Playing an instrument - how long until they give up?(13 Posts)
Just wondering... Obviously not all kids who start an instrument continue to grade 8, but how far do most go before they stop? DS1 seems to have come to a standstill. He's been playing for 3yrs and got up to grade 5, which is fab, but right now it all seems too much bother for him and causes loads of rows (hmmm, typical 11-yr-old). I'm wondering if all the £££s it's cost so far, and the fact that it's only going to get alot harder at grade 6 and above (btw, he has 6 grades of theory to catch up with first) makes it worth continuing much longer, esp as he starts secondary school in Sept. Or will he regret it later on? Your advice would be really welcome - thanks!
One of my dc played piano for about a year and viola for about 3 years before giving up, the other still plays both piano & cello (been going about 7 and 5 years respectively). I asked myself this very question around the time I had to shell out for an expensive new cello. At the time I decided personality and peers are likely to be the biggest factors. I always thought ds continued because all his friends did more than any great innate musicianship of his own, but as time has progressed (although I can't deny his very musical friends are a huge influence) I'm coming around to thinking maybe he is quite musical after all.
YOu don't say what your ds plays? Can he join an orchestra/band to keep his interest up? - I'd say that's the most likely thing to keep him wanting to learn especially if his friends are going along too. The theory is a pain and I can see it might put lots of people off, but you don't necessarily have to follow the exam route or if you want to it is possible to do a different board where you don't need the grade 5 theory.
Grade 5 always seemed to be the break point when I was learning. People don't fancy the theory paper and you do have to practise a bit more seriously.
But to get to grade 5 in 3 years seems pretty good going, so it would a shame if he jacked it in now.
Perhaps concentrate on making it a social activity, rather than something to work on for exams. What kept me going was playing in orchestras and so on, it's supposed to be for pleasure.
What instrument is he playing?
Thanks for the replies; playing for fun or just socially wouldn't work with DS - he's simply not driven (or interested) enough to do it by himself, even though he knows he's blardy good at it. I'm hoping he'll join a band at school and meet other boys (he plays the trumpet, btw) that inspire him. BTW, how have your kids managed fitting in the exams and theory practice with schoolwork at secondary school?
Trumpet is an ace instrument for choice of places to play: all sorts of orchestras, jazz bands, brass bands etc, etc.. I hope he finds something that appeals - I guess if he doesn't then it probably really isn't for him, but he might regret giving it up when he's older if he does.
Ds was allowed to work on his grade 5 theory (and started grade 6 after he'd done 5) during music lessons in year 7 for one lesson a week when the others were doing more basic stuff. He only did grade 5 theory, I think a lot of people don't sit the exams for the earlier ones, but of course you still have to know the work for them. He worked through all (or most) of the ABRSM theory books for grades 1-5 which were time consuming and tedious. He found the book "Take 5 and pass first time" helpful. He was quite motivated to do it though - if your ds isn't it will be a real slog and I'd be very tempted to consider Trinity Guildhall exams for 6+ instead.
He won't have to do all of the theory exams btw, just work through the theory and then do his grade 5 exam if he wants to do ABRSM practical exams. He doesn't need to pass his theory to do the Trinity or London College of Music exams. He could also look at doing the jazz ABRSM grade 5 exam , it has improvisation and is a bit more relaxed than the classical exams.
Now he's done his grade 5 it's the perfect time for him to join a band, he could certainly cope with the repertoire in a schools brass band or big band. The standard he's reached means that he should be able to play really good fun pieces of "real" music rather than pieces written specifically for technique or exams. Maybe take him to a music shop and get him to choose a good book with a backing cd he can have fun playing along with.this
it will be good for him to have an escape from the study at secondary school and the trumpet playing will be something he can always enjoy, let him take a break from lessons if he likes but try and keep up his interest by letting him listen to some good trumpeters and buying him the occassional new book, maybe he'll decide to go back to lessons in his own time.
Riven - confidence is a major issue with DS's playing; when it's going well he's a star, enjoys what he plays and the trumpet 'sings', but when he's tense it sounds awful and he throws a strop. This has happened alot lately!
Snorkle & idontbelieveit - playing jazz is an excellent idea. Thanks for be book reccs, will order them asap! They might be just the thing to get him through 6 weeks of holiday practice without seeing his teacher (who is fantastic, another good reason to continue). Theory in school time sounds ideal (and not doing all 6 grades is a big relief) - must ask at school in September. Feeling much more positive about it all - thanks!!!!
Some of the numbers in the jazz book might be a bit challenging but playing with the backing track should be inspirational enough to keep him going I hope. Have a browse on amazon as well to see if you can get those books any cheaper or others similar.
Forgot to add, most importantly talk to his teacher about new ways of insipiring him and maintaining his interest. I teach music (singing/keyboard/sax) and would definitely want to know if a pupil of mine was lacking motivation to practise so I could find ways of improving my teaching to help them get the best out of themselves.
It might also help if he has a trumpet stand he can leave the instrument out on next to the music stand so he can have a quick 5 mins whenever he feels like it rather than fixed practise sessions. Sorry if i'm waffling. Hope this is some use!
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