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Am I silly being miffed that my DD wasn't offered music lessons?

(60 Posts)
bringbackopalfruits Wed 02-Nov-16 21:19:40

My DD is in year 2, and I've just found out that some of her class mates have been offered violin lessons. At the moment I don't know anything re: the criteria for who was offered, and will look into it. But, I'm just feeling very annoyed at the moment that lessons weren't offered to all.
Is this standard in schools, that some children would be picked out for this kind of activity? It'd be good to know how to approach this with the school (which I'm very keen to do but in a calm reasonable way!)

irvineoneohone Wed 02-Nov-16 21:54:47

Our school doesn't advertise music lessons(maybe due to limited slot?), so I didn't know they had them until I asked the school office.

nennyrainbow Wed 02-Nov-16 21:58:01

Could it be a rota? Maybe they don't have enough violins to teach the whole class at once. Is it being done in a group?

daisydalrymple Wed 02-Nov-16 22:07:37

Our school offers music lessons to all in year four. Supposedly free choice, but in reality limited numbers for each instrument so they try to slot pupils in to balance numbers. Ds1 requested six string, came home with a letter for totally different instrument. Music teacher tried to pass it off as his friends were doing the other instrument so he'd prefer it, but I had to say that as we had to pay for these lessons, he needed to be doing the instrument of his choice.

They're obviously very short on harp players as dd (year 3) came home saying she'd passed the test and been chosen to play harp. Cue much congratulations, then a two hour delay before she remembered the letter about it, which also set out the hefty fee. As it happened, she decided it was too tricky (clashed with break time...) and didn't want to do it. So it may be similar in that the teachers may have given all pupils a go during music class or similar, then offered the opportunity to those who showed talent. Year two seems quite young for genuine enthusiasm and the dedication the music teacher seems to require I feel though!

foresttrees2 Wed 02-Nov-16 22:12:27

When I was at at school a very long time ago, the class was all taken one at a time into a room and i remember being asked to sing some notes that were played on a piano. Then the people that did well were given violin lessons. I didn't get that, my parents got a letter saying I wasn't suitable.... I was pretty sad about that.
I was lucky enough that my parents got me piano lessons, which was amazing but a piano is not quite as transportable or convenient as a violin!
I hope its better how they select kids for lessons now!

Greenifer Wed 02-Nov-16 22:13:24

I was offered free violin lessons at your daughter's age. They asked who was interested and got us to sing a song each (presumably to see if we were able to tell what was in tune and what not, without which you will not get v far on the violin). Perhaps the music teacher has picked those who he or she feels are likely to have the aptitude to actually make something out of it? He or she will have had plenty of opportunity to observe the children in Y2 and decide which of them have an aptitude for music.

There is nothing to stop you getting music lessons for your daughter out of school if you feel she might benefit from them and enjoy them. I think most local authorities run a low-cost music scheme of some kind, at least ours does - DD gets instrument lessons for about £10 per lesson which is about a third of the cost of lessons elsewhere, and there is a scheme for those who cannot afford this amount.

There have been music clubs at our school where only some children were invited to attend. Ours was keyboard/piano and the music teacher picked children who she thought would really benefit and be likely to take it further. I know how she picked as she is a personal friend.

Did she actually want violin lessons? It's a massive commitment and requires daily practice and a lot of personal grit if a child of that age is to actually get good at it. It's not actually fun for anyone who doesn't really really want to do it. I speak as a violinist here! If she would really really like to do it, perhaps you could speak to the music teacher and see how the selection was done and make him or her aware of your DD's interest. I wouldn't be surprised if some children dropped out as it really is very difficult in the beginner stages.

GinIsIn Wed 02-Nov-16 22:13:36

When I was at primary school about half a millennia ago, it was aptitude tested - could it be that?

TreehouseTales Wed 02-Nov-16 22:17:01

Our school doesn't offer until year 3 (and then its not the harp! Its piano/clarinet/violin/flute). I don't think they've ever turned people down as its an area where take up is low anyway.

COuld it be pupil premium related? Those on pupil premium get free lessons here.

Greenifer Wed 02-Nov-16 22:17:29

Also, you may find that children are given the opportunity to play instruments in other ways. For instance, at our school all children in Y3 do recorder once a week, all in Y4 do guitar, all in Y5 do ukulele etc. For a child who is not especially keen, these are all better options than the violin.

sn1ce Wed 02-Nov-16 22:19:52

Could it be that the school are using pupil premium money to target particular children?

flupcake Wed 02-Nov-16 22:21:03

At the DCs school anyone can do music lessons that wants to. It should be open to everyone. All children can benefit from and enjoy learning an instrument, not just those that have natural aptitude.

OdinsLoveChild Wed 02-Nov-16 22:24:55

My DS school do tests to see who would benefit the most from music lessons. Those who pass the test get offered an instrument those that don't can go on a waiting list for when someone drops out (more than half usually). We also have the option of paying for the lessons ourselves if we want them.
Ask the school how they have worked it out. It maybe as some pp have said that those on pupil premium get priority.

Greenifer Wed 02-Nov-16 22:25:38

All children can and should benefit from learning an instrument, IMO. But the violin is not a good choice for someone who doesn't have at least some natural musicality and a strong interest in music. It is really difficult in the beginning stages.

irvineoneohone Wed 02-Nov-16 22:25:44

Same here, anyone who asks can get it, as long as teacher has open slot, but it's not free lesson.

SillySongsWithLarry Wed 02-Nov-16 22:28:16

Our school offers music lessons to anyone who pays. No pay no lesson. DD learns flute for £7.50 per week 15 minute 1-1 session.

bringbackopalfruits Wed 02-Nov-16 22:28:44

As someone who is not musical at all I am coming from a totally ignorant perspective, I admit. Do they check for aptitude? It's not a free school meal issue, that I know. Is it wrong to expect the school to be transparent about what is on offer to SOME children if they show interest / aptitude etc? it's then easier for a parent to explain to their child about why they didn't get chosen...

BantyCustards Wed 02-Nov-16 22:31:51

Meh, free state school music lessons are pointless IME. If your child wants to learn an instrument then get private lessons.

catkind Wed 02-Nov-16 22:32:25

Could be they've selected some out for violin lessons based on ability shown in music lessons, or it could be pupil premium or something. Is it definitely offered out of the blue not something parents have chosen and paid for? Many schools have teachers coming in that you can sign up and pay for lessons with.

It's very likely they will all get a chance to learn something at some point. At our school the whole class does recorder in year 3 and flute or clarinet in year 4.

Abetes Wed 02-Nov-16 22:33:11

When I was at secondary school, they did a listening test in music lessons to work out who had the best sense of pitch. By sheer utter guess work I was top of the year so got free music lessons and the loan of an instrument. The school was in an area of deprivation and it was a scheme to get poor children into music. I wanted to learn oboe but got sent home with a cello.....

RandomDent Wed 02-Nov-16 22:37:50

Be grateful. You won't have to listen to her practising at home.

TreehouseTales Wed 02-Nov-16 22:39:35

Banty - our state school music lessons arent free. It was something like 10-15 for half an hour (cant remember exactly.) Are they useless? I hope not as its a lot of money to us.

I didnt realise people were talking free!

Greenifer Wed 02-Nov-16 22:43:11

Yes, they should have explained why/how they picked. Especially if it is free. Did your daughter want to do the lessons? If she has a strong interest, it may be worth looking into your local area's music schemes and seeing if something affordable is available. But if she isn't very interested and if she doesn't want to do it off her own bat (rather than because other children are doing it) then I would really advise that you don't pick a string instrument such as violin or cello. Something like piano/keyboard, recorder, guitar, ukulele would be a better choice. They are not easier at a high level but they are a lot easier and less stressful in the early stages.

DD does state school music lessons, btw, and is progressing really well. There are no free lessons where we are. The music trust provides a brilliant teacher for not much money and she is doing really well on piano and violin. I don't agree that you need to have private lessons at primary age. I had the same deal and ended up pretty good at the violin (had private lessons at secondary level but was way beyond grade 5 by the time I left primary).

catkind Wed 02-Nov-16 22:44:52

Sorry x post, not pupil premium then.

No schools really don't go out and tell you about every special event some children were involved in but yours wasn't. Sounds like a recipe for competitive parenting. Over their school life there will probably be loads - academic events, exhibitions, music, sport, drama.

If they express an interest in something I'd just say - oh did you want to try the violin? and look into lessons if they do.

Ilovewillow Wed 02-Nov-16 22:45:50

Our infant and junior school very much encourage music and offer lessons in a wide range of instruments. For lessons you have to pay but they are open to all. In yr 3 everyone learns the recorder, and a different instrument each yr. they have an active orchestra open to all provided they have played an instrument for two yrs! It's really inclusive as it should be!

Greenifer Wed 02-Nov-16 22:46:20

If your kids are having music lessons, whether free, state, private or anything else, the main thing that matters at primary level is the willingness to do daily practice at home. A child who practises and has an interest will do well.

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