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Are any of your 6 year olds learning a musical instrument at school, and do they practice regularly?

(29 Posts)
sandyballs Mon 02-Jul-07 11:52:29

One of my 6 year old DDs wants to learn to play the violin. It's quite expensive to pay for lessons - they have them once a week during their lunch break. I keep thinking she's too young and won't practice or keep it up after I've paid up.

LucyLamb Mon 02-Jul-07 11:56:38

If you can aford to I think you should let her try it - if she doesn't practice or take to it you can always drop it again. But if you don't try her you may have missed a big talent !

My dd is starting piano lessons next term (she'll be almost 7) and I just think if they are keen and you can afford it - you have to let them try !

One of my biggest regrets is that I never found my "thing" so I am trying to let my dd try out as many things as poss in the hope she will find her "thing" early enough to make use of it !

sykes Mon 02-Jul-07 12:00:06

My dd started at six, nearly seven, she wanted to start the year before but I made her wait to make sure she really wanted to play the violin. She has been playing for almost a year and practices about four times a week, maybe five. She practices before school - I find it's the best time. My other dd wants to play as well but I'm making her wait until she's six. My elder dd loves it but the deal is if she doesn't practice her lessons stop.

alycat Mon 02-Jul-07 12:01:38

My dd started violin when 6, she has 45 mins lesson plus 20-30 mins at home twice a week. Which imho is all they need at this age. With piano I would say up to 10mins a day practice.

The important thing with a violin is getting the correct size, most schools only offer a 1/2 size which is way too big for your average sized 6 yr old. My dd is very big for her age and was measured as a 1/4 by the shop. The wrong size may be too cumbersome and give poor position and arm ache!

MegaLegs Mon 02-Jul-07 12:07:51

DS1 has been doing the cello for a year. He was 6 when he started. He has played the piano for a year and a half and appears to have a natural musical talent (not sure where from)

He doesn't practice his cello as much as he should but as he wants to carry on I'm going to buy him a music stand and a cello stand so it's easier to get at. (We have to keep it out of reach of DS4 at the moment.) He practices piano everyday without being asked (as does DS2 just 6)

maisym Mon 02-Jul-07 12:09:30

my dd is learning the piano and loves it. Make time for practise - before school works well for my dd.

GirlySwot Mon 02-Jul-07 14:59:47

Much good advice so far.

My son started when he was about to turn 6 and is coming to the end of his third year. I would say that a 6 year old doesn't know what they are taking on when they embark on learning an instument and that you may have to take responsibility for ensuring practice happens - make it routine, aim for daily practice, we also do it before school, use incentives if necessary. Playing in concerts and later on in orchestra can really spur them on.

The violin is difficult and progress can be slow but my son has gained a lot from doing it in both personal pride and confidence. I think it does him good to really have to work at something over the long term in order to see results.

The comment about size is important: my son started on 1/8! I couldn't quite believe it, he moved up to a 1/4 a year later and soon will need a 1/2 - rental can be a good option if its available to you.

Believe in your child, I can still remember asking my Mum if I could join Brownies - she said "No, I'll buy the uniform and then you won't want to go anymore" - that must have been thirty years ago, needless to say I never had music lessons either.

Good Luck

roisin Mon 02-Jul-07 18:00:21

DS1 started piano lessons a few months before he was 7. I insisted that he did at least 5 mins practice twice a day as a minimum: short but often is the key for making early progress IMO, and it gets them into good early routines. If they practise every day as the routine, then there are no arguments - they just get on with it.

In the event ds2 was soon choosing to play for far longer than the 5 mins I specified.

At first I had to always sit with him when he was playing, and it was quite intensive input from me. But now (he's 8) he only needs close guidance when he's note-learning a new piece.

(It is more difficult with a violin though as you have to get it out, tighten up the bow, tune it, etc.)

marialuisa Mon 02-Jul-07 18:48:17

yes, DD started violin in Jan, just before she turned 6. We had a talk before starting lessons about practice (she'd been asking to play for ages) and we have an agreed minimum of 10 mins a day but she now plays for much longer voluntarily. The violin is really hard work and not very rewarding at first but DD has got on well with it, she is starting harp lessons in September.

Peachy Mon 02-Jul-07 18:52:26

DS1 is seven now but satrted violin at six- he's a nightmare to get to practice ina ll honesty but he does enjoy playing and as such its worth it. just signed him up for lessons at juniors, so it ahd better be as we pay there LOL

tortoiseSHELL Mon 02-Jul-07 18:53:44

Ds1 has been doing violin since September (he's just turned 6), and he does practise because I insist that he does. He also does piano with me at home, and he does his practice for that without me telling him. The practice is imperative, if they don't it's a total waste of time and money.

Peachy Mon 02-Jul-07 18:54:25

Wegot a violin (1/4) oj ebay- there are somemusic shops on there, i checked it with YG on here who teaches (iirc). Its bl;ue (they do pink, ilac etc) which makes him happier to play- cost about £50 all in I giess, althougha s it will pass to Ds2 thats OK

Twiglett Mon 02-Jul-07 18:57:21

a violin

a 6 year old


get ear muffs

coffeepot Mon 02-Jul-07 19:33:29

Dd begged for piano lessons at 6 (nearly 7) having previously shown little interest in music. I said she could if she promised to practice. She did and she has practices
every day - I have never had to ask her. Just having the instrument out and available all the time seems to be enough. She can play for five or ten minutes whenever she feels like it (usually several times a day).

If she is keen I would give it a go. You might need those earplugs though!

Beetroot Mon 02-Jul-07 19:38:11

All mine learn an instrument (well two actually) They started at 6. This is how I got them to practice -

1. practice for 5 mins everyday (at 6)
2 10p for every practice and if they do 6 per week they get a pound.
3. Keep it on a chart.

You should supervise

Tell her if she is going to try it out then she has to commit to one term at least. But first sort out a try out session.

Make sure she is having one to one lessons. Anymore than that is useless.

Good Luck - I now have four kids playing. Oldest who is 13 has grade 5 in 3 instruments

Beetroot Mon 02-Jul-07 19:39:03

Practice before school.

portonovo Mon 02-Jul-07 21:13:22

I don't think it would harm her to start at 6, but equally I don't think it is necessary or that any later starters are doomed musically speaking.

Unfortunately, many of the children I know who have started very early (7 or under say), have given it up within a few years or even sooner, whereas those who have started instruments aged 10 or over seem more enthusiastic and committed, and to progress very quickly indeed.

Two of mine play instruments so far. One is almost at Grade 8 standard after just over 2 years, the other about Grade 5 standard after a year and a half.

Someone said shared lessons are a waste of time. Well, yes and no. One to one is definitely better, but often group lessons let the child get a feel for an instrument at low cost. For example, at our primary school lessons are £40 a term, usually shared although my son was the only one in the school playing that instrument so he still got an individual lesson. At secondary school, there is a huge leap to £120 a term, albeit one to one.

Everyone here seems to recommend practising before school - they obviously all live in detached houses or have deaf neighbours! My children can play the digital piano using headphones, but I really don't think a burst on the saxophone would go down well at 7.30 in the morning!

Peachy Mon 02-Jul-07 21:42:27

portnovo it depends on the system- at ds's school they get free lessons for a year (year2) followed by heavily subsidised- and its ahrd to start later (not one to one, one to four I think which isnt ideal but anything else way out of mosts poeples affordability)

RosaLuxembourg Tue 03-Jul-07 10:22:57

DD1 started violin at six. Practice has varied in regularity but she has been doing well and enjoys it. DD2 started the cello this year (also six). She doesn't practice as much but teacher doesn't want her to practice more than twice a week anyway at the moment. Violin is definitely a very steep learning curve, but three years on, DD1 is seeing the benefits of persistance.

Loshad Tue 03-Jul-07 11:06:30

Good practice advice beety, my DS4 has just started the classical guitar at 6 (1/2 sized) - none of the others started an instrument in Y1, the oldest 2 were in Y4 and the next in Y3. It's taken me a few weeks to realise that he doesn't remember to practice on his own and that I have to remind him - though he's quite happy to do it when i do the reminding.

bosscat Tue 03-Jul-07 11:10:26

Good advice beetroot. ds1 is 5 and gets suzuki violin lessons outisde the school because they won't let him start till 7. He actually likes playing but the practice supposed to be 10 mins a day is a nightmare. He throws himself about the room, giggles like a maniac, holds it in the wrong position on purpose and just messes around. I never thought about paying him. He'd do it in a heartbeat for chocolate or money actually. Going to do a chart right now x

Azure Tue 03-Jul-07 11:15:11

DS1 started the guitar (1/4 size) in January when he was 5.5 but it's been impossible to make him do any practice. He already does reading everyday (which is like pulling teeth - but that's another story) and spelling and so I haven't insisted on guitar practice as well. Unfortunately I feel it's been a waste of money as a result. I'm really keen he learns the piano (and have noted all the tips above) but have decided to leave it for a couple of terms in the hope that he'll be more enthusiastic.

pyjamaqueen Tue 03-Jul-07 11:21:13

It's not too young, if he wants to do it. To be honest, the later the start, the quicker they progress (in many cases anyway), but as violins come in small sizes, there's nothing to lose by letting him try.

Peachy Tue 03-Jul-07 11:45:45

Tried a morning practice todaya nd he was much mroe up for it, in the evenings he just wants to crash.

So thank you!

Have been discussing instruments with ds2 as he would need to start next year- have decided that as he is less co-ordinated will do reocrded next year and flute thereafter.

Rosefairy Tue 03-Jul-07 13:18:53

Peachy, could you tell me which site you got your violin from as I have been looking everywhere for a 1/2 size blue one for my DD and none of my local music shops sell them. Are you happy with it? Thanks

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