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Gifted in music? - but I have existential angst about it!!!

(22 Posts)
weegiemum Tue 09-Nov-10 10:02:38

I never thought I would be posting in here!! My kids are bright, inquisitive and well ahead of themselves in many ways, but Scotland has no G&T scheme and I'm not sure what I think about it anyway, the way it is administered elsewhere .... (am overthinking secondary teacher....)

Anyway. I have 3 dc, dd1 is 10, ds 8, dd2 6. All have music lessons - all very good at what they play (dd1 plays accordion, ds Piano, dd2 violin).

Ds was last to start as he hadn't been interested up to now. But at the start of the school year in August he suddenly announced "I want to play the piano" and so I got him a teacher, as the girls were already in lessons and he was so keen - about something other than Wii games!

10 weeks of lessons later and his teacher wants to put him in for an audition for a "Gifted Young Musician" scheme, as he seems to have a knack for it - has done the books at twice the normal speed, his teacher says it is like he was "born knowing" how to play the piano.

So I suppose my questions are these:

1) By putting him forward for this, am I being a ghhastly pushy parent?
2) How do I explain to his sisters who have both been playing for over a year and are good at their instruments, that their brother is getting special treatment?
3) This will be good for him if he gets on the scholarship scheme (should be half a day a week out of school for Piano plus 2 more instruments every week)? Won't it?

He's already in the top group in his class for language and maths, and that's at a bilingual school where he has learned to be fluent in Gaelic as well as English. Even by ENglish language standards he's ahead of himself (Primary 4= Year 3 reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows to finish by when the film comes out - with real understanding!)

He has passed the level tests (in Scotland there are levels A-E for core subjects which are for ages 5 (school entry) to 14 (exam choice time) ) at level C in Language (p5 or y4) and Language (both languages, level D, P7 or year 6) already though he is in P4, Y3). So a half a day out of school a week won't be that big a deal if he gets it, will it?

His sisters are at a similar (age adjusted) academic level. They are all also moderately fluent in Spanish (we decided to add another language fairly early as they were finding the Gaelic easy). I am musical (clarinet grade 8, guitar grade 6) and the girls are much better at art than ds is.

I'm not sure what I am asking .....

Is it going to make a big difference tot he family dynamic if one is "Gifted" and the others not? My dd1 wins art competitions all the time and it hasn't caused ructions at home.

I suppose the whole "gifted" thing is a bit foreign to my scottish teacher brain. Please tell me this is a fabulous opportunity for my son!!!!!

ZZZenAgain Tue 09-Nov-10 10:06:39

I don't know anything about G&T or musically talented dc however I feel that
1) you are not being pushy, you are following up the recommendation of the teacher who surely knows what s/he is on about
2) explain to the sisters that it is an opportunity for pianists (sincet hey play other instruments, therefore they are not somehow less gifted, just diff type of instrument)
3) sound good to me. He is so young that schoolwork is not massively in the way of doing something like this. I mean now is the time he can fit it in and progress rapidly. Once he is into GCSEs, it will be much harder to find the time

Worth a try

Alibabaandthe40nappies Tue 09-Nov-10 10:07:33

It is a fabulous opportunity for your son grin

Seriously though, it is. I would jump at the chance for DS to do something like this in a few years if he showed the talent and inclination.

weegiemum Tue 09-Nov-10 10:09:18

I want to, too, but am so aware that I have 3 children!

He is so keen, though! Last night, his teacher was on a course and postponed by two hours so the lesson was late. Ds said "awwww no, can I do more practice instead!" He loves it!!

ZZZenAgain Tue 09-Nov-10 10:10:47

if he has exceptional ability and he wants to do it, don't you think it would be a bit unfair of him to hold him back because of the other 2?

ZZZenAgain Tue 09-Nov-10 10:11:24

ôn^ him I meant , sorry

just try it, you can always withdraw from the scheme if it is too much for him

PixieOnaLeaf Tue 09-Nov-10 10:13:07

Message withdrawn

weegiemum Tue 09-Nov-10 10:13:54

I think you are right.

I don't stop anyone drawing cos dd1 won the city wide council "design a christmas card" competition 2 years ago, adn cam e second last year (she was gutted!!!!!)

To be honest, even in a bilingual school all of my children are coasting a little. SO I want to encourage them with extra curricular and if this is what he is good at, lets run with it (and it migh make up for his siter being better at rugby than he is {grin])

ZZZenAgain Tue 09-Nov-10 10:16:10

it sounds as if they are all very bright and they will all in time for something they particualrly like and excell in. As you say they are doing well in several things, so don't overthink it would be my advice.

I'd just try and find out what it involves for ds a bit better. You don't want the fun taken out of it by too much pressure and then if he does audition and does not get a scholarship for whatever reason, he may be gutted. I'd be thinking about those type of things. The others will register he is being assessed differently in music but ok they will honestly live with it.

ZZZenAgain Tue 09-Nov-10 10:17:35

sorry about all the typos

Alibabaandthe40nappies Tue 09-Nov-10 10:19:41

weegiemum - I'm one of three, and we all did different things.

I was musical, one brother was v.good at drama, and the youngest was good at everything!
We were all academically bright and in the top 5% most of the way through school, so taking on extra stuff that meant missing lessons wasn't a problem.

We all had different opportunities and were always allowed to take them. There was no resentment that they were different things, because we all felt happy with what we were doing.

weegiemum Tue 09-Nov-10 10:23:32

Awww thanks every one!!

I'm feeling reassured. I'm so proud of him! It has already brought him out of his shell - from being the kid who hid at the back in school shows to volunteering himself to do a SOLO at a performance for senior citizens at the end of the month!

I have an arty one, a musical one, and the youngest is currently gifted in the "will never shut up" stakes!!!

domesticsluttery Tue 09-Nov-10 10:33:52

I think you just have to take the opportunity.

I have 3 DC too. DS1 (8) is very bright, top of his class is most things and works very hard. DS2 (6) is far more laid back. However DS2 seems to have an aptitude for reading, which the school are trying to get funding for in order to provide additional support. He reads in Welsh (which he has been taught) at the same level as children 4 years older than him, and has taught himself to read at a similar level in English too. His Head describes his ability as "off the scale". It is difficult explaining to DS1 why DS2 is getting extra help and attention despite the fact that he doesn't appear to work as hard as him!

You have to treat your children as individuals, and allow them to take up opportunities. Your DDs may well have similar opportunities in the future but in different activities.

LilyBolero Tue 09-Nov-10 10:35:05

It does sound like he is doing really well. As a piano teacher and a pro-musician I would be hesitant though about auditioning for the scheme because;

He's only been playing a short while (10 weeks) - it does sound like he's made loads of progress in that time, BUT if he doesn't get on the scheme it will be a real knock early on his piano playing - I wouldn't risk that with pupils so early, and at age 8, he could find that the required standard is much higher than you're expecting (for example, I did Associated Board grade 3 at 8, and if they were expecting that, he would find things like sightreading and scales very hard to manage).

After 10 weeks, they are still in the 'very keen' stage - which hopefully he will stay in! But, if he does have a bit of a dip, half a day out of school every week could become a real bind for him, and turn him away from the piano.

He's still young, and at this age, 'clever' children can do very well very fast, without necessarily being amazingly musical - it would be a shame if his development didn't continue at this rate and he was not allowed to continue on the scheme.

PLEASE don't think I'm denigrating your son, it sounds like he's doing really well, but I think at his age and stage it's best to be relaxed and go with the flow, rather than rushing to be 'gifted' - presumably he could do the audition next year? And by then you would have more of an idea of how much piano was going to feature in his life, whether he was going to get tired of it, or whether he was going to plateau etc. And music is very easy to get extra opportunities - he can play in assembly at school for example.

Musicians' egos are notoriously fragile - would be good not to start your son off with a potential knock, and he has got LOADS of time ahead of him!

LilyBolero Tue 09-Nov-10 10:35:58

Just to add, it's purely because he's only been playing a short while that I would be cautious, a year or so in and it is a different ball game!

domesticsluttery Tue 09-Nov-10 10:43:22

<faints at Grade 3 at 8>

DS1 is 8 and just about to do his ABRSM Prep Test which is stressful enough!

LilyBolero Tue 09-Nov-10 11:57:16

Dd has her cello prep test tomorrow! <I did go VERY fast on piano - did grade 1 at 7, 3 at 8, 5 at 9, 7 at 11 and 8 at just turned 13, and it has become my career!>

domesticsluttery Tue 09-Nov-10 12:07:11

Good Luck to your DD!

DS1's prep test (piano) is on the 1st of December.

LilyBolero Tue 09-Nov-10 12:16:07

and good luck to him too! The prep test is nice, there is no pass/fail element and is designed to encourage them, whilst giving some feedback.

PixieOnaLeaf Tue 09-Nov-10 12:17:57

Message withdrawn

domesticsluttery Tue 09-Nov-10 12:19:38

DS1 is a natural born worrier, so he is stressed about it already. I am dreading him starting proper Grade exams.

snorkie Fri 12-Nov-10 23:09:46

It will be fine domesticsluttery! I fully expect he will enjoy himself once he gets going. I have been a music exam steward and seen nervous littl'uns going in looking very anxious and coming out beaming numerous times. DS is doing his grade 8 cello on the same day so I shall send them both good vibes. He is feeling happy it's his last music exam (except maybe piano diploma), but it honestly seems hardly any time since he was starting out too which is a really scary thought.

OP I think it sounds like a great opportunity for your ds as long as he is keen to pick up a couple of new instruments - 3 is a big commitment for any child in terms of the practice required. I don't think the scheme would put him off piano, I assume in the half day they would give a normal length lesson on each instrument, do some singing, theory and ensemble work, so it wouldn't be any/much more piano than he does already, but a lot of other musical things which he may or may not enjoy, but if he does then it's a fantastic way to extend an evidently bright child and could bring him a lot of pleasuure. Why not let him apply and if successful try it out and see?

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