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Can I ask how you get your DC to do piano practice?

(36 Posts)
bigTillyMint Sun 27-Sep-09 17:18:20

DD has been doing piano for over a year.

She did a joint school lesson with another girl last year (25mins per week), but she found the teacher and the music she was given dull. I did manage to get her to practice say 10mins 5 x a week - the pieces were pretty easy.

She has now swapped to a 1:1 lesson outside of school with a fantastic new teacher who she loves. However, I have discovered that last year's teacher did not teacher how to read music properly, nor did she learn scales. She has also given her quite a challenging but lovely piece of music which she really needs to work on properly for at least 10mins a day.

She is doing the practice half-heartedly and with very bad grace, and is being rude to me when I try to get her to do it (with my help!)

Any hints please?!

sarah293 Sun 27-Sep-09 17:22:54

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sarah293 Sun 27-Sep-09 17:24:33

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LadyGlencoraPalliser Sun 27-Sep-09 17:27:52

I find that DD1 goes through periods where she is incredibly motivated and practiss loads and other periods where I have to nag her. When that goes on too long, her teacher generally has a word in her ear, which is far more effective than my gentle reminders.

bigTillyMint Sun 27-Sep-09 17:31:08

Thing is, she really LOVES the teacher and LOVES going to the lesson, and the piece is Fur Elise, so not boring - she is just having trouble reading the music. I agree about not forcing her, but she is desperate to go to the lessons.

Do you think I should just not remind her at all this week and she can look a total tw*t when she goes for her lesson?

I can't believe I paid for a whole year and she still can't read the musicangry

sarah293 Sun 27-Sep-09 17:45:27

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bigTillyMint Sun 27-Sep-09 17:51:55

Oh Riven, that makes me feel a bit better! It is an arranged version of fur elise, not the original!

sarah293 Sun 27-Sep-09 17:55:00

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newpup Sun 27-Sep-09 17:56:29

My DDs have lessons. A lovely teacher recommended by a friend comes to the house and they have half an hour each, once a week. They already play an instrument each and had got into the habit of practicing for 10 mins a day before school. They both really wanted piano lessons and as they were doing well at practicing the other instruments I agreed BUT on the condition they do 10 mins a day on piano as well or the lessons stop. They have kept to their word and love the lessons. If the practice trails off then the lessons stop. That was the deal.

They actually both love their music and I rarely have to remind them to practice.

bigTillyMint Sun 27-Sep-09 17:59:52

Well, that is what I have said too! But when I remind her that will happen, she goes into a meltdown about not wanting to stop lessons, and does the practice really poorly.

KembleTwins Sun 27-Sep-09 18:01:34

I started learning the piano aged 6. My sister was 8. I really wanted to learn. She didn't. Nevertheless, we did half an hour practice every day. We sometimes had to be reminded, but there was never any argument about it. TBH my teacher was (to a 6 year old) fairly scary, and I didn't want to risk her (imagined) wrath by not practising. I think even at that age I understood it was important. I think it's sad that it has to come down to "how do you get your DC to do the practice". Surely the knowledge that if practice is not done, nothing will be achieved is enough? Sorry. Am poss very naive, and not terribly helpful.

OP once your DD starts to find improvement happens quicker if she puts the practice in, perhaps it will spur her on to do it without nagging.

madamearcati Sun 18-Oct-09 10:43:44

we had a leaflet home from school and said that less than 10% of children would take the initiative to practise themselves in the duifficult early stages.I think first thing in the morning is the best time of day, by evening they've had enough.

Libra Sun 18-Oct-09 11:12:35

I agree with Riven that a commitment to practice comes with maturity.

We started DS1 on piano lessons when he was six. It was a nightmare. Much arguing about practice, much crying (mine and his), much threats. He stopped at eight.

Then he went to Academy at twelve and started guitar (with many promises about practice). He loved guitar. We couldn't get him off the bloody thing.

Then he started his Music standard grade and so needed two instruments. So piano started again. Because he can read music much better now and is so committed to his guitar, he sees the point of practice. He practices daily on both instruments. He is very good on guitar and getting pretty good on piano. Certainly above the level he needs for a second instrument at Standard grade.

Have you thought of starting her on an easier instrument than piano?

snorkie Sun 18-Oct-09 11:49:17

your ds sounds like mine riven - will only practice what he feels like (& never, ever scales), but he does play a lot at home without prompting so I've not had this issue with him. Dd would never practice wihout major nagging, so she gave up as I couldn't be doing with the agro. I know beetroot used to use bribery on her children to good effect, but it depends how you feel about that.

There are also some ideas on the practicespot website that might help.

If you find the answer, market it & you will make a fortune!

pipsqueak Mon 02-Nov-09 23:14:16

dd2 aged 7 is struggling with the piano right now - she is generall y quite bright but seems to be unable to remember any of the notes and has what seems like the equivalent of dyslexia wiht music - she has been learning since january and still cant idntify C-G on the treble clef although she can play a bit by use of the finger numbering . practice is becoming a battle ground and i am on the point of throwing in hte towel but it is hard as we are into music as a family - her dad and elder sister both play to ahigh standard and we really do our best to encourage her but OMG it is like pulling teeth - any tips?

cat64 Mon 02-Nov-09 23:24:53

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JodieO Mon 02-Nov-09 23:30:22

Did I read that right that she can't read music? How can she practice then? I played piano from 8ish and enjoyed it a lot, practiced an hour a day and managed to get distinctions in grades and also did theory exams. If they don't want to do it then it isn't worth forcing them imo.

Kerrymumbles Mon 02-Nov-09 23:56:06

i told ds1 that if he doesn't practise i'm not paying for any more lessons. He practised for 5 minutes today a new piece that he's had for a month. hasn't practised it at all. i told him it sounded dreadful.

so he had keyboard today and teacher comes out telling me how bloody fantastic he did it. hmm and i'm like, "you're not helping me here" and she's bleating on about how some kids don't need to practise that much hmm STILL not helping me here and they can just read things and play them

so obviously I'm getting no where

he gets distinctions on all his exams

god that sounds like i'm bragging....

anyway point is, I guess if they're decent enough they don't have to practise as much. if she's crap AND not practising then you have to be firm. practise or no more lessons.

snorkie Tue 03-Nov-09 00:08:11

7 is quite young pipsqueak. If she's having difficulty reading the notes I'd back off & try something else before she gets totally demoralised and maybe have another go in a couple of years. Otherwise I reckon you risk putting her off music for life. If her sister plays, you might consider restarting on a different instrument (after a gap) as I think often younger siblings like to do something different and be out of their siblings shadow a bit. Also, note reading for a single line instrument is a lot easier imo.

LilyBolero Tue 03-Nov-09 00:12:10

Even if you're naturally talented and can 'read' well you still need to practise, it is laying down patterns in the brain that need to be laid down for when you progress onto more difficult music. It's also building technique, which only comes by repetition.

snorkie Tue 03-Nov-09 00:18:58

Hi Kerry! Ds does the same on his cello. The wretched thing stays in it's box from week to week & after his lesson each week I hopefully ask if his teacher was annoyed that he hadn't practiced & he just says she didn't notice & was pleased with his pieces. I always tell him I'm sure she did notice but was too polite to say, but he insists this isn't the case. I think he's got to the point where he does need to practice now though as he 'only' passed his last exam (having had high distinctions for all before that) and hasn't done any exams for several years now as his teacher wants his scales to be perfect (& that simply won't happen without practice at his level, though he's been saying lately that even they've been going OK, so I don't know what to think).

LilyBolero Tue 03-Nov-09 00:20:43

snorkie, even if the teacher is happy, it really is worth cracking the practice routine now - it's now that the basics are laid down! And there will come a point when he can't get by on wit alone, and that's when he could either give up, or dig in, and if he has a foundation of practice to fall back on then he is much more likely to continue.

snorkie Tue 03-Nov-09 00:23:08

That's cello though - never have any problems at all with piano practice (actually that's not true, when he first started he didn't practise piano much for about 2 years - it's almost like you need to be a certain standard to derive enough enjoyment from it to want to practice). But choosing the right instrument that a child wants to learn is important.

LilyBolero Tue 03-Nov-09 00:26:55

definitely, finding the right instrument is key.

Ds1 and dd both do piano and a stringed instrument, and they both enjoy doing a couple of orchestras - that might be a way of at least ensuring the instrument comes out of the box! And he might enjoy playing with others more than playing on his own.

The same goes for strings as for piano in terms of laying down the fundamental technique - almost more so in some ways.

snorkie Tue 03-Nov-09 00:34:14

LilyB he's older than you think (15) and I reckon it's too late for practice routines to be laid down. I'm not really bothered if he stops tomorrow. He can play grade 8 pieces & above and sight read well. He doesn't want to be a profesional cellist - he sees it very much as a hobby, but he could find a seat in most amateur orchestras which is all he will ever want to do I think. He plays in two orchestras a string quartet and a piano trio at the moment, so quite probably that's why he gets away without actually practising as he is still playing a fair bit. I'm in the fortunate position that he has free lessons at school, so I'm not begrudging any investment.

I feel I'd like him to take his grade 8 because he's easily capable of it, but if he doesn't it's really not the end of the world. The annoying thing is, he loves the piano & will practice that loads, but he's really more talented at the cello.

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