PDA

View Full Version : S/O "forcing" a child to play an instrument



hjdong
04-15-2010, 04:22 PM
This had started to become a topic of conversation in 2010/2011 curriculum choices thread, I thought I would make its own thread.

Personally, this article (http://www.livescience.com/culture/children-passions-autonomy-100209.html) pretty well sums up my own feeling on the subject. James has a very good ear for music - he can pick out songs on the piano well. We started him on piano lessons and he hated it. The teacher was not a good match. We stopped after a few months. He didn't touch the piano for nearly a year.

He started wanting to play again, but adamantly not wanting lessons. So, we got some basic books, he sets his own goals, sometimes he will play for an hour, sometimes, he'll not touch the piano for a couple of days. It's just something I've decided he has to own.

I'm interested in others thoughts.

ginnyjf
04-15-2010, 08:47 PM
We just started Zack on piano lessons last month. He's always been musically inclined; he sings on pitch and can pick out tunes by ear. He experimented with different instruments and finally settled on the piano. He started asking for lessons around September of last year and when I was certain it wasn't a passing interest, we enrolled him in classes. He has a half-hour lesson every week and willingly practices for 20 to 30 minutes every day. I don't know if we'd get that level of cooperation if it wasn't something he wanted to do for himself. Now that's he's started, I'm going to be hesitant about letting him quit, because I do think persistence and patience are important lessons. I want him to persevere when things aren't necessarily "interesting" or "fun" any longer. I think if he had never expressed an interest in a particular instrument or lessons, we would have just let him explore music on his own.

Snoopy
04-15-2010, 10:08 PM
Well, I think it depends a lot on the child's personality as well. I have explained that without me prodding them to try something out, my kids would be totally happy to just watch TV and play videogames and THAT'S IT. They really are that passive. However, once the boys tried band in 6th grade and got their instruments (trumpet and trombone, which they chose on their own), they were hooked. I didn't force them (or have to force them) beyond telling them to enroll in band in 6th grade. They could have quit anytime after that, but instead they decided to also enroll in jazz band. I'm not a stickler on practice time. Their teachers want them to practice 30 min a day and there are many times when they don't. As a matter of fact, I told their dad that, as much as they enjoy band, I don't think they have a true passion for it because they never seem to be practicing their instrument at home all that much. But maybe the 2+ hours of practice at school everyday is enough for them? I don't know. All I know is that my 2nd son loves playing music and has, on his own, branched out into playing the drums, the bass, the tuba, and the baritone. He'll probably switch instruments in high school next year. My oldest loves playing the trumpet and doesn't want to change. He now wants private lessons and is trying to find a job so he can pay for them. Looking back on all this, I'm really glad I "forced" him to enroll in band over 5 years ago!

My daughter doesn't show any interest in playing an intrument but she loves singing. When her elementary school offered a free choir after-school activity this year, I suggested that she enrolls just to try it out. She did it for about a month and then decided she didn't like it and quit. She's more athletic than artistic so I enrolled her in horseback riding lessons since she's been begging for them for a long time and she now has her eye on the vaulting lessons that the teacher provides... but they're much more expensive so she would really have to show a lot of progress and tenacity in her current horseback riding classes for me to even consider paying for that!

Noah doesn't like group activities but he has a great singing voice. I'm thinking about seeing about putting him in a local choir group for him to try it... I think it would be less stressful for him than singing on his own for now, even though he doesn't like group activities. So we'll see if we go that route. I wish my husband would teach him to play the guitar. Noah was interested a couple of years ago and we even have a kid's guitar for him but it's hard to get my husband to set time aside for that :(

camaro
04-15-2010, 10:26 PM
I'm not really sure what to expect from my boys if I get them started on an instrument, but lately they love to crank up their music and pretend to play. I think Mitchell would love to be the next Alex Lifeson which is why I would like to try him on guitar. But as I've seen in other subjects he gets frustrated easily so I'd definitely let him go at his own pace, maybe learning some basics in a book and following some videos online. We've got 6-string electic and bass guitar as well as an old set of drums (that need some work) so we're pretty much covered for most musical interests.

If we had local instructors I might be more interested in trying formal lessons, but for us it would be an hour drive to the city probably. I'm not sure I'm ready for that without knowing how interested in continuing Mitchell would be. But as a writing excercise (just to practice writing) we had him copy out the lyrics to the Rush song "Limelight" (his favorite right now) and after he was done he tried to sing it. He's not quite Geddy Lee yet, but it did make me smile. :)

reversemigration
04-16-2010, 01:10 PM
We just started Zack on piano lessons last month. He's always been musically inclined; he sings on pitch and can pick out tunes by ear. He experimented with different instruments and finally settled on the piano. He started asking for lessons around September of last year and when I was certain it wasn't a passing interest, we enrolled him in classes. He has a half-hour lesson every week and willingly practices for 20 to 30 minutes every day. I don't know if we'd get that level of cooperation if it wasn't something he wanted to do for himself. Now that's he's started, I'm going to be hesitant about letting him quit, because I do think persistence and patience are important lessons. I want him to persevere when things aren't necessarily "interesting" or "fun" any longer. I think if he had never expressed an interest in a particular instrument or lessons, we would have just let him explore music on his own.

This is the seesaw we're on right now. Max found his interest in piano and asked for lessons about a year ago. He really enjoyed about the first 9 months, and I think he found it exciting how quickly he improved. After that, he hit one of those dreaded plateaus and has become frustrated with his lack of progress. I'm hoping that with regular practice he'll once again start advancing and have that feeling of accomplishment that goes along with it. On the other hand, if it festers and starts turning into something truly unpleasant, I'm not going to force him to continue...there'll be other opportunities for him to find something he enjoys.

It's a balancing act between the lesson of perseverance and the lesson of letting your child follow their own nose, I think...I hope that I'm striking a good balance. Fortunately, Max is strong-willed enough to let me know if I'm being too pushy.

reversemigration
04-16-2010, 01:12 PM
I think Mitchell would love to be the next Alex Lifeson which is why I would like to try him on guitar. ... He's not quite Geddy Lee yet, but it did make me smile. :)

It's good to see that they have such excellent taste in music! :D