesting if a child doesn't practice one instrument, they are unlikely to practice a different one either and I don't want to spend money on lessons if this will be the case again.

My other concern is timing, should we be focussing on 11+ prep for the next 2 terms and pick up instrument later? What would you do?

Mistigri Mon 28-Mar-16 13:47:14

I don't think it's true that a child who doesn't practise one instrument won't practise a different one. Motivation plays a big role. It sounds like guitar was always "second best" for your DS and that a brass instrument was what he really wanted to play all along.

Classical guitar is a difficult, solitary instrument. Brass instruments aren't easy but progress is probably a little quicker on average, once sound production has been mastered, and there are far more ensemble playing opportunities.

I don't think the timing matters. Progress might be a bit slower if attention is elsewhere but personally I'd be inclined to capitalise on his current keenness. My DD took up two new instruments and started theory classes in an exam year (as well as continuing with her other instruments)!

Wafflenose Mon 28-Mar-16 18:01:06

I'd start now, let him have lessons for the long summer term, and help him find the time and space to do some daily practice over the summer. Then he'll really be up and running by the new school year. If he can't or won't fit in practice in Year 5, it's going to get a lot harder once at secondary, with extra homework etc.

raspberryrippleicecream Mon 28-Mar-16 22:03:04

I agree. He should start now.

As to which one, really he needs to try them to see. They don't all suit everyone. My DS1 started on trumpet, switching to trombone and tuba later. But DS2 wasn't right for trumpet at all, and started on trombone.

drummersmum Fri 01-Apr-16 20:08:22

Don´t put something like this off because of the 11+!! DS prepared for the 11+ while preparing for music scholarship auditions on two instruments, which needs lots more practice than a new instrument at beginners level. It's totally doable and I'd even say desirable. Music will give your child a break and help create a schedule into which the 11+ preparation will just fit. He's showing enthusiasm now, you should try it now. Psychologically, to leave something "for after" puts too much importance and pressure on the 11+, as if it were a time that doesn't allow for life to go on.
Will he practice? You'll never know till you give him the chance. But you can always make it a condition for the lessons.

hopebeyond Mon 25-Apr-16 09:48:59

Thank you so much for all your advice, it makes a lot of sense and has been very helpful. It seems there will be more benefits than down sides to just getting on and starting now given his current enthusiasm.

So, ds is having his first trumpet lesson tomorrow. I'll let you know how it goes!

hopebeyond Tue 26-Apr-16 22:19:46

So, ds found the trumpet harder than expected to play but enjoyed the lesson and is keen to continue. Teacher has suggested trying a different brass instrument next week, maybe trombone, so we'll se how that goes.

raspberryrippleicecream Wed 27-Apr-16 00:36:37

Yay, glad he enjoyed it after waiting so long.

Trombone is fab (possibly biased), as mentioned above trumpet wasn't right for DS2 from the start. Ds1 stuck with it to Grade 5 before switching to trombone and tuba.

drummersmum Wed 27-Apr-16 12:35:07

Sounds good hopebeyond

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