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New school, new start, new instrument or old?

(9 Posts)
pugsandseals Mon 24-Aug-09 13:26:16

DD started piano last year in year 2. Had a fun first few months but no technique. Changed teacher, now has technique but no enthusiasm to practise- although does singing at the same time and loves that. Plays recorder too which we hope she'll continue at private school.
PIL asked her what she wanted for her birthday last month- answer "a harp!". They bought a small one but she has had no lessons yet and I am still suspect about her enthusiasm for practising anything!
Do we:-
1. Continue with piano/singing only for now?
2. Swap to harp asap (new head has said he will find her a teacher) & hope lessons will enthuse the practise?
3. Leave both for a term while she settles in & see what she then wants to do?
Sorry for long post, just a difficult decision

pugsandseals Mon 24-Aug-09 14:51:19


notanidea Mon 24-Aug-09 22:14:19

Wait for a term and ask her to choose.Good luck for the new school.If she does her lessons during the school time(lunch/break time) she will not have time to have play with other children.This, I think is important in her forming new friendships at school.

ZZZenAgain Wed 26-Aug-09 14:55:57

difficult, not really sure but if she had a year of piano and has not done much practice during the holidays perhaps, then misses a term, I think taking it up again would involve pretty much going back almost to scratch since she may well have forgotten quite a bit in that space of time.

Why do you think she lost interest, was it the teacher or the more difficult pieces as she progressed?

Possibly for continuity sake, I would give it another go with piano at the new school. It seems a shame for the past year's work to not be built upon in a way. If she will be doing recorder anyway at the same time, she will be getting a positive feeling from the quick progress she'll make since it is a much simpler instrument.

The practicing at home will always be a problem though, won't it, whatever instrument she learns? Dd has to do about 40 minutes at night and scales in the morning and I often don't feel like it (listening in and monitoring the whole business).

Harp is a lovely instrument, absolutely lovely when you can play it well but quite unwieldly later really, isn't it?

ZZZenAgain Wed 26-Aug-09 14:57:51

wondering too if an instrument she can play in some type of ensemble setting might prove more motivating for her. Perhaps she is less of a soloist at heart and might enjoy something like cello or clarinette more which she could play with other children?

pugsandseals Wed 26-Aug-09 19:29:45

The technique has definately been the long slog! I sometimes feel the motivation comes from the mechanical challenge rather than enjoying the music- for that it is definately singing that is her love...
She seems to love the sound of the harp- much more direct than piano I suppose; but doesn't know where to start as far as technique is concerned.
I'm just worried about keeping her going on piano if she's not enjoying it?
Sorry, still posing more questions than answers aren't I blush

ZZZenAgain Thu 27-Aug-09 09:19:52

can't claim to be any kind of an expert on music tuition so maybe not the best person to advise.

I do see what you mean about perservering with piano when she does not want to, you may well kill off all interest in learning an instrument. Very difficult, isn't it?

Singing is generally great and worth keeping up. Maybe guitar if she liks the sound of harp strings would be good. Also good as an accompaniment to singing.

I wonder if with almost every instrument there is not a kind of stage (or even series of stages) you have to grit your teeth and get through before it becomes more enjoyable again? The beginning is always nice and quite easy and then it gets more and more complicated both in terms of the musical notation and the physical manipulations. I wonder if once you come out the other end with certain technical skills mastered, the pleasure in playing comes back.

Just not sure if this is something she will encounter after a year or so with every instrument?

pugsandseals Thu 27-Aug-09 12:14:25

Thanks Zen- good to know somebody at least understands the problems even if there is no easy answer! Will try not to think about it for a couple of weeks & see what happens I think..

ShellingPeas Sun 30-Aug-09 14:37:15

I teach piano and wind instruments - generally, as Zen has said, most children will go through a flat patch when their enthusiasm tails off. This usually happens once the initial excitement of learning and progressing changes into what seems like an endless grind.

It does seem to me that she is required to do an awful lot of practice - 40 mins an evening, plus scales in the morning is more than I ever set for youngsters. (I'm assuming she's around 7/8 if in year 3 this year.) I would expect my pupils to do between 20 and 30 minutes, depending on what stage they're at and whether or not exams are looming. Is your teacher very hardcore and demanding? It might be an idea to find one who can make lessons fun rather than a slog. Also, is she learning new pieces, or expected to practice the old ones until perfect? Sometimes it can help to have something new to play to inject some new enthusiasm.

Goals can be useful too - not necessarily sitting exams, but perhaps a mini concert for friends/relatives - something to work towards can be inspiring and boost interest.

And finally... if she loves to sing, then let her sing. I'd steer clear of too much vocal tuition at this stage as she is still very young, but perhaps find a choir or some other type of musical outlet where she can have lots of fun with others her age.

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