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Violin- do we give up or keep going?

(28 Posts)
jellymaker Mon 08-Aug-16 12:00:28

DD9 has been playing violin for 2 years now - she goes in and out of loving it and hating it. Her teacher says that he never knows what he is going to get when she goes to the lesson - a brilliant attitude or a really reluctant one. I have had that many arguments with her about it, I think I am ready to throw in the towel and then I see her playing in the little group that she is in and she is in her element. I am swinging between knowing that 9 year olds can't see beyond the end of their own noses and we should just ride it out for now, and having enough of her dragging her heels almost every, but not all the times that I ask her to practise. WWYD?

irvineoneohone Mon 08-Aug-16 12:53:01

my ds started piano at 8. I made sure that this is "extra", so either he put effort in or we stop. Any argument over practice/ homework, we quit.
It's kind of working at the moment.

Greenleave Mon 08-Aug-16 16:02:56

Is she doing an exam grade? Does she only learn new pieces from joining the Orchestra?
We are now struggling to find a great violin teacher in my area, I think its the main thing to hold my daughter back

jellymaker Mon 08-Aug-16 19:21:15

She is practising for grade 1 but the teacher deferred it from the summer intake as she just isn't consistent enough. She does learn different pieces with the group and she enjoys that but we are not getting enough good days at moment to make me think its worth it. Its so hard because i can remember being the same at her age about the piano but am so thankful now that my parents made me stick at it.

Ferguson Mon 08-Aug-16 19:30:36

The violin is harder than many other instruments, as you have to 'make' the position of any note, hold it down firmly to get an accurate, clear sound, AND move the fingers to create Vibrato. That is quite a lot for a child to achieve, so it is hardly surprising students get discouraged!

However, an electronic Keyboard has ALL the notes laid out, in order, in front of the player, and on many Keyboards (which can have 500 different sounds) Vibrato can be set to any desired level. And a Keyboard will have Violin, Viola, Cello and many other 'string' sounds, so for frustration-free, pleasurable music making a Keyboard can be a possible solution.

Of course, a REAL violin will give great satisfaction WHEN all the study and practice have been mastered, but that can take several years, and playing in an ensemble is enjoyable and socially rewarding. But, a 'quick fix' could be to consider a Keyboard.

ellesbellesxxx Mon 08-Aug-16 19:37:37

Is it working towards the exam that is the issue I wonder? If she enjoys what she is playing with her group?

I am a music teacher and some children get so fed up of those pieces... Doing the exam is just ticking a box. Could she move on, learn some new pieces and see how that goes?

onlymusic Mon 08-Aug-16 21:22:10

Very familiar situation unfortunately. Had to do a lot of adjustments (practice, lessons, change of scenery, my attitude, etc) in order to overcome the crisis, saying that dd was a bit further into her studies and it was more at stake. It turned out that once she was given the right technique and understanding how to control her playing + attitude of the adults involved into the process (teacher's and mine) her attitude totally changed too.
In your situation I would do grade 1 and then depending on results review the situation.

onlymusic Mon 08-Aug-16 21:28:15

Another though - girls seem to be sooo difficult at this age- I am not sure I would manage to make dd to carry on if she started recently. Only because she is playing violin literally half of her life and probably does not remember the time without it I think I can still manage to make her play.

Greenleave Tue 09-Aug-16 07:38:24

Only: that is so true!
Jelly: violin is very different, its harder for the first 2-3 years until you can make a nice sound out of it. The better thing compare with piano is with violin she can socialise alot earlier by playing in an Orchestra, with other people while piano is kinda lonely. It depends on your goal on music. For us its only for pure pleasure and enrich our life and enjoying it then we are ok pondering at both. Good luck with the g1 exam!

NeverEverAnythingEver Tue 09-Aug-16 08:53:03

DC1 went through a really difficult (and bloody long) phase of being, well, difficult, about practising. OK - about 3-4 years. hmm Didn't want to stop lessons, would practise after a strop and also strop during practise. hmm hmm The teacher was always happy with the progress though. Now he seems to have emerged.

But preparing for exams was the worst. We are not going to do many exams.

jellymaker Tue 09-Aug-16 11:03:26

maybe it is the exam. The fact that you have to play the same pieces over and over and you can't get them quite right is probably what is de motivating her. Maybe looking at other music would be a better plan for now. thanks

fluffywhitekittens Tue 09-Aug-16 11:12:05

DD 9 went through the same thing. She had wanted to learn since she was 4/5 but we couldn't find a local teacher until she was 7/8. She hated practising and lessons are so expensive - lots of changing her mind and she has finally given up a few months ago. It's frustrating considering the amount we have spent but I didn't want to continue paying out when she wasn't 100% into it and it was her decision to quit. She also does Piano/keyboard at school and is moaning about the practise for that too...

cingolimama Tue 09-Aug-16 11:50:36

IMO there's no point in doing Grade 1 for violin. There's so much technique to learn in the first few years.

How often is she practising? DC should be practising every day (preferably at the same time of the day) for at least 15 minutes in order to make progress. Daily practice is actually easier to accomplish than the "3 or 4 times a week" tactic. It becomes a habit, a non-negoitable - like teeth brushing. Also, consistent practising will change her attitude to her lesson - she will be prepared and ready to show what she's been doing, as opposed to unsure and reluctant (well, I'd be reluctant too if I wasn't prepared).

Also, can you give support and sit in on the practice sessions? You won't have to do this forever but she's only 9, and personally, I think it's unreasonable to expect a child to take the long view. That's a parent's job.

To reassure you, if you both stick with it, it gets bettter - much better. Good luck.

onlymusic Tue 09-Aug-16 13:24:15

How interesting, I can totally relate to each non-practising story... They all sound so familiar.... Greenleave - totally agreed about the benefits of playing. So glad we didn't give up...

Davinaaddict Tue 09-Aug-16 14:15:40

I was the girl doing violin lessons at her age. My mother and grandparents both wants me to play, because my mother had played to a high grade standard. I swung between enjoying it and hating it but I kept going because I was worried that I would be disappointing the family if I didn't. I wasn't very good as I didn't practice much, because I didn't really want to learn to play. I finally managed to give it up in senior school, but I wish now I hadn't wasted so much time playing an instrument I didn't really enjoy. I should have pushed to do other things that I enjoyed more.

I like irvines idea of making it down to her to continue if she wants to, but please don't give her any reason to feel like she would be letting you down if she quits. If she really wants to do it, she will.

Greenleave Tue 09-Aug-16 17:44:51

Davina: if you didnt practise much as you said then there isnt much wasting/losing here.
There is a tendency of quiting when we let our children quit anything/anytime they want at the very first sight without trying(given before trying/commiting it we should have warn them certain level of commitment is required). Had I let my daughter quit easily in anything she tries I dont think she will appreciate it now as she loves it now after few months no progress, frustrations, wanting to give up). She asked for trying violin when almost her class did and I didnt think we should do it(we are not musical and already have piano on our plate), she then wanted to quit just 3 months after(most of her friends quitted now). We dont fight over it(I have no time and energy) however I let her go relaxed of not so much practising for a certain time, we instead went to loads of concert(she loves Oblivian piece by then). It then came back, she picked it up again. Does she practise now? Not so much as she should, I again have no energy or time to coach her practice during the day. Instead I set a goal, a small one each week, she can do whatever she likes during the week however she must keep her promise to meet this goal(its very little-couple of etudes be mastered, few dictation exercises, few scales, any improvement on small pieces chosen by herself(we are not planning for any exam for now)

jellymaker Wed 10-Aug-16 10:40:17

I think taking her out of exam pieces is the way to go for now but thank you all for your insights

irvineoneohone Wed 10-Aug-16 16:13:36

Green, I didn't mean if they find something hard, just quit it without trying.
I had talk with my ds before he started piano, that if he wanted to do it, he need to commit himself properly. He was 8, so I thought he was old enough to understand. He already had huge commitment for another extra curricular club(non-musical) 3 times a week, so I just wanted to make sure, since there are only limited time to do something else.(like programming!)

HerestoyouMrsRobinson Thu 11-Aug-16 05:56:13

No kid ever does more practice if they stop taking exams. Pay her 20p for each non-complaining practice and things should improve!

NeverEverAnythingEver Thu 11-Aug-16 10:48:00

"Pay her 20p"

Well. When DS1 was small he had to earn screen time - double the minutes on the console. We did this for one term only and then he decided that he didn't need the incentive any more and practice became more part of the routine. So I'm a great fan of some form of "encouragement". grin

I don't know if it's true that kids don't practice more if they don't do exams. Mine play more and happier when there are no exams. True - they mess about more too, but it's all part of figuring out what you can do with your instrument.

onlymusic Thu 11-Aug-16 11:48:40

Sometimes it worth doing exam to test things teacher too

howabout Fri 12-Aug-16 12:40:11

I think especially for older DC the early grades can be demoralising, so I would favour playing lots of tunes and building confidence, so that there is more enthusiasm for working on technique. Also 5 minutes every day is enough to make progress (10-15 is better) and achievable easily especially if you can leave the instrument out.

Davinaaddict Fri 12-Aug-16 23:29:07

Green I played for about 5 years, and wasn't bad at it. Even without a huge amount of practice (maybe once or twice a week plus a lesson and orchestra), that's a lot of wasted time because I didn't want to let my family down. So it's not that I quit after a few months or that it was easy to quit. I still wish I'd quit much earlier and done something I cared more about.

irvineoneohone Fri 12-Aug-16 23:57:34

Davinaaddict, I totally understand what you mean.
One of my ds's friend is learning violin. But it's not what he wants to do. It's what his parents want him to do. They are always complaining about him not practicing at all, but when I was listening to him talking about it, it was clear he isn't interested. He only does it to please his parents. He does another ex-curricular activity with my ds, but he isn't interested in that either.... He always look really miserable when he turns up. He is such a lovely child, and I can understand that his parents want best for him, but it seems really hard for him.

Mistigri Sat 13-Aug-16 11:55:39

My DD dropped her first instrument at 10 because I got fed up with paying for lessons when she didn't practice. She was a bit further along compared to the OP's DD but hadn't shown any signs of having any serious musical ability.

Two years later she took up guitar of her own accord and since then she has never looked back - she now plays four instruments to a decent level. She doesn't take exams and practice is often just playing what she wants to or composing her own music, but she has progressed rapidly because she's motivated and she enjoys it. She is not a technically impressive musician, but she is a very solid reliable group player with a talent for composition.

There's an argument that enforcing regular practice results in good practice habits being acquired and this is certainly true for some children - but my DD is too oppositional for this to have worked. If she had been made to keep up her first instrument I doubt she would still be playing music at all.

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