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Nephew and learning music.

(6 Posts)
greencolorpack Thu 02-Jun-11 10:29:55

I feel rubbish today. Spent ages getting dn to practice the violin. And then he had a big tantrum, "I don't like being forced, it's boring and rubbish, bla bla bla". I guess it had to happen at some time.

If I let him give up I'm being like MIL who raised dn to give up the moment anything got difficult. For nine years he was spoilt and bored and under-employed and under-achieving. He never started learning anything and anything he took up he quickly dropped, like Scouts and Badminton. Dh was raised by the same mother, and he bitterly regrets how lazy he is, how few skills (no music, no sports, couldn't ride a bike til I taught him, couldn't drive til I taught him, still hasn't got a licence).

Of course I wonder if I'm going too far the other way, doing the tiger mother thing (the Chinese cultural thing of driving your children too hard).

How do I make the violin fun? How??? Should I let him quit and learn that a tantrum and a blub leads to getting to be lazy and do nothing? If he gives up, he will watch my dd going on with lessons and getting better and better, and will probably equate it with "they don't love me as much as their own children". And he has no right to say I've "forced" him to learn the violin, for the last year, he was the one who picked up the violin and wanted lessons. He's under pressure cos his Grade 1 violin is coming up. When he has tantrums he tends to come out with overdramatic bollocks, a skill picked up from MIL.

My own mum got me violin lessons and never hassled me to practice, I can't remember her ever doing it. As a result I took years and years to get anywhere and lessons must have cost her a lot. Now I love the violin and I think I did in my teens too. I say this to illustrate I'm raising my children differently, a bit more pressure from me to practice.

I don't know what I'm doing. No idea. Should I just give up hassling him and let him fail his Grade 1? Should I keep hassling him to practice and be in another room and not help him to improve? And yet as the parent I'm supposed to be wise and know what's for the best, but this is my dn, not my birth child, been here for a year with us.

mdoodledoo Thu 02-Jun-11 11:13:18

When my parents asked I said that I wanted to learn piano (when I was in junior school), and from memory, I think I did want to learn. But - I HATED it! I had about a year of awful lessons, I was given support etc etc, but I just wasn't interested enough to want to put in the practice. When I inevitably failed my Grade 1 my parents threw in the towel!

Compare my piano experience with horse riding - a hobby that you have to spend a whole load more time on then piano - it gets you cold, muddy and wet and can physically hurt you. I LOVED it! I still love it and still own a horse, ride every single week and compete all over the region.

My DP just bought a piano because his ex is a talented pianist and so the kids like to play a bit, plus he wants to learn. He asked me at the weekend, 'wouldn't you love to learn to play'...well no I bloody don't! It's just not for me.

My DSD (7) is a talented gymnast, started at a little class in a local leisure centre and about a year later is in an elite squad that practices for 3 hours 3 times a week. She comes home with bangs, sprains, blisters etc etc but she ALWAYS wants to go to practice because she loves it. DSS (5) has started rugby and tennis but they don't look like they're floating his boat in any big way. There are some signs that it may be football that he's most passionate about so we're hunting for a something that he can join in with to try it out in a structured way.

If your DN isn't suited to violin then I figure the trick is to find what he is suited to - what excites him - and support him in doing that just the way that you'll support your DD with violin. The tricky bit may be finding out what your DN LOVES - be it wind-surfing or stamp collecting or cooking or whatever - but there will be something. Have fun finding it.

greencolorpack Thu 02-Jun-11 11:21:54

I see what you mean and will try and find dn's passion. I think he does like the violin - it's just we are piling on the pressure with the exam coming up - once it's over it will be less pressured. He loves being centre of attention and having praise for achieving things, I know cos we have all played in public now and then.

The thing is, I have to be a bit pragmatic. I have three children, and on violin day, I take dd and dn to violin while my ds goes to daycare. If dn quits I'll still have to pay for him to go to daycare. We all go out on a Monday to a community group and work with them every Saturday as well. There just aren't a lot more hours spare in the day to join new things. At the moment I'm not working but once I am I barely see them all week, and violin is one day when I didn't work late and got to spend time with them. It is something we can all do, all three of us. And dn is soooo quick to pick up on things not being "fair" so if he's not getting violin then he will start to resent it.

My ds doesn't have music lessons, and I'm starting to regret that we don't have anything together to do, so I said to him we will go swimming regularly, just the two of us. He is upset he doesn't get much one to one time.

LittleWhiteHeart Fri 03-Jun-11 13:29:13

Hi there!

I really feel for you, my DSD is a little similar - won't try anything new, doesn't like to be pushed in case she 'fails'.

When I was a child my parents tried to get me into the piano, mainly due to my nagging I guess, but without much success - as mdoodledoo suggests, it just wasn't for me. I then went on to clarinet which again, wasn't for me, but a bright music tutor at my secondary school saw my potential and suggested I learn the saxophone (to me it was a much cooler, bigger, shiny instrument to learn!) I whole-heartedly loved learning to play it, went on to do all sorts of grades, aced GCSE music and A level music and still play today. It also gave me the confidence to learn guitar and go back to learning piano.

I guess what I'm saying, is maybe it's not the music/learning he isn't into, maybe it's the violin ... perhaps a similar but less conventional instrument might inspire him a bit more, something like a cello or banjo or double bass!

I also found playing in the school band helped as it gives you motivation when you've got shows and concerts to do ... are there any music clubs/bands that he may be interested in joining?

LittleWhiteHeart Fri 03-Jun-11 13:36:16

Also ment to say, the biggest barrier to me practicing the piano originally was the nagging from my parents ... it turned it into a chore which completely turned me off from wanting to learn. I know it doesn't make sense as I nagged for lessons in the first place, but feeling obliged to do something doesn't make it a hobby!

Good luck whatever you decide! smile

greencolorpack Fri 03-Jun-11 22:16:02

Thanks Little,

I will see if dn is interested in anything else. And as for practicing, today I made sure I was in another room throughout. Something about dn is that he's very passive, and is led by whoever, so if I'm watching him practice he will play and fall silent and await further instructions. If I'm in another room he has to engage the brain and move onto other pieces on his own, this is what I want him to learn, a bit of self motivation and independence. Maybe I want too much too early.

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