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when to stop lessons

(18 Posts)
castasp Sat 14-Oct-17 15:59:26

My DD is 13. She asked to play violin when she was about 9 and half, so we got her some lessons through school. She's had a couple of different teachers over the years and currently has a teacher outside of school time, so I sit in on the lesson.

My concerns are: a) she's not very musical b) she hardly ever practices, and only ever does if I make her
c) the teacher repeatedly asks her to do the most simple of things, and she just doesn't do what he asks - I don't think she's listening c) (and this is the worst one) she acts like she's bored out of her brains all through the lesson - she yawns constantly, stretches in a kind of bored way, and acts like it's a major effort to even bother picking up the violin. I don't know how the teacher doesn't tear his hair out!

I'm quite musical, and it's definitely not the fault of the teacher - he's really fun, and musically, completely understands his stuff.

However, every week I ask her if she wants to carry on because she acts like she's not enjoying it and every week she insists she really wants to carry on and she enjoys it??? But she obviously doesn't!! I've asked why she wants to play the violin and she just vaguely says something about wanting the experience of playing an instrument.

Today, I asked her why she wasn't doing what the teacher asked her and she insisted that he was telling her it all wrong. He very definitely wasn't telling her to do it wrong. My DD can be quite arrogant, and have a "blame everyone except myself" when she's cornered, so I gave up arguing with her in the end.

She needs to pack in really, but I want it to come from her - I want her to realise that the best thing would be to pack in, mainly because if I make the decision, she will blame her lack of musical skills on me for the rest of my life. It will be a hard decision for her, I think she has some wild dream of being an effortlessly amazing musician, and stopping lessons means shutting that dream down. I think if she could do a grade (and pass it) she'd feel happier about packing in, but I think teachers are wary of putting her in for any because she obviously doesn't practice.

I don't know, maybe I'm giving her too much autonomy since she's only age 13? It's all come to a head because the teacher (who has the patience of a saint) has asked her to put more effort in next week and to think about whether she really wants to carry on. I feel really sorry for the teacher - I think he's at the end of his tether with her.

She's been sulking upstairs since her lesson this morning.

Icouldbeknitting Sat 14-Oct-17 19:35:43

You have more patience than I do, about three years more patience. I stopped lessons on the second instrument when DS wasn't prepared to put the extra time in that was needed to practise two instruments. Without some input between lessons you're wasting your money and the teacher's time.

I would decide how much practise you want to see in a week and just tell her that if she doesn't put the time in then you're not putting the money in. She can always take it up again later, she may value it more when she's paying for the lessons. It's not that she's giving it up for the rest of her life, she's just putting it aside to some future time when she has the time for it.

nonicknameseemsavailable Sat 14-Oct-17 19:42:37

sorry I would just tell her she is stopping lessons.

I have always been clear to mine that if we are spending out money on something for them then they are going to work hard at it. If they stop putting in effort then we stop paying. end of discussion

withoutthelittledots Sat 14-Oct-17 21:12:01

Why are you sitting in on the lessons?

AnneOfCleavage Sat 14-Oct-17 23:11:36

My DD also played the violin and made a very pleasing sound and took part in concerts etc but never wanted to do her practice willingly so after asking her many times if she wanted to continue and her saying yes yes yes we said that we were very sorry but she would have to stop as she had too much on and we couldn't afford it anymore and she was fine with it and actually admitted then that she was only saying yes because she didn't want to hurt our feelings and was relieved to stop.

Perhaps say the same thing we did and see what she says as we could still afford it but knew her heart wasn't in it,

FAkenameforthis Sat 14-Oct-17 23:16:01

I would tell her that she is behaving rudely and that needs to stop. She won’t be able to continue lessons unless she will practice and act in a cival manner to the teacher.

withoutthelittledots Sat 14-Oct-17 23:33:40

I would suggest that you stop sitting in on her lessons - that must be really cringeworthy and embarrassing for a teenager. 13 is about the time they start to get self-conscious, so leave her to it smile

Just stop taking any interest whatsoever in whether she plays/practices or not - it's her hobby, not yours. Sorry to be blunt, but she needs to have the freedom to decide whether she carries on with this herself.

Yeah, yeah, I know you are paying for it. Wait. Take the pressure off. She needs to want to do it, not feel obliged to because she thinks you will be disappointed if she gives up, or annoyed because of all the money you've wasted. Giving up isn't failure, it is just choosing not to do something any more.

castasp Sun 15-Oct-17 08:05:42

Thanks for your comments.

It's the teacher who wants me to sit in on them - I suppose it's to cover himself these days. My other DD plays drums, and her teacher also insists that I sit in, for the same reason I think. To be fair she doesn't seem bothered that I sit in on the lessons. It's only since she's been having this teacher that I've started sitting in, so only the last couple of months, hence why I've only just discovered how she behaves. Some lessons she's OK, but other lessons she's not. In fact, it was only from reading back through my own post, that it's made me realise how downright rude she is behaving.

My gut is to just make her stop - Icouldbeknitting has a good point in that she can always start again when she's earning her own money and pays for it herself (I'm starting to wish I'd thought of that line of argument years ago!).

The other option is to read her the riot act about how rude her behaviour is (I'm going to do that anyway), and then say she's allowed to carry on IF her behaviour and amount of practice improves. However, I can already see what will happen - her behaviour will improve because she is generally a well-behaved girl most of the time and I just don't think she realises how rude she's being, BUT the amount of practising won't improve, and TBH I'm just tired of all the arguing over it.

Icouldbeknitting Sun 15-Oct-17 08:26:10

No, don't nag. Agree together what a reasonable amount of practise is, how many weeks you'll let this trial period continue for (check the notice period where you'll have to pay whether she attends or not) and then let her be responsible for the way it goes. Maybe after the first week you could point out that she's not holding up her end of the agreement if you are feeling generous.

alletik Sun 15-Oct-17 09:44:43

I could have been your daughter. Learnt violin for years but never made any progress as I never practiced. I regret it now.

With my own DC, I never encouraged them to learn, but they both asked to learn an instrument. I agreed, but the condition was that they practiced 4 times a week. If they won't do this, I won't pay for lessons. DD1 (13) agreed and 5 years later is still learning flute and has done her grade 4, now getting ready for grade 5.

DD2 tried violin, but wouldn't practice, so yes I did make her give up. A year later, she asked to learn flute like her big sister. I agreed but reiterated my terms of them learning. She now practises flute and at 10 has just done grade 1, and will do her grade 2 next year.

Both girls have a book to write down when and what they practice in it. They need reminders, but I don't nag. If they don't practice I won't pay for lessons. It's non negotiable in our house.

ilovesushi Sun 15-Oct-17 10:08:18

Unless she agrees to stick to some kind of practice schedule, I would stop her lessons. It doesn't have to be every day or even a long practice, but it's not good you shelling out money and time if she is making no effort.

withoutthelittledots Sun 15-Oct-17 11:54:00

Oh, well in that case, I'd just tell your dd she isn't having lessons any more. The teacher must be getting pretty fed up with her behaviour, and she clearly isn't enjoying herself.

cingolimama Sun 15-Oct-17 16:15:43

Honestly, OP, I don't think her enjoyment or not matters.
1) She doesn't practise.
2) She's rude.
3) She's unfocused.

Everyone has an awful lesson occasionally, but this is consistent behaviour that you describe.

Have you told her to stop the rudeness to the teacher, and to concentrate during the lesson? Have you been able to support her practice by sitting in and offering constructive comments?

Lavabravacava Sun 15-Oct-17 16:23:34

We have a 5 times a week practice rule. If they don't do it or they complain too much then it means they don't want to continue. It's nothing to do with me 'stopping' them, it's to do with them doing the work to make the progress they want to make.

Make a deal, see if DD can stick to her word. If not it's her choice.

castasp Sun 15-Oct-17 16:56:09

Well, this is the first day of implementing the "no practice, no lessons rule" and she STILL hasn't practised her violin. She's done the ironing... which just says it all doesn't it - she'd rather do the ironing than practice her violin! She's still insisting she really wants to carry on and enjoys playing though! Honestly, I don't know how her thoughts can be so far removed from her actions. Maybe she just likes the IDEA of being able to play?? I don't know, I just don't understand her at all...

If she hasn't practiced by the time she goes to bed today (and I'm not going to nag her) then I'm cancelling the lessons.

TBH it will be such a relief and a weight off my shoulders if I can cancel them. And we'd get our Saturdays back.

cingolimama Sun 15-Oct-17 17:49:29

Catsap, I really sympathise. I think you've hit the nail on the head, though. Your DD likes the idea of playing an instrument. Not the reality. Which entails a lot of hard work, focus and dedication.

Just a thought, but is it possible that it's not the right instrument for her?

castasp Sun 15-Oct-17 18:04:16

This is the second instrument she's tried (trumpet first). I made her pack that in because she never practiced and she wasn't progressing, but she managed to convince me that it was the instrument that was the problem.

I can't face trying her on yet another instrument - she's not expressed any interest in playing any other instrument.

Ferguson2 Thu 19-Oct-17 19:45:20

Both violin and trumpet are quite difficult instruments to start to make and real progress on.

I always advise people to try a good electronic Keyboard, to get quicker results. A Keyboard does a lot of the 'hard work' for the beginner, with several hundred different sounds, and many automatic 'backings', covering every style of music, and these days even ethnic and 'world' music.

Many Keyboards have 'tuition' facilities built in, to get people started, so a teacher may not be needed at first.

A 76 note Keyboard, with some degree of touch-sensitivity will cost around £300.

(Let me know if you want more information.)

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