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Do you think it's worthwhile to "force" children to continue playing an instrument, even when they go through a not so keen phase?

(95 Posts)
emkana Fri 22-May-09 22:24:04

Dd1 started playing the violin at the beginning of Yr 2 and really liked it.

Now she's coming to the end of Yr 3 she's not so keen because none of her friends are doing it and she sometimes misses playtime. She's sort of okay to carry on with the lessons, but really wants to stop orchestra which is on for an hour after school on Friday.

I want her to continue both lessons and orchestra. Am I wrong to make her?

hatwoman Fri 22-May-09 22:30:18

I think it depends a lot on the child and the circumstances, the reasons for the change of heart etc. I made a big mistake with dd1 - she was having piano lessons and didn;t like the teacher...I kept thinking that perhaps she'd change her mind, then I thought that we'd keep going til christmas ('twas a few weeks away) and if she was still of the same mind stop...but unbeknown to me she felt really strongly - she took matters in her own hands and was deliberately so rude to the teacher that he resigned....what's worse is that I've put her off for life - and she refuses to try another teacher. not quite the same situation as you - but I guess I'm saying that I think you need to really read the situation well, maybe reach a compromise...but perhaps someone more musical will have other suggestions...good luck!

paisleyleaf Fri 22-May-09 22:30:48

I think she has to want to
but could you get her some inspiration so she wants to again
Don't know what for her, but something like Riverdance band, Little Johnny England etc take her to a show/gig whatever you think

snigger Fri 22-May-09 22:30:55

I'm interested in what people say on this thread, as I played the flute till my perpetual whinging wore my mum down to the point that she let me give it up - and I bitterly regret it.

I want DD 1 & 2 to learn something, but would be interested to see whether 'forcing' is fair and reasonable or just me projecting my James Galway fantasies.

GivePeasAChance Fri 22-May-09 22:32:31

I agree with snigger. I was violin, orchestra and grade 8 very young. And just gave up. I wish my parents had insisted I keep my finger in.

hatwoman Fri 22-May-09 22:32:58

one consolation is that I;ve heard it said that learning an instrument is something you can do at virtually any age - and certainly well into teens - it's not like some things where there's a childhood window of opportunity

Hassled Fri 22-May-09 22:33:14

The problem is you can't tell whether it's "just a phase" or whether your DC genuinely hates it and will never have any musical aptitude. And you do need some sort of innate talent - practice helps, but you need more.

Cadelaide Fri 22-May-09 22:33:32

I wouldn't make her go to orchestra, maybe encourage her to carry on with the lessons for a bit.

If you make her she'll just end up loathing it, imagine her telling all her friends when she's in her twenties; "Oh I can't stand the violin, I was made to have lessons for years, I hated it".

I do understand though, I'm very keen for my 3 to make music. DD fancies the clarinet, she's also Y3, I think we'll start in Sept. I do think Y3 is still pretty young, there's plenty of time.

hatwoman Fri 22-May-09 22:33:37

(so givespeas and snigger - you could start again!)

PaulaYatesBiggestFan Fri 22-May-09 22:34:02

i was forced as a child to play

let mine give up when they moaned

one was 16 one 12 one 10

emkana Fri 22-May-09 22:34:17

Her violin teacher tells me that dd is talented, which makes me even more reluctant to let her give it up.

hatwoman Fri 22-May-09 22:35:36

hassled - I;ve read otherwise re innate talent - some reckon that with the right enironment and the right instrument virtually anyone can play to a decent - ie enjoyable - standard.

pointydog Fri 22-May-09 22:40:54

I think it's far more important that you encourage her to keep up the lessons if possible. She's young. I can understand not wanting to give up one whole hour after school on a Friday to teh orchestra.

If she keeps up the lessons, she can start playing in orchestras etc in high school where they become much more of a social grouping as well as musical.

snigger Fri 22-May-09 22:41:39


I'd like to make the sweet music and all, but I'm not sure I can handle shaking free all the condensation and drool - that part was certainly much easier at 13.

Maybe I should work on being a good example...

Hassled Fri 22-May-09 22:41:40

Oh dear blush. I've blown it then with DD - suspected she had no basic ability and allowed her to quit. Plus, I couldn't bear the sound of the badly-played violin for a second longer.

bookswapper Fri 22-May-09 22:41:45

I played from early primary school, 4 orchestras a week...I was forced to carry on mainly by guilt-tripping...I played through secondary school and have never even opened the case since the day I left school.

And I would never out my son through that...especially as the same music teacher is still there (and I am old!)

pointydog Fri 22-May-09 22:47:28

I think anyone could play an instrument but it's very hard work for some. sOME PEOPLE do have a musical talent, I think, which makes playing music very enjoyable for them

LyraSilvertongue Fri 22-May-09 22:49:19

I regret giving up the violin when it got inconvenient. I wish my mum had encouraged me to continue.

emkana Fri 22-May-09 22:53:02

<head explodes>

it's pretty much 50- 50 innit?

Does that mean - gasp - that I'll have to make up my own mind? shock

Pyrocanthus Fri 22-May-09 22:53:56

Perhaps compromise and let her ditch the orchestra for now? She might want to go back to it later. Friday pm's a desperate time for an acitivity you're not too keen on - it might put her off completely.

Does your LEA music service run any groups that she might enjoy? My dds go to free strings groups on Saturday mornings, with children of similar ages and abilities, so it's quite social, with music at right level for all (not always the case with our school orchestra). I appreciate that funding of local music services varies wildly though... Her teacher should know what's available.

My older dd has enjoyed the motivation of working for grade exams: preparing for grade 1 in year 4 got her over a bored hump, and she's now scraping out her grade 3 pieces with a fair amount of enthusiasm. Not sure my younger dd will be so keen on the exams - more likely to get worried about not doing well, but she enjoys playing.

pointydog Fri 22-May-09 22:54:26

Let her carry on with lessons.

Let her drop orchestra.

Then you are seen as a reaosnable, listening parent and she doesn't give up all teh opportunties it could offer her at high school.

luvoneson Fri 22-May-09 22:54:43

I think if she does not want the lessons any more why persue the matter. You say you want her to continue with the 2 lessons and orch. With respect why do you want her to continue when you does not want to. Most children who have musical instrument lessons give up at some stage when they are young anyway and does it benefit them when they are older? of course it is lovely to learn to play an instrument but its not the end of the world if she wants to give up.

cory Sat 23-May-09 00:13:10

it depends on the child

some children just go through phases of wanting to drop things/getting bored the moment they hit a new difficulty

my dd is like this and has needed a lot of prodding to carry on even with activities that she loves

there is nothing she won't moan about when she is tired/in a bad mood

other children are persevering when they really care about something- so worth listening to when they say they don't

snorkle Sat 23-May-09 01:21:26

It's a really good question - possibly one with no generally right answer.

I think the fact her friends have all stopped isn't helpful - peer pressure can be a strong motivator.

With my dcs and music one's never wanted to give up & the other was so adamant she wanted to stop it we let her stop quite quickly, but, with swimming they have both oscillated between liking it, tolerating it, disliking it and liking it again over the years & have been through phases of scaling back their training to the bare minimum & then a few months later deciding they want to do every session possible for a while. So children can and do change their minds and so it's worth persisting for a while (without forcing things too badly).

Putting orchestra on hold for a while could be a good idea, but it is worth exploring what it is she dislikes about it at the moment. Is it just the absense of friends? If so try to cultivate some new ones. Is it that the music is too hard/easy? If so, see if there are any alternative groups available or if she can move from firsts to second violins (or vice versa). Is it the Friday afternoon timing? Not sure there's much you can do about that (except make sure she doesn't fill the time with anything else too fun if she does have a break). It could be that a simple a thing like sitting next to someone else would do the trick, so talk to orchestra organiser & see what they say.

Do talk to the teacher too & see if there's anything she can do to motivate her through a difficult patch too. Maybe you could take her to see some inspirational live music to get her fired up?

bloss Sat 23-May-09 07:09:54

Message withdrawn

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