Music practice driving me nuts!!!!(21 Posts)
Parents of musical children.... anyone else ready to throw in the towel??? Not sure how much more moodiness / attitude I can take! We seem to be in this endless cycle of tears and tantrums (me and them!) and I'm starting to question whether it's really worth it. DD is 9 and doing very well on violin but has so much potential! But she should be doing at least an hour of practice every day now and we waste so much time arguing.... she can't bear any criticism, no matter how positively put. But if I leave her to practice independently it's just a total waste of time! She doesn't fix mistakes - just glosses over and plays on through. She's just not a details girl and I know she's only 9 yrs old but playing grade 5+ repertoire she can't just cross her toes and hope for the best! I fear this endless negativity is going to ruin our relationship and hate that I'm turning into a pushy 'tiger mum', but on the other hand, we all want our kids to fulfil their potential, right??
I think I would relax off. I prefer to nurture a life long love of music. They can continue doing grades well into their adulthood.
I know at least 3 people that reached grade 8 by the time they were 16 on violin and piano and never ever picked it up again once they got to grade 8. In fact they absolurely refuse to touch the instruments again. They have to want it achieve themselves.
Are you aiming for a music scholarship for secondary?
Thing is she does want it... or at least she says she does. When I say it's time to stop because this is no good for either of us, I'm 'taking away her dreams'!
No, not aiming for music scholarship, but she's in NCO regional orchestra this year and desperately wants to stay there - the standard is so high!
Also not helped by her 2 BFF's being even more advanced so she has a skewed perception of normality and thinks she's not very good...
All a big pressure cooker 😫
You have my dd(10) I think...adores her lessons, loves performing, willnot let me near practice so doesn't correct stuff...I'm trying to just let it happen for now - huge arguments won't help anyone!
Oh and yes - one of her friends was g7 aged 8, there's at least 4 in the year above who are grade8 on multiple instruments so dd doesn't realise she is doing pretty well!
My dd was like this, they don't understand about having to go over things to get them right.
I know you probably gave her grade as an indication of her level, but I'd advise leaving the exams for a bit and letting her just play what she wants, when she wants to.
They aren't important in the scheme of things, it's far more beneficial to them if they can play lots of repertoire, maybe compose a few songs, even if they don't sound very musical.
Don't criticise even positively unless you are teaching her and just take a back seat and let it come from her.
Your relationship will be far better if you do.
Yes, gave grade just as an indication - leaving her teacher set the pace in that respect! No exams planned at the moment, she just has a huge amount of material to get through for practice now. Thanks all and Petra... good to know I'm not alone 😂
An hour is a long time at 9 - does she do it all in one block? I would start with that - maybe even only doing 15 minutes at once. It's easy to get bored doing practice so then it's easier to play stuff through.
Does her teacher tell her what to practice? Maybe you could ask them to write in a notebook what to practice and then she can feel she has achieved something each time she practises as she's ticked something off?
Yes, teacher very clear on what she needs to practice - at the moment she has about 6 scales plus arpeggios, 6 technical studies / exercises, vibrato exercises, 3 performance pieces and the tricky passages from the NCO repertoire. Then there's piano and theory....We simply can't get through it all every day! I work so we only have the time between school and bed so it's hard to break down in to smaller chunks. She normally does piano in the mornings before school with little or no intervention and we do violin after school but she's tired by then. May try swapping things around and do some of the harder stuff in the morning while she's still fresh. I also have to factor my younger daughter in, she's on cello and piano but is still at the beginner stage so there's nothing like as much to do.
My dh and dd music teachers recommend not working on one thing for more than 5 mins before playing something else.
So work on a section of a piece, a few bars if need be and practice getting it right, not a million times during an hour wrong.
Then a scale or two, work on them until regularly playing them without mistakes.
You can do this for 15 mins then come back and do another 15 mins later.
Each time not working on one thing for more than 5 mins.
The improvement is great and noticeable from the start, even if it's just mastering a particular part of a piece.
No 9 year old needs to practice for an hour a day. Two x 15 minutes proper practice a day saw all mine through Grade 8.
I think 1 hour is too much at her age. Too much pressure could make her not want to continue as it may make her hate playing..
An hour seems an awful lot for a 9 year old. I ask my DD (not as advanced as yours but with a real love of music, similar age) to try to practise intelligently. So don't just play everything and think that is enough, pick the things that you know you need to improve and practise with attention. This is what I used to do as a musically talented child and it got me quite a long way (as far as I wanted to take it). It is better to practise for twenty or thirty minutes with real care and attention than two hours if you are just going through the motions. And I never did an hour's practice, not even for Grade 8 (but I did very well and got high marks in the exam). I think just thinking intelligently about what you need to improve (and how) before you start practising will actually get a lot better results in the long run than just going in blindly with a long slog ahead of you.
Agree with the others, an hour a day is a lot to expect at her age. I would seriously question its necessity at grade 5 standard either. 6 technical studies sounds extreme, one or two a week would be better, 6 sounds like too many different things for anyone to focus on, let alone a 9 yr old. And I wouldn't aim to practice the orchestral excerpts every day. The rest should be do-able in half an hour.
Perhaps you do need to let her do it herself and take the shtick from her teacher for a few weeks so she learns how to practice efficiently. How about giving her a tick list of specific things to do to give a bit of guidance but then stepping back?
An hour is too long,sounds like she needs to learn some good practice techniques.
FWIW I'm a professional violinist and never liked practising!
I'm going to add to the "an hour a day is too long at this age" crowd.
15 minutes at a time max.
Another one here who says an hour a day at 9 is ridiculous. About half an hour of calm, focused practice is plenty.
I had a break built in to my learning at just slightly after that stage - I got very stale and miserable at grade 5, didn't want to practice, and conveniently switched teachers, so she took one listen and said 'no'. I skipped taking grade 5 entirely (did do the theory) and spent the next year and a half building a repertoire and just playing for fun - playing jazz violin, folk songs, modern pieces, anything really. No scales etc, but plenty of new techniques built in by accident to all the new styles. It took the pressure right off, and when we decided it was time to start work on grade six, I was totally refreshed and found practicing 'seriously' much easier! A lot of the techniques etc I'd practiced came in really handy for orchestral playing and the later grades too, so it was productive in a more creative way (she will still be learning things which will keep her 'up to standard' as it were). Worth talking to her teacher about?
I also agree that an hour is too long at that age - the focus won't be there for it to be productive even if you can force her to do it.
Incidentally, might she be more motivated if she was doing grades? One of mine loved doing music exams and loved working towards them. The other hated them and just wanted to play.
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