Discussion:
Is it OK to push kids to play
(too old to reply)
szhang101
2006-09-21 18:54:25 UTC
Permalink
I am a music lover but don't play instrument. I have a 11 year-old boy
who's been learning violin for 2 years, started clarinet last September with
his school band (no private teacher), and recently started to learn piano.
With these lessons, he has to practice 2-3 instruments everyday, about 30
minutes each, and it's usually a struggle. He hates violin and threatened
to quit from time to time, I THINK because he can't play well enough to
enjoy it yet. Clarinet happens to be his favorite, I THINK because it
associates with the school and he wants to be the best in his class. Piano
is in between, I THINK because it's at the very early stage and simple
enough for him, and it will become a burden later.

I don't expect him to become professional in music; I just want him to have
something he can enjoy in his life besides whatever he chooses to do. The
schoolwork is easy for him, and he doesn't like sports. So he could spend a
lot of time goofing around. The initial choices of violin and clarinet were
made because I THOUGHT he could take them to places and college without much
effort. Adding piano was due to my frustration with his out-of-tune violin
playing, and I hope it can help to train his ear, and to develop a stronger
sense of rhythm.

You must have sensed that I am imposing MY THOUGHTS on the poor little boy.
I often feel guilty pushing him to practice, but I don't trust his judgment
at his age, and I hope he'll appreciate one day that I didn't allow him to
quit. I want to hear your opinions on this.

Jane
Jon Slaughter
2006-09-21 18:31:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by szhang101
I am a music lover but don't play instrument. I have a 11 year-old boy
who's been learning violin for 2 years, started clarinet last September with
his school band (no private teacher), and recently started to learn piano.
With these lessons, he has to practice 2-3 instruments everyday, about 30
minutes each, and it's usually a struggle. He hates violin and threatened
to quit from time to time, I THINK because he can't play well enough to
enjoy it yet. Clarinet happens to be his favorite, I THINK because it
associates with the school and he wants to be the best in his class.
Piano
is in between, I THINK because it's at the very early stage and simple
enough for him, and it will become a burden later.
I don't expect him to become professional in music; I just want him to have
something he can enjoy in his life besides whatever he chooses to do. The
schoolwork is easy for him, and he doesn't like sports. So he could spend a
lot of time goofing around. The initial choices of violin and clarinet were
made because I THOUGHT he could take them to places and college without much
effort. Adding piano was due to my frustration with his out-of-tune violin
playing, and I hope it can help to train his ear, and to develop a stronger
sense of rhythm.
You must have sensed that I am imposing MY THOUGHTS on the poor little boy.
I often feel guilty pushing him to practice, but I don't trust his judgment
at his age, and I hope he'll appreciate one day that I didn't allow him to
quit. I want to hear your opinions on this.
IMO I think its great thing to push because your child eventually will like
it and get good at it. I'm not sure about 3 instruments at once though
because it might be splitting to much time up. 30m a day isn't much to make
a lot of progress.

You should explain to your child why you think its important for him to
learn and try and get him to understand it. Most likely why he is
frustrated is mainly because he is not satisfying you like you want him to.
What I mean is that usually children get delight in satisfying there parents
in something but if they cannot then it sorta makes them feel like a
failure.

You have to try not to make him feel like its chore though. Pressure is very
good but you have to explain to him some things too(not to much though). No
one grows without motivation or stress but to much can cause problems.

I personally feel like 3 instruments at 30m each is kinda much as I'd rather
have 1 at 1hr or so(30 mins is not enough to do anything but warm up).

Some problems I've seen from friends that were pushed like this is that they
do not enjoy there gift. Theres many reasons for this but I think by
talking to your kid and explaining what you would like and also consider
what he wants(don't do it just for yourself) then he might understand.

I also wouldn't forget about other activities either. Its important to have
variety. You don't want to burn your kid out either so by giving him
something that is not musical can help. Maybe some type of physical
activity will help.

Its entirely your decision though and atleast by asking about it you will
most likely do whats right. So IMO I think you should push but not to
hard(i.e., don't beat your kid or yell at him to get him to play), give him
some other activities to do, talk to him about it, and maybe cut the
instruments down or see if he would spend more time on the main one he
likes. Maybe 30 mins for the 2 least favorites and then 1hr for the most
favorite and then maybe 1 hr for something else that is fun in a different
area that he might like(something that is physical such as martial arts or
weight training or whatever). Its important to have balance.

I really think though you maybe just doing one instrument at this point
would be the best. Once your son gets one instrument down good and learns
the basics of music then it will be much easier to learn other
instruments... he will be able to do this faster and get more rewards by
focusing just on one instrument(although 2 might be ok). Personally I think
the piano is best because it really is the most difficult and is "self
contained"(it can get boring sometimes playing solo stuff all the time)..
its also important for music theory so you can learn how harmony works and
such(you can do this in a band or whatever too).

So maybe 30 mins on piano and 1 hr on clarinet or even vice versa.

Anyways, gotta run. Hope that helps some.
Dr. Anthony J. Lomenzo
2006-09-21 18:47:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by szhang101
I am a music lover but don't play instrument. I have a 11 year-old boy
who's been learning violin for 2 years, started clarinet last September with
his school band (no private teacher), and recently started to learn piano.
With these lessons, he has to practice 2-3 instruments everyday, about 30
minutes each, and it's usually a struggle. He hates violin and threatened
to quit from time to time, I THINK because he can't play well enough to
enjoy it yet. Clarinet happens to be his favorite, I THINK because it
associates with the school and he wants to be the best in his class. Piano
is in between, I THINK because it's at the very early stage and simple
enough for him, and it will become a burden later.
I don't expect him to become professional in music; I just want him to have
something he can enjoy in his life besides whatever he chooses to do. The
schoolwork is easy for him, and he doesn't like sports. So he could spend a
lot of time goofing around. The initial choices of violin and clarinet were
made because I THOUGHT he could take them to places and college without much
effort. Adding piano was due to my frustration with his out-of-tune violin
playing, and I hope it can help to train his ear, and to develop a stronger
sense of rhythm.
You must have sensed that I am imposing MY THOUGHTS on the poor little boy.
I often feel guilty pushing him to practice, but I don't trust his judgment
at his age, and I hope he'll appreciate one day that I didn't allow him to
quit. I want to hear your opinions on this.
Jane
Bottom line, your son's 'judgment' is one thing, his 'ability' is quite
something else. If two years have gone by and he resists or 'hates' the
violin, well, I'm not sure what the motherly 'prod' is going to
accomplish. Then too, whether the ability to play any instrument or a
'gift' if you will is in fact present becomes questionable because in
general those with a 'gift' seem to gravitate to THEIR own choice and,
as a consequence, do well in it while enjoying same and concurrently
viewing those frustrations as 'worth' the expended effort.

As for 3 instruments, well, recall the old axiom, "jack of all trades ..
and master of none" which can apply here. I think one instrument of his
own choice or gravitation if you will would be a better way to go
because much of the battle in 'any' instrument still has player [of
whatever age!] 'motivation' as its key [no pun intended]. If the
'desire' is not there after months and literal years [as you indicate
above] go by, well, I'm not so sure of the results.

Granted too that the violin and the piano are 'not' easy instruments nor
is the clarinet any less of a push-over in terms of frustration but I
think concentration on 'one' instrument would be preferable and the one
your son, versus yourself, opts to play and then judge the 'results'
over time albeit his own selection of same which can then be quite
telling in itself when such results are reviewed over the longer haul.

Doc Tony
nancy
2006-09-22 03:53:05 UTC
Permalink
This is a very interesting topic. I have a 9 year old daughter who
claims she doesn't want to take piano lessons, but actually practises
reasonably happily and appears to enjoy her teacher. I have told her
that I expect her to do something that requires the discipline of daily
practise, and that if she becomes passionate about something else and
willing to put in a significant amount of time and effort we could
discuss letting piano go. So far nothing else meets that criteria. If
it were totally up to her, she'd pick a couple of things that you just
attend the weekly class or whatever and then forget about it (like
swimming or gymnastics).

Anyway, I agree that 3 instruments is probably too much, and 1.5 hours
a day spent on music is also too much for an 11 year old. That would be
more appropriate for someone preparing for university level music
study. Maybe he could let the violin go and just do piano and clarinet
for a year, and then you and he could re-evaluate. He might find he
misses the violin. Or maybe not!
Irrational Number
2006-09-22 05:08:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by szhang101
I am a music lover but don't play instrument. I have a 11 year-old boy
who's been learning violin for 2 years, started clarinet last September with
his school band (no private teacher), and recently started to learn piano.
With these lessons, he has to practice 2-3 instruments everyday, about 30
minutes each, and it's usually a struggle.
Most children require some pushing to get them
to practice (it's much easier to play with
friends or watch TV). Even one of my classmates
who made it to the finals in the Tchaikovsky
competition would practice the minimum required
to win in whatever competition. If you took a
poll of adults who play an instrument, most of
them had parents who kept them at it. If you
ask adults who do not play but used to as kids,
they will tell you how much they wish their
parents made them. ;)

However, three instruments is too much.

-- Anita --
g***@best.cut.here.com
2006-09-23 04:11:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by szhang101
I am a music lover but don't play instrument. I have a 11 year-old boy
who's been learning violin for 2 years, started clarinet last September with
his school band (no private teacher), and recently started to learn piano.
With these lessons, he has to practice 2-3 instruments everyday, about 30
minutes each, and it's usually a struggle. He hates violin and threatened
to quit from time to time, I THINK because he can't play well enough to
enjoy it yet. Clarinet happens to be his favorite, I THINK because it
associates with the school and he wants to be the best in his class. Piano
is in between, I THINK because it's at the very early stage and simple
enough for him, and it will become a burden later.
I don't expect him to become professional in music; I just want him to have
something he can enjoy in his life besides whatever he chooses to do. The
schoolwork is easy for him, and he doesn't like sports. So he could spend a
lot of time goofing around. The initial choices of violin and clarinet were
made because I THOUGHT he could take them to places and college without much
effort. Adding piano was due to my frustration with his out-of-tune violin
playing, and I hope it can help to train his ear, and to develop a stronger
sense of rhythm.
You must have sensed that I am imposing MY THOUGHTS on the poor little boy.
I often feel guilty pushing him to practice, but I don't trust his judgment
at his age, and I hope he'll appreciate one day that I didn't allow him to
quit. I want to hear your opinions on this.
IMO, you shouldn't push your kids into anything. Also, it isn't as if
clarinet and violin aren't enough of a challenge. Doesn't it take at
least a year for most violin students to get to the point where they
can reliably play in tune? Perhaps adding private clarinet lessons
will round out his musical education. I would think that perhaps an
hour each of clarinet and violin is sufficient practice time for
his/your current goals.

--gregbo
gds at best dot com
Beach Runner
2006-09-23 07:13:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by g***@best.cut.here.com
Post by szhang101
I am a music lover but don't play instrument. I have a 11 year-old boy
who's been learning violin for 2 years, started clarinet last September with
his school band (no private teacher), and recently started to learn piano.
With these lessons, he has to practice 2-3 instruments everyday, about 30
minutes each, and it's usually a struggle. He hates violin and threatened
to quit from time to time, I THINK because he can't play well enough to
enjoy it yet. Clarinet happens to be his favorite, I THINK because it
associates with the school and he wants to be the best in his class. Piano
is in between, I THINK because it's at the very early stage and simple
enough for him, and it will become a burden later.
I don't expect him to become professional in music; I just want him to have
something he can enjoy in his life besides whatever he chooses to do. The
schoolwork is easy for him, and he doesn't like sports. So he could spend a
lot of time goofing around. The initial choices of violin and clarinet were
made because I THOUGHT he could take them to places and college without much
effort. Adding piano was due to my frustration with his out-of-tune violin
playing, and I hope it can help to train his ear, and to develop a stronger
sense of rhythm.
You must have sensed that I am imposing MY THOUGHTS on the poor little boy.
I often feel guilty pushing him to practice, but I don't trust his judgment
at his age, and I hope he'll appreciate one day that I didn't allow him to
quit. I want to hear your opinions on this.
IMO, you shouldn't push your kids into anything. Also, it isn't as if
clarinet and violin aren't enough of a challenge. Doesn't it take at
least a year for most violin students to get to the point where they
can reliably play in tune? Perhaps adding private clarinet lessons
will round out his musical education. I would think that perhaps an
hour each of clarinet and violin is sufficient practice time for
his/your current goals.
--gregbo
gds at best dot com
That is a great question! Children's behavior is very able to be
highly
influenced and shaped. One can set up token economies, reward systems
and other reinforcements to shape behaviors.

Of course, it's easier for someone to do nothing than something. Just
like learning to clean one's room, not sit all day watching TV, do
their homework,
it is the parent's responsibility to help develop good lifetime habits.

Now, there are many things parents can do to make practicing
self-reinforcing.
Praise, rewards, and more importantly, modeling. Dr. Suzucki clearly
realized that children do what their parents do. If parents sit
around, watch
TV and burp, their children are not going to learn good, productive
behaviors.
If the parents are also learning, practicing and playing, it will be
natural
for a child to do so.

But, no one ever wished their parents hadn't pushed them to do their
homework,
learn their musicial instruments, and other life long habits.

It's much easier for the parent to let a child sit in front of a TV or
play video
games. But that is a failure as a parent. Be a strong, loving parent.
Have
a spine. But do it the best way possible. If you want a child to
practice,
not only should you encourage them, push them and not let them do
lazy activities, you must do the same yourself.
Perth
2006-09-23 12:42:50 UTC
Permalink
I think it depends on what you mean by "push." It can be done lovingly
-- with patience and insistence but without negativity, or, you know,
it can be done, based on the ego needs of the parents, which is not so
good, and damaging to the child.

A second and important element: I don't think I'm alone in finding
that family cultures which respect education and what the teacher has
to offer, bring to the lesson students who do better in the long run.


[From my studio page]
There is a very good (and amusing) book on this subject: _How to get
your child to practice without resorting to violence_.

http://tinyurl.com/fpdao

Interestingly, I got this book, used, for a few dollars on Amazon, just
a few months ago. Now they have three used copies and they want
$149US! I can't believe it. I wouldn't pay that price for it, but
find an alternative resource, borrow it from interlibrary loan, or
request it on ebay. Strange, prices of books...


In general, the recommendations in the book include:

1. Remain calm but firm; don't nag, threaten, get angry, or give
up. Brushing teeth is not optional, and neither is practicing. 10
minutes a day is fine at the beginning.


2. Create a musical environment: this will include listening to
the Suzuki CD's, other CD's of classical music or other musics, going
to concerts, and listening to NPR (National Public Radio) programs with
classical music. Have music on all the time, or at least during meals
and before bedtime.


3. Make it fun and enjoyable. Let the child be happy and loved at
all times. Never make being loved contingent on whether they practice,
or whether they do well.


4. Use lots of praise, even for the smallest thing, and even if it
sounds awful. There is always something positive to say: "You really
worked hard" "That sounded pretty good" "That was much better than last
time." No negative or derogatory remarks!!
Beach Runner
2006-09-23 13:40:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by Perth
1. Remain calm but firm; don't nag, threaten, get angry, or give
up. Brushing teeth is not optional, and neither is practicing. 10
minutes a day is fine at the beginning.
The ten minutes a day concept is wonderful. I've always said 15 minutes
a day. What you are trying to do is create a daily habit. There is
not
doubt that if a child practices 10 or 15 minutes a day, they will
make progress. If they do it every day, they will get into a practice
habit. They will then often find they "get into" something and that
10 minute period is an hour.

The idea is, you can never make up the next day what you miss one day.

I love it, and Children understand and are willing to do 10 minutes a
day.
Post by Perth
2. Create a musical environment: this will include listening to
the Suzuki CD's, other CD's of classical music or other musics, going
to concerts, and listening to NPR (National Public Radio) programs with
classical music. Have music on all the time, or at least during meals
and before bedtime.
Exactly.
Post by Perth
3. Make it fun and enjoyable. Let the child be happy and loved at
all times. Never make being loved contingent on whether they practice,
or whether they do well.
4. Use lots of praise, even for the smallest thing, and even if it
sounds awful. There is always something positive to say: "You really
worked hard" "That sounded pretty good" "That was much better than last
time." No negative or derogatory remarks!!
How many people today are afraid to open their mouth because they
were insulted trying to sing as a child?

What are valid complaints?

Try it slower.
I always compare practice to Kata, where Martial Artists learn to
fight.
They move incredibly slowly, so they practice perfrect movements.

That way they are not practicing mistake. Slow them down.
Roland Hutchinson
2006-09-23 15:13:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by Beach Runner
How many people today are afraid to open their mouth because they
were insulted trying to sing as a child?
Indeed, I never cease to be amazed by the number of competent string players
who absolutely refuse to sing. I'm sure what the cause is (and I expect it
varies somewhat from individual to individual), but something's wrong with
the system there, for sure!
--
Roland Hutchinson              Will play viola da gamba for food.

NB mail to my.spamtrap [at] verizon.net is heavily filtered to
remove spam.  If your message looks like spam I may not see it.
Alan Jones
2006-09-23 15:58:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by Roland Hutchinson
Post by Beach Runner
How many people today are afraid to open their mouth because they
were insulted trying to sing as a child?
Indeed, I never cease to be amazed by the number of competent string
players who absolutely refuse to sing. I'm sure what the cause is
(and I expect it varies somewhat from individual to individual), but
something's wrong with the system there, for sure!
In the UK, candidates for the Associated Board music exams - any
instrument - are required to sing short passages in imitation of what the
examiner plays, or, in higher grades, at sight. If that's quite impossible
for them (e.g. when a boy's voice is awkwardly changing) I understand they
are allowed to whistle! Most instrumentalists I conduct can and do sing; one
pianist/organist loves to sing - bass or alto - while accompanying us. But
perhaps the custom of almost all instrumentalists doing their Grade exams
isn't as widespread in the US as in the UK, where it's virtually the rule.

Alan Jones
Roland Hutchinson
2006-09-24 02:56:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alan Jones
Post by Roland Hutchinson
Post by Beach Runner
How many people today are afraid to open their mouth because they
were insulted trying to sing as a child?
Indeed, I never cease to be amazed by the number of competent string
players who absolutely refuse to sing. I'm sure what the cause is
(and I expect it varies somewhat from individual to individual), but
something's wrong with the system there, for sure!
In the UK, candidates for the Associated Board music exams - any
instrument - are required to sing short passages in imitation of what the
examiner plays, or, in higher grades, at sight. If that's quite impossible
for them (e.g. when a boy's voice is awkwardly changing) I understand they
are allowed to whistle! Most instrumentalists I conduct can and do sing;
one pianist/organist loves to sing - bass or alto - while accompanying us.
But perhaps the custom of almost all instrumentalists doing their Grade
exams isn't as widespread in the US as in the UK, where it's virtually the
rule.
No, and that's a VERY big difference between the UK and the US.

I won't say that grade exams are completely unknown in the US; both the
ABRSM exams and their Canadian counterpart are available to those who seek
them out. But virtually nobody does. Most US instrumental students and
their teachers won't even be aware of their existence.

However, one of the string players I know who refuses to sing is Welsh and
did the Assoc. Board exams -- and had professional training in the UK --
and even teaches theory using the Associated Board curriculum. Go figure!
(as we say).
--
Roland Hutchinson              Will play viola da gamba for food.

NB mail to my.spamtrap [at] verizon.net is heavily filtered to
remove spam.  If your message looks like spam I may not see it.
Alan Jones
2006-09-24 11:47:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by Roland Hutchinson
Post by Alan Jones
Post by Roland Hutchinson
Post by Beach Runner
How many people today are afraid to open their mouth because they
were insulted trying to sing as a child?
Indeed, I never cease to be amazed by the number of competent string
players who absolutely refuse to sing. I'm sure what the cause is
(and I expect it varies somewhat from individual to individual), but
something's wrong with the system there, for sure!
In the UK, candidates for the Associated Board music exams - any
instrument - are required to sing short passages in imitation of
what the examiner plays, or, in higher grades, at sight. If that's
quite impossible for them (e.g. when a boy's voice is awkwardly
changing) I understand they are allowed to whistle! Most
instrumentalists I conduct can and do sing; one pianist/organist
loves to sing - bass or alto - while accompanying us. But perhaps
the custom of almost all instrumentalists doing their Grade exams
isn't as widespread in the US as in the UK, where it's virtually the rule.
No, and that's a VERY big difference between the UK and the US.
I won't say that grade exams are completely unknown in the US; both
the ABRSM exams and their Canadian counterpart are available to those
who seek them out. But virtually nobody does. Most US instrumental
students and their teachers won't even be aware of their existence.
However, one of the string players I know who refuses to sing is
Welsh and did the Assoc. Board exams -- and had professional training
in the UK -- and even teaches theory using the Associated Board
curriculum. Go figure! (as we say).
Welsh, too! Scandalous!

Alan Jones
Perth
2006-09-23 19:24:22 UTC
Permalink
I used to say that I couldn't sing, or, alternatively, that I had a
"conductor's voice": very accurate with respect to pitch, rhythm and
articulation, but not very good quality. Now I sing all the time, all
day long, day after day, because I HAVE to...in teaching, I HAVE to
sing. There's no other way. And now I sing great! I'm surprised,
myself.
guy klose
2006-09-28 17:09:08 UTC
Permalink
With my kids (two boys, 8 and 10), the goal at the beginning
was 5 minutes of uninterrupted practice a day. No arguments, and
no screaming by parents (I didn't want it to lapse into something
negative). But, like the teeth-brushing idea, no shortcuts. It is
a "must do". And yes, sometimes 5 minutes was a struggle.

(I should disclose here that they started in a special group
piano program that went as young as 3-yrs-old, and when they were
that age, 5 minutes was an eternity).

So, now, regular practice is still expected, and on great days
it is 30 minutes uninterrupted. Average days are more like 20
minutes. Their current teacher (they are both in private lessons
now) gives them a daily task list, so they run through the list
then consider themselves done. The struggle comes into play when
we point out they really weren't concentrating much as they
sloppily run through one of their assignments.

Pushing them? I would venture to say that non-musician parents
would think I do push them. They are both very bright kids,
where everything comes easily to them. Except piano. They actually
have to work to succeed. Which is why I think it is so important
to their development. Many times, over the years, they've told
me they want to quit because "it's too hard". We've talked
to their teachers, broken things down more, maybe dropped a
challenge piece, in one case changed a teacher, etc. I'd
check back in with them in a week or two and ask them if they
still hate it, and they say no. So, here it is, years later
and they're still moving forward.

The unexpected negative part: their elementary school music
classes are too boring for them. They complain of having
to sing "baby songs." Both of them, however, have (without
us parents knowing) volunteered to play piano for their
classes.

Guy
p***@yahoo.com
2006-09-28 23:26:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by Beach Runner
Post by Perth
1. Remain calm but firm; don't nag, threaten, get angry, or give
up. Brushing teeth is not optional, and neither is practicing. 10
minutes a day is fine at the beginning.
The ten minutes a day concept is wonderful. I've always said 15 minutes
a day. What you are trying to do is create a daily habit. There is
not
doubt that if a child practices 10 or 15 minutes a day, they will
make progress. If they do it every day, they will get into a practice
habit. They will then often find they "get into" something and that
10 minute period is an hour.
The idea is, you can never make up the next day what you miss one day.
I love it, and Children understand and are willing to do 10 minutes a
day.
Hmm. I will disagree on that philosophy; in fact, the 10-minute-a-day
idea is why I no longer teach piano. It is simply not enough; the kids
don't progress. They practice 10 minutes a day, they stay exactly at
the same level for a year, then they get bored and quit. Or, their
parents keep forcing them to practice, and they keep doing that and
keep being miserable - because they can sense the lack of progress.
Sure, it establishes a daily habit - but that habit is frequently as
joyous and entertaining as brushing your teeth, too.

I had two students who progressed amazingly well in the two years I
taught them; from an absolute beginner level to simple Mozart sonatas
in one year, a similar level of progress the second year. Why? They
practiced 2 hours a day, every day. The rest of my students stayed at
the same bare-bones five-finger beginner level for years; they'd come
to me with the same piece with the same mistakes in it week after week
after week, until their parents were ready to climb the walls (and so
was I). Why? 10 minutes a day of "practice". Sure, they were willing
to do 10 minutes a day - but it did them no good whatsoever.

I practiced 1.5 hours a day, every day, starting at age 6. It took me
15 minutes just to do all my scales and arpeggios. This is why I am
still playing.

LM
Kath
2006-09-30 03:01:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by p***@yahoo.com
Hmm. I will disagree on that philosophy; in fact, the 10-minute-a-day
idea is why I no longer teach piano. It is simply not enough; the
kids don't progress. They practice 10 minutes a day, they stay
exactly at the same level for a year, then they get bored and quit.
Or, their parents keep forcing them to practice, and they keep doing
that and keep being miserable - because they can sense the lack of
progress. Sure, it establishes a daily habit - but that habit is
frequently as joyous and entertaining as brushing your teeth, too.
<snipped>

So what are some suggestions for getting kids to practise for one or two
hours a day without them resenting you for it?
--
Katharine
Laughing stock: cattle with a sense of humour.
p***@yahoo.com
2006-09-30 04:08:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by Kath
Post by p***@yahoo.com
Hmm. I will disagree on that philosophy; in fact, the 10-minute-a-day
idea is why I no longer teach piano. It is simply not enough; the
kids don't progress. They practice 10 minutes a day, they stay
exactly at the same level for a year, then they get bored and quit.
Or, their parents keep forcing them to practice, and they keep doing
that and keep being miserable - because they can sense the lack of
progress. Sure, it establishes a daily habit - but that habit is
frequently as joyous and entertaining as brushing your teeth, too.
<snipped>
So what are some suggestions for getting kids to practise for one or two
hours a day without them resenting you for it?
First of all, start with a kid who wants to be able to play the piano;
do not force the kid to play if he doesn't want to. My parents had
repeatedly asked me whether or not I wanted to quit; I always said no.

Second of all, make practice into a game. My mother used every ounce
of imagination she possessed to make practicing fun for me when I was
5; I practiced 1 hour a day then. We had pretend concerts, we had
"scale races" - anything to make sure that I was actually at the piano
doing the work. It worked.

Third of all, introduce them to some people who can actually play the
piano, other than their teacher. If piano playing is just some weird
torture ritual they're going through, with no relevance to the adult
world they see around them, they won't want to do it as much as if they
knew a 'cool' adult who plays the piano really well.

As for resentment - when a kid sees actual progress, they'll want to
keep going. After a while, piano playing became "natural' to me - it
was something that came easily and that I could have fun doing. I
would sit and improvise or sight-read for fun (still do, in fact). At
that point, resentment was out of the question.

LM
Beach Runner
2006-09-30 13:13:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by p***@yahoo.com
Post by Kath
Post by p***@yahoo.com
Hmm. I will disagree on that philosophy; in fact, the 10-minute-a-day
idea is why I no longer teach piano. It is simply not enough; the
kids don't progress. They practice 10 minutes a day, they stay
exactly at the same level for a year, then they get bored and quit.
Or, their parents keep forcing them to practice, and they keep doing
that and keep being miserable - because they can sense the lack of
progress. Sure, it establishes a daily habit - but that habit is
frequently as joyous and entertaining as brushing your teeth, too.
<snipped>
So what are some suggestions for getting kids to practise for one or two
hours a day without them resenting you for it?
First of all, start with a kid who wants to be able to play the piano;
do not force the kid to play if he doesn't want to. My parents had
repeatedly asked me whether or not I wanted to quit; I always said no.
Second of all, make practice into a game. My mother used every ounce
of imagination she possessed to make practicing fun for me when I was
5; I practiced 1 hour a day then. We had pretend concerts, we had
"scale races" - anything to make sure that I was actually at the piano
doing the work. It worked.
Third of all, introduce them to some people who can actually play the
piano, other than their teacher. If piano playing is just some weird
torture ritual they're going through, with no relevance to the adult
world they see around them, they won't want to do it as much as if they
knew a 'cool' adult who plays the piano really well.
As for resentment - when a kid sees actual progress, they'll want to
keep going. After a while, piano playing became "natural' to me - it
was something that came easily and that I could have fun doing. I
would sit and improvise or sight-read for fun (still do, in fact). At
that point, resentment was out of the question.
LM
That was an excellent post.

It is the parents job to introduce new learning. You start by only
finding
the exceptionally motivated students. And you do recognize that
there are games to help motivate them. Excellent ideas.

But many children really have no real music exposure. This is a new
concept.
Actually, I push the 15 minute a day concept, only as a way to start.
They
will make progress. Once they are at the instrument, they may well
spend more
time. Of course, the students that really accomplished something had
to do far more.

Most music students don't do any practice. It seems far too big a
task.

You have me thinking about what I did when the students really took
off.

Since I'm not really a piano player, one of my greatest joys is to tell
a student or
parent it is time to move on! But I want to pass on a student that has
a theorectical
ability to read chord changes, compose melodic bass parts, and can sing
their parts.
Some parents have kept their children longer with me than I would have
considered.
Seriously, I've had some students that developed better classical
reading technique
than I have on piano. But since I understood the music, I often had to
play the
right or left hand on guitar or bass.

I had them analyze what the chords changes were in the pieces they were
playing.

As a bass player, the piano students loved learning how to construct
bass parts.
To me, that is really learning counterpoint. Then there is no real
difference in
soloing with the right hand.


Throughout their development I did what I wished had been done with me.
One important
skill many children have not developed is simply to match pitches. We
assume this.
I play a note on a piano and have them learn to match it. It's not a
natural skill, some
earlier expience helped them learn this. Then sing intervals and
chords.



But, as you said, you need to find ways to make it fun. That always
applies. yes improvement is one motivating factor, but there are many
other's, especially withlittle children. With me, it's knowing I'm
going to have to play that difficult section
in a practice, and everyone will hear me. And, some parts are just
cool.

Back to you. You were someone that started with serious practice.
What would be most interesting is, try to go back and analyze what
happened
before you started that motivated you. Sure, everyone would like to
play, but then
they find it's work.

Try and think about what motivated you.

The real success of Dr.Suzucki was not on his technology, selection of
music or whatever.
It was that he took the most important part of learning, modelling.
Since I'm often teaching chldren the most basic things as possible, I
try and beg the parent to learn the first few lessons.

A word on scales. The most recorded musician in history is Carol Kaye.
Starting as a great jazz and studio guitar player, a bass player didn't
show up for a session, so she played bass. She became THE studio bass
player for decades. It is amazing when you
realize that almost all the Motown bass parts, pop sessions, TV shows
and advertisements were almost all done by Carol Kaye.

She has some strong opinions. She recommends against intensive study
on scales, or students will sound like scales. Instead, there are a lot
of playing chord appegios and such,
since that will develop more musicality. Her concepts don't just apply
to bass or guitar, but all instruments. Rarely are people playing a
part around a scale, they are almost working within the concept of
chordal music.

Another motivating thing I've done, especially with bass or guitar
players, is match them up with someone else that reads the other cleft.
Then play piano music. I get
guitar players to learn the right hand, bass players the left. Most of
thes kids would never
experience classical music, and this way, they will. Younger
children can get a friend and play with. For example, a violin player
could find a cello player. The cello player could find flute player.
Then, I usually use Easy Classics to Moderns and have them learn a
bunch of songs. Unlike an orchestra where they may not even feel they
count, they are it.

This works especially well with high school or older. For example, i'l
tell electric bass players to find a girl that plays violin, and learn
a collection of pieces. Thus, it becomes
a really fine activity for young people, and a chance to form
relationships outside of
the stupidity around them. How many electric bass players have played
Bartok or Stravinsky? This way they do.

I'll help them develop a set of tunes they do, and as opposed to those
school recitals,
I help them find and set up opportunites to play at old aged homes and
the like.
Thus, they have a goal, and get to do something really worthwhile for
their community.


I will say, that when electric bass players come for lessons, I do get
a reasonable number
to consider starting on upright.

Sometimes this backfires. A guy who didn't read and had played in Rock
Bands all his life, wanted to improve. I would always play the
electric parts on string bass during lessons. Many get intrigued to
start playing. One of these was a rock player and Cape Kennedy
engineer. I did all my usuals, including playing from Easy Classics
to Modrns where I would play guitar. Soon, I dragged him to the
community orchestra. Timid and afraid,
he went on to become a leader in the orchestra. One thing I notices
was he thought
much faster than me. When the conductor would say go back to 7
measures after
"D", he'd be there much faster than me. He took an early retirement
from the Cape in his early 50s, feeling like a teenager, had vastly
increased his practice.

Now the bad part. He took over a lot of the gigs I had been getting
for years. I suppose it should be attribute, since he never had any
intention of playing upright, but I admit
to having mixed feelings. But, I did bring a bass player into the
world. And, he completely gave up his rock gigs that were once so
important to him.

I always kept a small violin in the music room, and let children learn
some basics. Some went on to becoming string players.
Dr. Anthony J. Lomenzo
2006-09-30 21:26:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by p***@yahoo.com
Post by Kath
Post by p***@yahoo.com
Hmm. I will disagree on that philosophy; in fact, the 10-minute-a-day
idea is why I no longer teach piano. It is simply not enough; the
kids don't progress. They practice 10 minutes a day, they stay
exactly at the same level for a year, then they get bored and quit.
Or, their parents keep forcing them to practice, and they keep doing
that and keep being miserable - because they can sense the lack of
progress. Sure, it establishes a daily habit - but that habit is
frequently as joyous and entertaining as brushing your teeth, too.
<snipped>
So what are some suggestions for getting kids to practise for one or two
hours a day without them resenting you for it?
First of all, start with a kid who wants to be able to play the piano;
do not force the kid to play if he doesn't want to. My parents had
repeatedly asked me whether or not I wanted to quit; I always said no.
Second of all, make practice into a game. My mother used every ounce
of imagination she possessed to make practicing fun for me when I was
5; I practiced 1 hour a day then. We had pretend concerts, we had
"scale races" - anything to make sure that I was actually at the piano
doing the work. It worked.
Third of all, introduce them to some people who can actually play the
piano, other than their teacher. If piano playing is just some weird
torture ritual they're going through, with no relevance to the adult
world they see around them, they won't want to do it as much as if they
knew a 'cool' adult who plays the piano really well.
As for resentment - when a kid sees actual progress, they'll want to
keep going. After a while, piano playing became "natural' to me - it
was something that came easily and that I could have fun doing. I
would sit and improvise or sight-read for fun (still do, in fact). At
that point, resentment was out of the question.
LM
I think the whole business of learning to play the piano becomes a
matter of the source of the thing --- viz., WHO is making the decision?
Is it the adult who for whatever reasons wants to play and hence the
matter of motivation at least present to begin with or is it the child
where in that case, ahhhh, who has the motivation, the child .... or is
it more so Mom and Dad! IMO, that makes a big difference! Since the
theme in this thread seems to focus on children, fine, then let's talk
children.

Bottom line, WHO is deciding that a musical instrument is the way to go?
If it is, in fact, Mom and Dad, or 'whoever', then the big question
becomes one of child motivation. Firstly, is it there? Secondly, if
motivation 'is' there from the child, is there in fact the 'talent' to
play! There is this idea that if Mom or Dad or both or Granny or Grandpa
played 'whatever', then the 'genes' are de facto present and so the
conclusion, quite erroneous in my view, becomes that any resistance to
'whatever' instrument and its requisite practice is merely a case of
child laziness. Is it? I mean as a universal axiom of faith so to speak.

I believe far too many children are 'forced' into the study of a musical
instrument and 'parental' excuses are being made after a YEAR or more of
forced lessons that Johnny/Janey simply has to 'get serious' and
'discipline themselves' for the instrument and all will allegedly be
well. Oh? And how many 'years' will that require? I think the piano
literature itself and I mean in terms of piano personalities, will show
over and over again that the motivation to play 'whatever' instrument
did NOT stem from external sources but rather, for a multitude of
reasons, with the player! Of ANY age!

Forcing 'motivation' on a consistent basis [please note well that
'qualifier'] out of a child after months and indeed years go by when the
motivation is simply not there and, hey, the overall results seem to
confirm same, is akin to getting blood out of a stone. That's not being
'unkind' BTW, that's being realistic! But then, here is where
'realistic' goals and expectations enter the mix albeit 'without' the
parental backbite or the equally ubiquitous 'not working to
expectations' syndrome! Question then becomes, WHOSE expectation(s)?
Player ... or prodder! Parental or otherwise. As they use to say back in
the Heimat, der Stoff zum Nachdenken, was? [* Food for thought, yes?]


Doc Tony


A sudden voice: "Huh? That surname sounds "I-talian" to me! What's with
the German!" [don't ask!] ;-)
Dr. Anthony J. Lomenzo
2006-10-01 00:27:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dr. Anthony J. Lomenzo
Post by p***@yahoo.com
Post by Kath
Post by p***@yahoo.com
Hmm. I will disagree on that philosophy; in fact, the 10-minute-a-day
idea is why I no longer teach piano. It is simply not enough; the
kids don't progress. They practice 10 minutes a day, they stay
exactly at the same level for a year, then they get bored and quit.
Or, their parents keep forcing them to practice, and they keep doing
that and keep being miserable - because they can sense the lack of
progress. Sure, it establishes a daily habit - but that habit is
frequently as joyous and entertaining as brushing your teeth, too.
<snipped>
So what are some suggestions for getting kids to practise for one or two
hours a day without them resenting you for it?
First of all, start with a kid who wants to be able to play the piano;
do not force the kid to play if he doesn't want to. My parents had
repeatedly asked me whether or not I wanted to quit; I always said no.
Second of all, make practice into a game. My mother used every ounce
of imagination she possessed to make practicing fun for me when I was
5; I practiced 1 hour a day then. We had pretend concerts, we had
"scale races" - anything to make sure that I was actually at the piano
doing the work. It worked.
Third of all, introduce them to some people who can actually play the
piano, other than their teacher. If piano playing is just some weird
torture ritual they're going through, with no relevance to the adult
world they see around them, they won't want to do it as much as if they
knew a 'cool' adult who plays the piano really well.
As for resentment - when a kid sees actual progress, they'll want to
keep going. After a while, piano playing became "natural' to me - it
was something that came easily and that I could have fun doing. I
would sit and improvise or sight-read for fun (still do, in fact). At
that point, resentment was out of the question.
LM
I think the whole business of learning to play the piano becomes a
matter of the source of the thing --- viz., WHO is making the decision?
Is it the adult who for whatever reasons wants to play and hence the
matter of motivation at least present to begin with or is it the child
where in that case, ahhhh, who has the motivation, the child .... or is
it more so Mom and Dad! IMO, that makes a big difference! Since the
theme in this thread seems to focus on children, fine, then let's talk
children.
Bottom line, WHO is deciding that a musical instrument is the way to go?
If it is, in fact, Mom and Dad, or 'whoever', then the big question
becomes one of child motivation. Firstly, is it there? Secondly, if
motivation 'is' there from the child, is there in fact the 'talent' to
play! There is this idea that if Mom or Dad or both or Granny or Grandpa
played 'whatever', then the 'genes' are de facto present and so the
conclusion, quite erroneous in my view, becomes that any resistance to
'whatever' instrument and its requisite practice is merely a case of
child laziness. Is it? I mean as a universal axiom of faith so to speak.
I believe far too many children are 'forced' into the study of a musical
instrument and 'parental' excuses are being made after a YEAR or more of
forced lessons that Johnny/Janey simply has to 'get serious' and
'discipline themselves' for the instrument and all will allegedly be
well. Oh? And how many 'years' will that require? I think the piano
literature itself and I mean in terms of piano personalities, will show
over and over again that the motivation to play 'whatever' instrument
did NOT stem from external sources but rather, for a multitude of
reasons, with the player! Of ANY age!
Forcing 'motivation' on a consistent basis [please note well that
'qualifier'] out of a child after months and indeed years go by when the
motivation is simply not there and, hey, the overall results seem to
confirm same, is akin to getting blood out of a stone. That's not being
'unkind' BTW, that's being realistic! But then, here is where
'realistic' goals and expectations enter the mix albeit 'without' the
parental backbite or the equally ubiquitous 'not working to
expectations' syndrome! Question then becomes, WHOSE expectation(s)?
Player ... or prodder! Parental or otherwise. As they use to say back in
the Heimat, der Stoff zum Nachdenken, was? [* Food for thought, yes?]
Doc Tony
A sudden voice: "Huh? That surname sounds "I-talian" to me! What's with
the German!" [don't ask!] ;-)
Addendum!

Thanks for those emails but please keep in mind that I can't condense 50
years of observation into 4 paragraphs and thus the possibility of being
wholly misinterpreted looms large and becomes obvious! I do NOT knock
the lessons thing nor, to the extent possible, 'encouraging' children to
the max to not just have an ardent appreciation for music, ALL
variations of music BTW and not 'just classical music', but the
instruments involved in that process as well but, I say but, there is a
vast difference between 'encouraging' and 'forcing' and that was at
least one of my points.

The other was that the said observation and the time frame in which I
have witnessed same showed, IN FACT, far too many children literally
dragged into music 'and' the instrument on the theory that the child is
another Mozart! You might chuckle at this but I've seen it and
concurrent, I'll add at once, with the same Mozartian, if you will,
expectations!

Banging the keys on a toy piano at age 3 or 4 is NOT a de facto
'indication' of a prodigy! Merely attempting to press individual keys is
NOT de facto 'proof' of a prodigy nor is singing along at an early age!
Half the battle of not so much a prodigy but merely talent to play
decently 'any' instrument is one of early age "observation" of the child
even before the instrument becomes a sort of lure to the child in its
own right. Patience! Don't force it, let it develop slowly. There is no
rush unless you are absolutely convinced that your child is the one who
will be and indeed should be the future Van Cliburn gold medalist and
there's simply no time to waste in getting that requisite foundation
before it's allegedly 'too late' [!] -- keep in mind, it's NEVER too
late to play the piano decently!

I'll say it until I'm blue in the face [or other posters wish for that
event forthwith], expectations vs realities! Sometimes one has to accept
the fact that either one's SELF --or-- their progeny has reached a level
in which further advancement is questionable. In that case, as to
progress, I 'would' say that the later comes the motivation and the
ability to play 'well', the lower the chance, competitively, to reach
that 'stage' [think about that one] but then what was the goal? The
'stage' ... or playing decent piano? With some parents and teachers,
I'm not sure they have defined that goal! And all too often to the
detriment of the student!

Doc Tony
p***@yahoo.com
2006-10-01 15:11:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dr. Anthony J. Lomenzo
Post by p***@yahoo.com
Post by Kath
Post by p***@yahoo.com
Hmm. I will disagree on that philosophy; in fact, the 10-minute-a-day
idea is why I no longer teach piano. It is simply not enough; the
kids don't progress. They practice 10 minutes a day, they stay
exactly at the same level for a year, then they get bored and quit.
Or, their parents keep forcing them to practice, and they keep doing
that and keep being miserable - because they can sense the lack of
progress. Sure, it establishes a daily habit - but that habit is
frequently as joyous and entertaining as brushing your teeth, too.
<snipped>
So what are some suggestions for getting kids to practise for one or two
hours a day without them resenting you for it?
First of all, start with a kid who wants to be able to play the piano;
do not force the kid to play if he doesn't want to. My parents had
repeatedly asked me whether or not I wanted to quit; I always said no.
Second of all, make practice into a game. My mother used every ounce
of imagination she possessed to make practicing fun for me when I was
5; I practiced 1 hour a day then. We had pretend concerts, we had
"scale races" - anything to make sure that I was actually at the piano
doing the work. It worked.
Third of all, introduce them to some people who can actually play the
piano, other than their teacher. If piano playing is just some weird
torture ritual they're going through, with no relevance to the adult
world they see around them, they won't want to do it as much as if they
knew a 'cool' adult who plays the piano really well.
As for resentment - when a kid sees actual progress, they'll want to
keep going. After a while, piano playing became "natural' to me - it
was something that came easily and that I could have fun doing. I
would sit and improvise or sight-read for fun (still do, in fact). At
that point, resentment was out of the question.
LM
I think the whole business of learning to play the piano becomes a
matter of the source of the thing --- viz., WHO is making the decision?
Is it the adult who for whatever reasons wants to play and hence the
matter of motivation at least present to begin with or is it the child
where in that case, ahhhh, who has the motivation, the child .... or is
it more so Mom and Dad! IMO, that makes a big difference! Since the
theme in this thread seems to focus on children, fine, then let's talk
children.
Bottom line, WHO is deciding that a musical instrument is the way to go?
If it is, in fact, Mom and Dad, or 'whoever', then the big question
becomes one of child motivation. Firstly, is it there? Secondly, if
motivation 'is' there from the child, is there in fact the 'talent' to
play! There is this idea that if Mom or Dad or both or Granny or Grandpa
played 'whatever', then the 'genes' are de facto present and so the
conclusion, quite erroneous in my view, becomes that any resistance to
'whatever' instrument and its requisite practice is merely a case of
child laziness. Is it? I mean as a universal axiom of faith so to speak.
The "secondly", I think, is not as important. Why shouldn't a kid take
piano lessons if he wants to, regardless of whether he has any "talent"
or not? Sure, it's important to not torture the kid with unrealistic
expectations, but why not let the kid enjoy playing at whatever level
he's capable of achieving? We're not talking Carnegie Hall here - most
people who take piano lessons just play for their adoring friends and
family. Why not let the friends and family adore?

LM
Dr. Anthony J. Lomenzo
2006-10-01 15:47:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by p***@yahoo.com
Post by Dr. Anthony J. Lomenzo
Post by p***@yahoo.com
Post by Kath
Post by p***@yahoo.com
Hmm. I will disagree on that philosophy; in fact, the 10-minute-a-day
idea is why I no longer teach piano. It is simply not enough; the
kids don't progress. They practice 10 minutes a day, they stay
exactly at the same level for a year, then they get bored and quit.
Or, their parents keep forcing them to practice, and they keep doing
that and keep being miserable - because they can sense the lack of
progress. Sure, it establishes a daily habit - but that habit is
frequently as joyous and entertaining as brushing your teeth, too.
<snipped>
So what are some suggestions for getting kids to practise for one or two
hours a day without them resenting you for it?
First of all, start with a kid who wants to be able to play the piano;
do not force the kid to play if he doesn't want to. My parents had
repeatedly asked me whether or not I wanted to quit; I always said no.
Second of all, make practice into a game. My mother used every ounce
of imagination she possessed to make practicing fun for me when I was
5; I practiced 1 hour a day then. We had pretend concerts, we had
"scale races" - anything to make sure that I was actually at the piano
doing the work. It worked.
Third of all, introduce them to some people who can actually play the
piano, other than their teacher. If piano playing is just some weird
torture ritual they're going through, with no relevance to the adult
world they see around them, they won't want to do it as much as if they
knew a 'cool' adult who plays the piano really well.
As for resentment - when a kid sees actual progress, they'll want to
keep going. After a while, piano playing became "natural' to me - it
was something that came easily and that I could have fun doing. I
would sit and improvise or sight-read for fun (still do, in fact). At
that point, resentment was out of the question.
LM
I think the whole business of learning to play the piano becomes a
matter of the source of the thing --- viz., WHO is making the decision?
Is it the adult who for whatever reasons wants to play and hence the
matter of motivation at least present to begin with or is it the child
where in that case, ahhhh, who has the motivation, the child .... or is
it more so Mom and Dad! IMO, that makes a big difference! Since the
theme in this thread seems to focus on children, fine, then let's talk
children.
Bottom line, WHO is deciding that a musical instrument is the way to go?
If it is, in fact, Mom and Dad, or 'whoever', then the big question
becomes one of child motivation. Firstly, is it there? Secondly, if
motivation 'is' there from the child, is there in fact the 'talent' to
play! There is this idea that if Mom or Dad or both or Granny or Grandpa
played 'whatever', then the 'genes' are de facto present and so the
conclusion, quite erroneous in my view, becomes that any resistance to
'whatever' instrument and its requisite practice is merely a case of
child laziness. Is it? I mean as a universal axiom of faith so to speak.
The "secondly", I think, is not as important. Why shouldn't a kid take
piano lessons if he wants to, regardless of whether he has any "talent"
or not? Sure, it's important to not torture the kid with unrealistic
expectations, but why not let the kid enjoy playing at whatever level
he's capable of achieving? We're not talking Carnegie Hall here - most
people who take piano lessons just play for their adoring friends and
family. Why not let the friends and family adore?
LM
I was referring here to the perspective of the 'parent' who often
'assumes' the talent whether it is present or not! Actually, we're in
agreement because if number one 'is' present [motivation], then I would
suggest that 75% of the proverbial 'battle' has been achieved because it
remains a fact that some have the talent to do very well and others
simply do not although I'm the one arguing for piano as a pleasure
versus that solely of a labor.

Then too, I've heard various and sundry make the claim that the skill
comes 'easy' to them although their actual playing may say otherwise ...
except to themselves of course. Now me, I advocate whatever works for
the enjoyment of both music and the instrument and in fact I 'rebel'
against the idea that, indeed, Carnegie Hall or indeed Fort Worth for
the 'career launch' is perhaps or should be the goal. Playing decent
piano is the goal although methods and so-called 'strategies' vary
widely. But then, so do players! What comes allegedly 'easy' for one may
be quite difficult for another [sight-reading comes to mind] and vice
versa of course.


Doc Tony
Dr. Anthony J. Lomenzo
2006-10-01 16:21:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dr. Anthony J. Lomenzo
Post by p***@yahoo.com
Post by Dr. Anthony J. Lomenzo
Post by p***@yahoo.com
Post by Kath
Post by p***@yahoo.com
Hmm. I will disagree on that philosophy; in fact, the
10-minute-a-day
idea is why I no longer teach piano. It is simply not enough; the
kids don't progress. They practice 10 minutes a day, they stay
exactly at the same level for a year, then they get bored and quit.
Or, their parents keep forcing them to practice, and they keep doing
that and keep being miserable - because they can sense the lack of
progress. Sure, it establishes a daily habit - but that habit is
frequently as joyous and entertaining as brushing your teeth, too.
<snipped>
So what are some suggestions for getting kids to practise for one or two
hours a day without them resenting you for it?
First of all, start with a kid who wants to be able to play the piano;
do not force the kid to play if he doesn't want to. My parents had
repeatedly asked me whether or not I wanted to quit; I always said no.
Second of all, make practice into a game. My mother used every ounce
of imagination she possessed to make practicing fun for me when I was
5; I practiced 1 hour a day then. We had pretend concerts, we had
"scale races" - anything to make sure that I was actually at the piano
doing the work. It worked.
Third of all, introduce them to some people who can actually play the
piano, other than their teacher. If piano playing is just some weird
torture ritual they're going through, with no relevance to the adult
world they see around them, they won't want to do it as much as if they
knew a 'cool' adult who plays the piano really well.
As for resentment - when a kid sees actual progress, they'll want to
keep going. After a while, piano playing became "natural' to me - it
was something that came easily and that I could have fun doing. I
would sit and improvise or sight-read for fun (still do, in fact). At
that point, resentment was out of the question.
LM
I think the whole business of learning to play the piano becomes a
matter of the source of the thing --- viz., WHO is making the decision?
Is it the adult who for whatever reasons wants to play and hence the
matter of motivation at least present to begin with or is it the child
where in that case, ahhhh, who has the motivation, the child .... or is
it more so Mom and Dad! IMO, that makes a big difference! Since the
theme in this thread seems to focus on children, fine, then let's talk
children.
Bottom line, WHO is deciding that a musical instrument is the way to go?
If it is, in fact, Mom and Dad, or 'whoever', then the big question
becomes one of child motivation. Firstly, is it there? Secondly, if
motivation 'is' there from the child, is there in fact the 'talent' to
play! There is this idea that if Mom or Dad or both or Granny or Grandpa
played 'whatever', then the 'genes' are de facto present and so the
conclusion, quite erroneous in my view, becomes that any resistance to
'whatever' instrument and its requisite practice is merely a case of
child laziness. Is it? I mean as a universal axiom of faith so to speak.
The "secondly", I think, is not as important. Why shouldn't a kid take
piano lessons if he wants to, regardless of whether he has any "talent"
or not? Sure, it's important to not torture the kid with unrealistic
expectations, but why not let the kid enjoy playing at whatever level
he's capable of achieving? We're not talking Carnegie Hall here - most
people who take piano lessons just play for their adoring friends and
family. Why not let the friends and family adore?
LM
I was referring here to the perspective of the 'parent' who often
'assumes' the talent whether it is present or not! Actually, we're in
agreement because if number one 'is' present [motivation], then I would
suggest that 75% of the proverbial 'battle' has been achieved because it
remains a fact that some have the talent to do very well and others
simply do not although I'm the one arguing for piano as a pleasure
versus that solely of a labor.
Then too, I've heard various and sundry make the claim that the skill
comes 'easy' to them although their actual playing may say otherwise ...
except to themselves of course. Now me, I advocate whatever works for
the enjoyment of both music and the instrument and in fact I 'rebel'
against the idea that, indeed, Carnegie Hall or indeed Fort Worth for
the 'career launch' is perhaps or should be the goal. Playing decent
piano is the goal although methods and so-called 'strategies' vary
widely. But then, so do players! What comes allegedly 'easy' for one may
be quite difficult for another [sight-reading comes to mind] and vice
versa of course.
Doc Tony
LM:

Just a thought here if only for purposes of expanded discussion --- you
specifically mention age '5' and your mother coming up with strategies
for purposes of practice, OK, WHAT brought YOU to the piano? Was it your
mother or did something occur [including even the mere presence of a
piano in the household] that motivated you to gravitate to the piano. I
have my reasons for asking.

Doc Tony
p***@yahoo.com
2006-10-01 17:05:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dr. Anthony J. Lomenzo
Just a thought here if only for purposes of expanded discussion --- you
specifically mention age '5' and your mother coming up with strategies
for purposes of practice, OK, WHAT brought YOU to the piano? Was it your
mother or did something occur [including even the mere presence of a
piano in the household] that motivated you to gravitate to the piano. I
have my reasons for asking.
Hmm. The reason my parents got a piano in the first place, according
to the family story, is that, as I was listening to a classical
recording at the age of 3, I turned to my mother and said "Isn't this
by the same composer as that other piece we heard at the concert hall?"
I was right. There were other indications of musical interest /
talent - I had perfect pitch, I was always singing/humming to myself,
etc., but the way my parents put it, the above story was the
determining factor.

LM
Dr. Anthony J. Lomenzo
2006-10-01 18:25:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by p***@yahoo.com
Post by Dr. Anthony J. Lomenzo
Just a thought here if only for purposes of expanded discussion --- you
specifically mention age '5' and your mother coming up with strategies
for purposes of practice, OK, WHAT brought YOU to the piano? Was it your
mother or did something occur [including even the mere presence of a
piano in the household] that motivated you to gravitate to the piano. I
have my reasons for asking.
Hmm. The reason my parents got a piano in the first place, according
to the family story, is that, as I was listening to a classical
recording at the age of 3, I turned to my mother and said "Isn't this
by the same composer as that other piece we heard at the concert hall?"
I was right. There were other indications of musical interest /
talent - I had perfect pitch, I was always singing/humming to myself,
etc., but the way my parents put it, the above story was the
determining factor.
LM
Good enough -- my interest in asking was essentially whether you were
'drawn' to it ... versus that of being 'dragged' to same.

Perfect pitch and humming to yourself, you say .... Hmmmm .... you 'do'
shake hands with folks you meet and no handing them a printed form as to
the reasons why you can't, yes? WAIT NOW --- think our rather eccentric
although now unfortunately departed Canadian friend, 'GG' [Glenn Gould].
Anyway, thanks for the response.


Doc Tony
p***@yahoo.com
2006-10-01 19:33:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dr. Anthony J. Lomenzo
Post by p***@yahoo.com
Post by Dr. Anthony J. Lomenzo
Just a thought here if only for purposes of expanded discussion --- you
specifically mention age '5' and your mother coming up with strategies
for purposes of practice, OK, WHAT brought YOU to the piano? Was it your
mother or did something occur [including even the mere presence of a
piano in the household] that motivated you to gravitate to the piano. I
have my reasons for asking.
Hmm. The reason my parents got a piano in the first place, according
to the family story, is that, as I was listening to a classical
recording at the age of 3, I turned to my mother and said "Isn't this
by the same composer as that other piece we heard at the concert hall?"
I was right. There were other indications of musical interest /
talent - I had perfect pitch, I was always singing/humming to myself,
etc., but the way my parents put it, the above story was the
determining factor.
LM
Good enough -- my interest in asking was essentially whether you were
'drawn' to it ... versus that of being 'dragged' to same.
Dragging didn't really work with me; I was a very stubborn kid (and now
am a very stubborn adult...). My mother tried to get me signed up for
gymnastics - that didn't last very long at all. Not only was I
completely untalented, but I did not want to be there at all; and
despite all of my mother's considerable efforts, eventually she got the
message.
Post by Dr. Anthony J. Lomenzo
Perfect pitch and humming to yourself, you say .... Hmmmm .... you 'do'
shake hands with folks you meet and no handing them a printed form as to
the reasons why you can't, yes? WAIT NOW --- think our rather eccentric
although now unfortunately departed Canadian friend, 'GG' [Glenn Gould].
Anyway, thanks for the response.
Heh - if I could only play like that... <sigh>

LM
Beach Runner
2006-10-01 17:16:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by p***@yahoo.com
Post by p***@yahoo.com
The "secondly", I think, is not as important. Why shouldn't a kid take
piano lessons if he wants to, regardless of whether he has any "talent"
or not? Sure, it's important to not torture the kid with unrealistic
expectations, but why not let the kid enjoy playing at whatever level
he's capable of achieving? We're not talking Carnegie Hall here - most
people who take piano lessons just play for their adoring friends and
family. Why not let the friends and family adore?
LM
We learn music to become better people and to understand music. There
may
be other reasons.

Children that learn music develop structures in their brain that enance
their
ability to do abstract math, physics and other creative functions.
It's not a matter
how well they play, but the actual result of learning.

Google Music and MRI and read the amazing studies.

It becomes obvious that a country that is cutting back on the arts is
really cutting
back on science, math, physics and creativity.

It's easy to say it should be a child's choice, but we must teach
children how to
make choices for the rest of their life. And the most important time
to learn musicial
skills is before most teachers will work with children. When they are
toddlers. That's when
they should be having fun ear training, rhythmic studies, dance, pitch
matching, intervals,
and active involvement in learning. I suppose, from what I know that
Kindermusic is such
a program. I know when I teach children from such a program, they do
much better.
Roland Hutchinson
2006-10-01 18:04:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by Beach Runner
Children that learn music develop structures in their brain that enance
their
ability to do abstract math, physics and other creative functions.
It's not a matter
how well they play, but the actual result of learning.
Google Music and MRI and read the amazing studies.
It becomes obvious that a country that is cutting back on the arts is
really cutting
back on science, math, physics and creativity.
Just wanted to say that:

(1) I couldn't agree with you more

and

(2) Something's gone very wonky with your line length -- any chance you can
fix that?
--
Roland Hutchinson              Will play viola da gamba for food.

NB mail to my.spamtrap [at] verizon.net is heavily filtered to
remove spam.  If your message looks like spam I may not see it.
Dr. Anthony J. Lomenzo
2006-10-01 18:50:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by Beach Runner
Post by p***@yahoo.com
Post by p***@yahoo.com
The "secondly", I think, is not as important. Why shouldn't a kid take
piano lessons if he wants to, regardless of whether he has any "talent"
or not? Sure, it's important to not torture the kid with unrealistic
expectations, but why not let the kid enjoy playing at whatever level
he's capable of achieving? We're not talking Carnegie Hall here - most
people who take piano lessons just play for their adoring friends and
family. Why not let the friends and family adore?
LM
We learn music to become better people and to understand music. There
may
be other reasons.
Children that learn music develop structures in their brain that enance
their
ability to do abstract math, physics and other creative functions.
It's not a matter
how well they play, but the actual result of learning.
Google Music and MRI and read the amazing studies.
It becomes obvious that a country that is cutting back on the arts is
really cutting
back on science, math, physics and creativity.
Don't get me started on 'that' one! It is a veritable tragedy that the
cumulative Arts in the US educational system are all too often relegated
to the proverbial 4th fiddle [or worse] while sports seems to be 'the'
fundamental concern! When any mention of school system belt tightening
begins and the old 'we gotta' cut something' syndrome rears its head, it
always seems to be the Arts that first gets the, shall we say, hatchet
of least resistance as it were!

Recall the flick "Mr. Holland's Opus", hey, there was/is truth in the
script dialogue as Holland opines to his coach amigo, viz., "Don't
worry, if they ever cut sports, that would be the end of western
civilization!"

In effect, the hoop, pigskin, et al FIRST and preserved at virtually any
cost [read: to the detriment of the Arts] --- and later for the band
UNLESS the band can be demonstrated to have an ad hoc supportive role to
that of sports! Then, perhaps, something can be done. Ready for this? So
I hear some years ago ... "Well, Doc, simply to tune the school piano
professionally would cost $150 and those "monsters" [sic] don't do well
in 'marching bands' ..... ." Well, so much for the 'school piano' that
simply sat there painfully out of tune! What's that? Yeah, I had it
tuned at 'my' cost and now it sits there 'in' tune but with no takers
because I was 'reminded' [!] that it was a public school and not a music
conservatory "who cater to such things" [sic!]. As I said, don't get me
started on the 'back-seat' role of the Arts in various school districts
unless the folks of that community speak up for same!

Doc Tony
Post by Beach Runner
It's easy to say it should be a child's choice, but we must teach
children how to
make choices for the rest of their life. And the most important time
to learn musicial
skills is before most teachers will work with children. When they are
toddlers. That's when
they should be having fun ear training, rhythmic studies, dance, pitch
matching, intervals,
and active involvement in learning. I suppose, from what I know that
Kindermusic is such
a program. I know when I teach children from such a program, they do
much better.
g***@best.cut.here.com
2006-10-01 20:26:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by Beach Runner
Post by p***@yahoo.com
Post by p***@yahoo.com
The "secondly", I think, is not as important. Why shouldn't a kid take
piano lessons if he wants to, regardless of whether he has any "talent"
or not? Sure, it's important to not torture the kid with unrealistic
expectations, but why not let the kid enjoy playing at whatever level
he's capable of achieving? We're not talking Carnegie Hall here - most
people who take piano lessons just play for their adoring friends and
family. Why not let the friends and family adore?
LM
We learn music to become better people and to understand music. There
may be other reasons.
Children that learn music develop structures in their brain that enance
their ability to do abstract math, physics and other creative functions.
It's not a matter how well they play, but the actual result of learning.
This topic is being debated on other newsgroups, so I thought I'd
xpost to see what both communities have to say to each other. One
issue that seems to be debatable is what it means to be able to do
"abstract math" (or even what "abstract math") is. Another is whether
it is a good idea to introduce children to music early in the hopes
that they will develop skills in subjects like "abstract math" rather
than just for the sake of music appreciation and enjoyment.
Post by Beach Runner
It becomes obvious that a country that is cutting back on the arts is
really cutting back on science, math, physics and creativity.
It's easy to say it should be a child's choice, but we must teach
children how to make choices for the rest of their life. And the
most important time to learn musicial skills is before most teachers
will work with children. When they are toddlers. That's when they
should be having fun ear training, rhythmic studies, dance, pitch
Post by Beach Runner
matching, intervals, and active involvement in learning. I
suppose, from what I know that Kindermusic is such a program. I know
when I teach children from such a program, they do much better.
--gregbo
gds at best dot com
Donna Metler
2006-10-01 21:34:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by g***@best.cut.here.com
Post by Beach Runner
Post by p***@yahoo.com
Post by p***@yahoo.com
The "secondly", I think, is not as important. Why shouldn't a kid take
piano lessons if he wants to, regardless of whether he has any "talent"
or not? Sure, it's important to not torture the kid with unrealistic
expectations, but why not let the kid enjoy playing at whatever level
he's capable of achieving? We're not talking Carnegie Hall here - most
people who take piano lessons just play for their adoring friends and
family. Why not let the friends and family adore?
LM
We learn music to become better people and to understand music. There
may be other reasons.
Children that learn music develop structures in their brain that enance
their ability to do abstract math, physics and other creative functions.
It's not a matter how well they play, but the actual result of learning.
This topic is being debated on other newsgroups, so I thought I'd
xpost to see what both communities have to say to each other. One
issue that seems to be debatable is what it means to be able to do
"abstract math" (or even what "abstract math") is. Another is whether
it is a good idea to introduce children to music early in the hopes
that they will develop skills in subjects like "abstract math" rather
than just for the sake of music appreciation and enjoyment.
Post by Beach Runner
It becomes obvious that a country that is cutting back on the arts is
really cutting back on science, math, physics and creativity.
It's easy to say it should be a child's choice, but we must teach
children how to make choices for the rest of their life. And the
most important time to learn musicial skills is before most teachers
will work with children. When they are toddlers. That's when they
should be having fun ear training, rhythmic studies, dance, pitch
Post by Beach Runner
matching, intervals, and active involvement in learning. I
suppose, from what I know that Kindermusic is such a program. I know
when I teach children from such a program, they do much better.
In general, any of the developmental schools of music learning embrace music
via immersion in the early years-that children learn best by doing,
observing, and participating, with little risk or fear of failure, and
relatively limited structure. In general, it's accepted that this sort of
music instruction, which may come via a program like Kindermusik, Music
Together, Musikgarten or many others or may also come just from having
parents who sing, dance around, and make music part of their child's life,
should begin before age 3-ideally pretty much from birth (the jury is still
out on whether prenatal exposure does much of anything, even though my
mother claimed I would kick in time to music before birth). There's no real
reason to prefer one method over another-while each is slightly different,
all are working from largely the same philosophical basis, and a competent
teacher can do a very good program with any of the above curricula (and,
conversely, the best curriculum in the world won't make a good teacher out
of someone who simply doesn't have the content background AND the feel for
young children required for such a program). I'm very biased towards
University-based prep programs, which serve as both teacher-training labs
and programs for children in the community, because they tend to have very
high level instructors and reasonable tuitions (and yes, this is the type of
program I teach through), and have a natural sequence of development from
group lessons to more intensive instruction, performance opportunities, and
allow a child who is truly gifted to move on to University level instruction
whenever ready-which, for some students, can be in their early teens.

Even Suzuki, which is often seen as pushing early music lessons, really is
more of the same-the idea in Suzuki is that children are immersed in music
from birth, and, as young preschoolers are given the opportunity, in play,
to mimic a parent who is playing an instrument-first on a toy version, then
on a fully-functional miniature instrument, taking lessons with the parent,
practicing beside them, in exactly the same way a child of that age loves
doing ANYTHING big people do. As the child develops, the child starts to
take control of their own musical learning, and the parent gradually drops
back into more of a spectator role-but is still an active partner. Some
children move through the stages quicker than others, and a child might be
playing independently at age 3, or at age 6, and neither is considered to be
"ahead" or "behind"-and, by age 12, it probably won't be apparent which
started earlier (sometimes not even by age 8 or so).

Most US parents don't do a good job of the early years, and assume that
music lessons start when formal classes begin-almost half of my preschool
and early elementary Kindermusik classes are parents who wanted their child
to start Suzuki and were told by the Suzuki teacher that their child really
needed more preliminary skills before starting private lessons-so they come
to me for a year or two.
--
Donna DeVore Metler
Orff Music Specialist/Kindermusik
Mother to Angel Brian Anthony 1/1/2002, 22 weeks, severe PE/HELLP
And Allison Joy, 11/25/04 (35 weeks, PIH, Pre-term labor)
Post by g***@best.cut.here.com
--gregbo
gds at best dot com
Kath
2006-09-30 23:10:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by p***@yahoo.com
Post by Kath
So what are some suggestions for getting kids to practise for one or
two hours a day without them resenting you for it?
First of all, start with a kid who wants to be able to play the piano;
do not force the kid to play if he doesn't want to. My parents had
repeatedly asked me whether or not I wanted to quit; I always said no.
Second of all, make practice into a game. My mother used every ounce
of imagination she possessed to make practicing fun for me when I was
5; I practiced 1 hour a day then. We had pretend concerts, we had
"scale races" - anything to make sure that I was actually at the piano
doing the work. It worked.
Third of all, introduce them to some people who can actually play the
piano, other than their teacher. If piano playing is just some weird
torture ritual they're going through, with no relevance to the adult
world they see around them, they won't want to do it as much as if
they knew a 'cool' adult who plays the piano really well.
As for resentment - when a kid sees actual progress, they'll want to
keep going. After a while, piano playing became "natural' to me - it
was something that came easily and that I could have fun doing. I
would sit and improvise or sight-read for fun (still do, in fact). At
that point, resentment was out of the question.
Thank you for your reply, that all sounds good.

I've been doing your third point a bit with my niece - she's about 8 and is
learning violin. It's a very musical family, but because she's not in any
ensembles (which some of us are), she doesn't see a lot of playing going on.
So recently when I've been going over to visit, I've been taking my violin
and we've been having some fun with it. It's pretty much directed by her
what we do (rather than it being adult directed, as so many things in a
child's life is). Last time we played some duets, she played a couple of her
current pieces, she asked me to play some of the harder pieces in her book,
then she put the Suzuki CD on with some of the harder pieces and I played
along with that. Then she put on Fur Elise (piano) and wanted me to play
along with that on violin!'

At one point I did a big D major then G major swoosh (not sure what it's
called - when you're playing eg the bottom two strings then the top two in a
G major arpeggio but with a big flourish) and she was wide-eyed, she loved
that!

Oh, and I also found the sheet music for Bob the Builder online and we
learnt the first line of that, which I suppose was like a lesson, but
something a bit different for her.
--
Katharine
beat: what music students do to each other with their instruments. The
down beat is performed on top of the head, while the up beat is struck under
the chin.
Beach Runner
2006-09-30 12:02:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by p***@yahoo.com
Post by Beach Runner
Post by Perth
1. Remain calm but firm; don't nag, threaten, get angry, or give
up. Brushing teeth is not optional, and neither is practicing. 10
minutes a day is fine at the beginning.
The ten minutes a day concept is wonderful. I've always said 15 minutes
a day. What you are trying to do is create a daily habit. There is
not
doubt that if a child practices 10 or 15 minutes a day, they will
make progress. If they do it every day, they will get into a practice
habit. They will then often find they "get into" something and that
10 minute period is an hour.
The idea is, you can never make up the next day what you miss one day.
I love it, and Children understand and are willing to do 10 minutes a
day.
Hmm. I will disagree on that philosophy; in fact, the 10-minute-a-day
idea is why I no longer teach piano. It is simply not enough; the kids
don't progress. They practice 10 minutes a day, they stay exactly at
the same level for a year, then they get bored and quit. Or, their
parents keep forcing them to practice, and they keep doing that and
keep being miserable - because they can sense the lack of progress.
Sure, it establishes a daily habit - but that habit is frequently as
joyous and entertaining as brushing your teeth, too.
I had two students who progressed amazingly well in the two years I
taught them; from an absolute beginner level to simple Mozart sonatas
in one year, a similar level of progress the second year. Why? They
practiced 2 hours a day, every day. The rest of my students stayed at
the same bare-bones five-finger beginner level for years; they'd come
to me with the same piece with the same mistakes in it week after week
after week, until their parents were ready to climb the walls (and so
was I). Why? 10 minutes a day of "practice". Sure, they were willing
to do 10 minutes a day - but it did them no good whatsoever.
I practiced 1.5 hours a day, every day, starting at age 6. It took me
15 minutes just to do all my scales and arpeggios. This is why I am
still playing.
LM
I understand your feelings. The real goal is not to get a child to
only play
10 minutes or 15 minutes a day. It is to develop a practice habit.
Just like
I sleep EVERY day, i eat EVERY day, I practice EVERY day.

As far as coming with same mistakes. Students must learn that practice
itself does not improve. Perfect practice. I compare learning to play
with
Kata. In Kata, the movements slowed down dramatically, so that only
the correct, efficient moves are put into muscle memory. the same
with music students andpractice. I suggest a student slow down, slow
it down more, and then slow it down, so they can make every movement
perfectly.

The speed will come with efficient movement.
p***@yahoo.com
2006-09-30 19:48:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by Beach Runner
Post by p***@yahoo.com
after week, until their parents were ready to climb the walls (and so
was I). Why? 10 minutes a day of "practice". Sure, they were willing
to do 10 minutes a day - but it did them no good whatsoever.
I practiced 1.5 hours a day, every day, starting at age 6. It took me
15 minutes just to do all my scales and arpeggios. This is why I am
still playing.
LM
I understand your feelings. The real goal is not to get a child to
only play
10 minutes or 15 minutes a day. It is to develop a practice habit.
Just like
I sleep EVERY day, i eat EVERY day, I practice EVERY day.
Well, but kids are not stupid. The goal of taking piano lessons is not
"to develop a practice habit" - it is to learn to play the piano. If
this 10-minute-a-day thing is not getting them any closer to that goal,
why do it?

Personally, I've always hated the idea of developing certain habits "to
make me a better person", with no other goal in mind. My father is
really into that, and used to drive me absolutely nuts with totally
illogical demands that somehow would "improve me". When I worked an
evening job, he would bug me every morning to wake up early. Why? It
would "improve my willpower". Never mind that it was completely
unnecessary, and if anything, detracted from my work performance - it
would "make me a better person" and develop "a waking-up-early habit".
Mind you, when I worked normal hours, I had no trouble waking up
early; it is the waste of effort that I object to.

If the goal is to learn to play the piano - rather than to "become a
better person", the student needs to practice more than 10 minutes a
day. If the parents want to torture the kid into "developing good work
habits", they should force him to do something else (dig ditches, say);
why taint his future enjoyment of music with this torture?
Post by Beach Runner
As far as coming with same mistakes. Students must learn that practice
itself does not improve. Perfect practice. I compare learning to play
with
Kata. In Kata, the movements slowed down dramatically, so that only
the correct, efficient moves are put into muscle memory. the same
with music students andpractice. I suggest a student slow down, slow
it down more, and then slow it down, so they can make every movement
perfectly.
The speed will come with efficient movement.
Yes; but that takes more than 10 minutes a day.

LM
Janet Puistonen
2006-09-30 21:43:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by p***@yahoo.com
If the goal is to learn to play the piano - rather than to "become a
better person", the student needs to practice more than 10 minutes a
day. If the parents want to torture the kid into "developing good
work habits", they should force him to do something else (dig
ditches, say); why taint his future enjoyment of music with this
torture?
Although I certainly agree that eventually 10 minutes per day will not be
enough, as a starting point for a child of 4, it is probably realistic.
p***@yahoo.com
2006-10-01 15:04:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by Janet Puistonen
Post by p***@yahoo.com
If the goal is to learn to play the piano - rather than to "become a
better person", the student needs to practice more than 10 minutes a
day. If the parents want to torture the kid into "developing good
work habits", they should force him to do something else (dig
ditches, say); why taint his future enjoyment of music with this
torture?
Although I certainly agree that eventually 10 minutes per day will not be
enough, as a starting point for a child of 4, it is probably realistic.
I should ask my parents how long my practice sessions where when I was
4. I have the vague memory that I wasn't practicing, per se, at all; I
had "music appreciation" instead. Basically, a teacher came by and
played for me, played music games with me - I wasn't required to
practice, it was all for fun. I started serious practicing when I was
5, and practiced an hour a day.

LM
Janet Puistonen
2006-10-01 20:28:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by p***@yahoo.com
Post by Janet Puistonen
Post by p***@yahoo.com
If the goal is to learn to play the piano - rather than to "become a
better person", the student needs to practice more than 10 minutes a
day. If the parents want to torture the kid into "developing good
work habits", they should force him to do something else (dig
ditches, say); why taint his future enjoyment of music with this
torture?
Although I certainly agree that eventually 10 minutes per day will
not be enough, as a starting point for a child of 4, it is probably
realistic.
I should ask my parents how long my practice sessions where when I was
4. I have the vague memory that I wasn't practicing, per se, at all;
I had "music appreciation" instead. Basically, a teacher came by and
played for me, played music games with me - I wasn't required to
practice, it was all for fun. I started serious practicing when I was
5, and practiced an hour a day.
LM
That's a huge amount for a kid of that age. I cannot imagine most five year
olds--including those I know who are now choosing to participate in the
local youth symphony, so they may not be the second coming of Midori, but
they have chosen to play up to a decent level-- practising the violin for an
hour a day. It is simply too physically and mentally stressful. The piano is
less so, but nevertheless I would suggest to you that in this you were
highly unusual.
p***@yahoo.com
2006-10-01 21:35:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by Janet Puistonen
Post by p***@yahoo.com
Post by Janet Puistonen
Post by p***@yahoo.com
If the goal is to learn to play the piano - rather than to "become a
better person", the student needs to practice more than 10 minutes a
day. If the parents want to torture the kid into "developing good
work habits", they should force him to do something else (dig
ditches, say); why taint his future enjoyment of music with this
torture?
Although I certainly agree that eventually 10 minutes per day will
not be enough, as a starting point for a child of 4, it is probably
realistic.
I should ask my parents how long my practice sessions where when I was
4. I have the vague memory that I wasn't practicing, per se, at all;
I had "music appreciation" instead. Basically, a teacher came by and
played for me, played music games with me - I wasn't required to
practice, it was all for fun. I started serious practicing when I was
5, and practiced an hour a day.
LM
That's a huge amount for a kid of that age. I cannot imagine most five year
olds--including those I know who are now choosing to participate in the
local youth symphony, so they may not be the second coming of Midori, but
they have chosen to play up to a decent level-- practising the violin for an
hour a day. It is simply too physically and mentally stressful. The piano is
less so, but nevertheless I would suggest to you that in this you were
highly unusual.
Not unusual at all in Russia. Everyone in my music-school class
practiced either the same amount or more - and I attended a fairly
average music school, not an elite one. My piano teacher expected this
of me, but she also expected it of all her other students.

Not sure how it worked for violin, though. It may be that
violin-playing is a lot more physically stressful and that a young kid
physically can't play that much. I don't play violin myself, so I
can't tell.

LM
Perth
2006-10-08 17:39:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by p***@yahoo.com
Not unusual at all in Russia. Everyone in my music-school class
practiced either the same amount or more - and I attended a fairly
average music school, not an elite one. My piano teacher expected this
of me, but she also expected it of all her other students.
But the culture of Russia is so different than the states. I had
friends who did a tour over there, and they nearly starved and had to
wash their clothes in a bathtub. To put things in perspective read
this recent article from the Los Angeles Times: "Russia is rapidly
losing population. Its people are succumbing to one of the world\'s
fastest-growing AIDS epidemics, resurgent tuberculosis, rampant
cardiovascular disease, alcohol and drug abuse, smoking, suicide and
the lethal effects of unchecked industrial pollution. In addition,
abortions outpaced births last year by more than 100,000. An estimated
10 million Russians of reproductive age are sterile because of botched
abortions or poor health. The public healthcare system is collapsing.
And many parents in more prosperous urban areas say they can't afford
homes large enough for the number of children they'd like to have."

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-empty8oct08,0,6474678,full.story?coll=la-home-world

...I guess the logic being that if conditions are intense and serious,
any music making will have to be of the "serious" sort, versus the
"self-improvement" sort?

Connie
www.geocities.com/conniesunday/
Beach Runner
2006-10-08 18:11:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by Perth
Post by p***@yahoo.com
Not unusual at all in Russia. Everyone in my music-school class
practiced either the same amount or more - and I attended a fairly
average music school, not an elite one. My piano teacher expected this
of me, but she also expected it of all her other students.
But the culture of Russia is so different than the states. I had
friends who did a tour over there, and they nearly starved and had to
wash their clothes in a bathtub. To put things in perspective read
this recent article from the Los Angeles Times: "Russia is rapidly
losing population. Its people are succumbing to one of the world\'s
fastest-growing AIDS epidemics, resurgent tuberculosis, rampant
cardiovascular disease, alcohol and drug abuse, smoking, suicide and
the lethal effects of unchecked industrial pollution. In addition,
abortions outpaced births last year by more than 100,000. An estimated
10 million Russians of reproductive age are sterile because of botched
abortions or poor health. The public healthcare system is collapsing.
And many parents in more prosperous urban areas say they can't afford
homes large enough for the number of children they'd like to have."
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-empty8oct08,0,6474678,full.story?coll=la-home-world
...I guess the logic being that if conditions are intense and serious,
any music making will have to be of the "serious" sort, versus the
"self-improvement" sort?
Connie
www.geocities.com/conniesunday/
I went to see the Moscow Symphony a few years ago. They were
incredible! I went to talk to the bass players, they didn't speak
English, but we communicated. When I was close, I saw only the first
row of players wore nice shoes and socks. After that they wore
threadbare socks, and what looked the cheapest old junk shoes. They
were poor.

Unfortunately, I had no money in my pocket or I would have given the
bass players some money. I would have liked to take the bass section
out a meal the next day, but we couldn't communicate. They did manage
to tell me that all the basses belonged to the Orchestra and was 18th
century Italian basses.

One of my closest friends played cello in the Warsaw Symphony and was
the associate conductor under
Communism. There was much work for musicians, and as pointed out, they
practiced very hard. Only the worst taught. But they made vitually
no money. Under Communism you couldn't get toilet paper or a light
bulb. He was being groomed as the next conductor of this world class
symphony.

He was sent to International Conducting Competition in Paris in 1970,
and never returned, giving up his
family, his life, and the orchestra he loved. He said living under
Communism was like living in jail.
Perth
2006-10-08 18:40:13 UTC
Permalink
He said living under Communism was like living in jail.
Yeah, bless them. At least our two countries didn't destroy each other
in mutual nucular war, which was the abiding fear in my generation.
Now we have this current war to contend with. The young people of
every generation look back on past conflicts and, if we're lucky, ask
what all the fuss was about. I wonder if it will be so in this case.
Maybe if we'd been more respectful of the Arabs all along, it wouldn't
have happened. I don't know. I'm just a simple violin teacher.

Bob, I'm going to get and read all these books by Thomas Friedman:

The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century
The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization
From Beirut to Jerusalem (Updated with a New Chapter)
Longitudes and Attitudes: The World in the Age of Terrorism
(links at: http://www.geocities.com/conniesunday/new.html )

I'm expecting the first one soon. Do you know this guy? Apparently
he's a columnist on the Times. I wonder if these are any good. I like
Toffler's books and I always get a lot of peace reading those, along
with Howard Zinn.

Connie
Richard Schultz
2006-10-09 10:58:27 UTC
Permalink
In rec.music.makers.piano Perth <***@australiamail.com> wrote:

: Maybe if we'd been more respectful of the Arabs all along, it wouldn't
: have happened.

One place to start might have been knowing that the Iranians aren't Arabs.

-----
Richard Schultz ***@mail.biu.ac.il
Department of Chemistry, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel
Opinions expressed are mine alone, and not those of Bar-Ilan University
-----
"I've lost my harmonica, Albert."
Beach Runner
2006-10-10 01:48:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by Perth
He said living under Communism was like living in jail.
Yeah, bless them. At least our two countries didn't destroy each other
in mutual nucular war, which was the abiding fear in my generation.
Now we have this current war to contend with. The young people of
every generation look back on past conflicts and, if we're lucky, ask
what all the fuss was about. I wonder if it will be so in this case.
Maybe if we'd been more respectful of the Arabs all along, it wouldn't
have happened. I don't know. I'm just a simple violin teacher.
The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century
The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization
From Beirut to Jerusalem (Updated with a New Chapter)
Longitudes and Attitudes: The World in the Age of Terrorism
(links at: http://www.geocities.com/conniesunday/new.html )
I'm expecting the first one soon. Do you know this guy? Apparently
he's a columnist on the Times. I wonder if these are any good. I like
Toffler's books and I always get a lot of peace reading those, along
with Howard Zinn.
Connie
I've read From Beruit tot Jerusalem years ago. Wonderful book, but
his
theory was sadly proven wrong. I've read his columns for years on the
internet, but then they became Times Select.

A lot of people, including my hand surgeon recommended The World is
Flat,
as I go through re-creating myself after watching my world dissappear.

My uncle, years ago gave my parents the book, "The Secrets of Success"
when
they started a business. I remember reading it while in Junior High
School, and some
how, all these years, it followed me, house to house, state to state.
Fourty years of
so later, just for fun, I opened up that book, thinking I would laugh
at the antiquated
suggestions.

Page 1. The Number 1 rule for Success. Be Adaptable.

Couldn't be more relevant today.
p***@yahoo.com
2006-10-10 17:13:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by Perth
Post by p***@yahoo.com
Not unusual at all in Russia. Everyone in my music-school class
practiced either the same amount or more - and I attended a fairly
average music school, not an elite one. My piano teacher expected this
of me, but she also expected it of all her other students.
But the culture of Russia is so different than the states. I had
friends who did a tour over there, and they nearly starved and had to
wash their clothes in a bathtub.
Let's not exaggerate. I lived in Russia for 13 years; my parents lived
there for 47 and 50 years, respectively. None of us starved, and we
had a perfectly good washing machine, thank you very much. Mind you,
it was not a pleasant place to live in (hence our emigration to the US
- the anti-Semitism was just too much to take); but neither was it the
kind of Third-World horror you're describing.
Post by Perth
...I guess the logic being that if conditions are intense and serious,
any music making will have to be of the "serious" sort, versus the
"self-improvement" sort?
I'm not sure how much "self-improvement" is accomplished by practicing
10 minutes a day. None, in my opinion.

Also, consider the experience of Asian immigrants to the US; their
living conditions are the same as those of any American, and yet they
work hard and achieve a lot. The two Vietnamese piano students I had
both practiced 2 hours a day - and achieved quite spectacular results.
And they lived in comfortable American conditions; a nice house in the
San Francisco Bay Area, both parents working and earning well, kids
attending a good school. Somehow, that hasn't prevented them from
taking their endeavors seriously.

LM
Perth
2006-10-11 00:45:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by p***@yahoo.com
Post by p***@yahoo.com
Let's not exaggerate.
Note that I didn't write the Times article, nor originate the anecdotal
remarks by my friends. I've neer been to Russia, and have no idea
whether these reportages are accurate currently, or not.
Post by p***@yahoo.com
Post by p***@yahoo.com
Post by p***@yahoo.com
Not unusual at all in Russia. Everyone in my music-school class
practiced either the same amount or more - and I attended a fairly
average music school, not an elite one. My piano teacher expected this
of me, but she also expected it of all her other students.
But the culture of Russia is so different than the states. I had
friends who did a tour over there, and they nearly starved and had to
wash their clothes in a bathtub.
Let's not exaggerate. I lived in Russia for 13 years; my parents lived
there for 47 and 50 years, respectively. None of us starved, and we
had a perfectly good washing machine, thank you very much. Mind you,
it was not a pleasant place to live in (hence our emigration to the US
- the anti-Semitism was just too much to take); but neither was it the
kind of Third-World horror you're describing.
Post by p***@yahoo.com
...I guess the logic being that if conditions are intense and serious,
any music making will have to be of the "serious" sort, versus the
"self-improvement" sort?
I'm not sure how much "self-improvement" is accomplished by practicing
10 minutes a day. None, in my opinion.
Also, consider the experience of Asian immigrants to the US; their
living conditions are the same as those of any American, and yet they
work hard and achieve a lot. The two Vietnamese piano students I had
both practiced 2 hours a day - and achieved quite spectacular results.
And they lived in comfortable American conditions; a nice house in the
San Francisco Bay Area, both parents working and earning well, kids
attending a good school. Somehow, that hasn't prevented them from
taking their endeavors seriously.
LM
Beach Runner
2006-10-11 11:03:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by p***@yahoo.com
Post by Perth
Post by p***@yahoo.com
Not unusual at all in Russia. Everyone in my music-school class
practiced either the same amount or more - and I attended a fairly
average music school, not an elite one. My piano teacher expected this
of me, but she also expected it of all her other students.
But the culture of Russia is so different than the states. I had
friends who did a tour over there, and they nearly starved and had to
wash their clothes in a bathtub.
Let's not exaggerate. I lived in Russia for 13 years; my parents lived
there for 47 and 50 years, respectively. None of us starved, and we
had a perfectly good washing machine, thank you very much. Mind you,
it was not a pleasant place to live in (hence our emigration to the US
- the anti-Semitism was just too much to take); but neither was it the
kind of Third-World horror you're describing.
How many starved to death under Stalinism? How many dissappeared?
What about what they did to Eastern Europe. My friend was in Warsaw
and conditions were as bad as they could be.

When the best Orchestra in Russia comes to out town, most of the
members don't even have a good pair of socks.

My Jazz band conductor saw a leading Russian band come to town,
not unlike the Moscow Symphony. He gave a trumpet player a
mouth piece. He was besides himself with gratitude, his own
mouthpiece.

I have a friend after a divorce that is on one of these "romantic"
tours in
the Ukraine and Russia. Woman are dying to get out of there.
Beautiful,
highly educated woman looking for old farts to get to a better life.

http://www.anastasiaweb.com

When that is going on with one of the most advanced nations in the
world,
something is seriously wrong.
t***@hotmail.com
2006-10-11 13:38:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by Beach Runner
Beautiful,
highly educated woman looking for old farts to get to a better life.
http://www.anastasiaweb.com
Thanks for the reference. :)))

IMHO if is not only OK but it's a parent's duty to push their kids.
Push them in math, push them in languages, push them in sciences. Why
not then, push them in music? The natural order of things is towards
entropy, funny as that may sound, and it takes discipline and organized
work to put things in their rightful place. Kids don't know what is
good for them and even when they do, like adults, they need
"encouragement". The degree of "encouragement" is proportional to the
apathy of the child. Great if the kid loves his music lessons and
doesn't need to be pushed, but if he is a "normal" child, forceful
encouragement is fine from time to time to keep him on the straight and
narrow.

Discipline is the great substitute for motivation. Until you are old
or wise enough to appreciate the myriad advantages of a musical
education, stick to discipline and the motivation will come later.

I hated my piano lessons as a kid. But I thank my parents everytime I
pick up the violin today. Everyone in our home plays atleast one
musical instrumentand our home is filled with music thanks in no small
part to the perseverance of my parents. My parents told me that my
piano lessons were just as important as my regular school work. They
told me each of us had a responsability in our household and mine was
to obey them and to study hard and learn as much as I could. After
all, I did not have to go out in the rice fields to bring food to our
table or scavenge for money to put a roof over our heads. One of the
best things my parents ever taught me was to bring me to the full
realization at a young age that I was one of the fortunate ones. My
life was easy. This is a lesson many kids have not yet learned in our
north american Nintendo culture.

Tien
Beach Runner
2006-10-11 11:04:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by p***@yahoo.com
Post by Perth
Post by p***@yahoo.com
Not unusual at all in Russia. Everyone in my music-school class
practiced either the same amount or more - and I attended a fairly
average music school, not an elite one. My piano teacher expected this
of me, but she also expected it of all her other students.
But the culture of Russia is so different than the states. I had
friends who did a tour over there, and they nearly starved and had to
wash their clothes in a bathtub.
Let's not exaggerate. I lived in Russia for 13 years; my parents lived
there for 47 and 50 years, respectively. None of us starved, and we
had a perfectly good washing machine, thank you very much. Mind you,
it was not a pleasant place to live in (hence our emigration to the US
- the anti-Semitism was just too much to take); but neither was it the
kind of Third-World horror you're describing.
How many starved to death under Stalinism? How many dissappeared?
What about what they did to Eastern Europe. My friend was in Warsaw
and conditions were as bad as they could be.

When the best Orchestra in Russia comes to out town, most of the
members don't even have a good pair of socks.

My Jazz band conductor saw a leading Russian band come to town,
not unlike the Moscow Symphony. He gave a trumpet player a
mouth piece. He was besides himself with gratitude, his own
mouthpiece.

I have a friend after a divorce that is on one of these "romantic"
tours in
the Ukraine and Russia. Woman are dying to get out of there.
Beautiful,
highly educated woman looking for old farts to get to a better life.

http://www.anastasiaweb.com

When that is going on with one of the most advanced nations in the
world,
something is seriously wrong.
Ben Bradley
2006-09-27 04:03:18 UTC
Permalink
In rec.music.makers.piano and rec.music.makers.bowed-strings,
Post by Perth
...
[From my studio page]
There is a very good (and amusing) book on this subject: _How to get
your child to practice without resorting to violence_.
http://tinyurl.com/fpdao
Interestingly, I got this book, used, for a few dollars on Amazon, just
a few months ago. Now they have three used copies and they want
$149US! I can't believe it. I wouldn't pay that price for it, but
find an alternative resource, borrow it from interlibrary loan, or
request it on ebay. Strange, prices of books...
I've bought and sold books online and have an idea of how this
happens. My guess is it sold out, then some seller was entering a copy
and saw there were none others available on Amazon, so hoping it might
be valuable and in-demand he "threw a price on the wall" then one or
two others followed up with similar prices, thinking (falsely) that
the first seller must have had some good reason to come up with that
price.
I looked on bookfinder.com and found a "reasonably priced" $20 copy
as well as the outrageous prices, but I also googled the title and
found this page selling it for a reasonable $12.99:

http://www.sharmusic.com/itemdy00.asp?T1=H181&Cat=

Looking for that title brought up some interesting sites. Maybe if
I can get my "Inner Child" to practice consistently...

http://www.kenfoster.com/Articles/Practicing.htm
http://jazzkids.com/tips/index.html
http://giftofmusicstudio.com/My_Homepage_Files/Page4.html
http://www.brassstages.com/parents/practice.html
Post by Perth
1. Remain calm but firm; don't nag, threaten, get angry, or give
up. Brushing teeth is not optional, and neither is practicing. 10
minutes a day is fine at the beginning.
2. Create a musical environment: this will include listening to
the Suzuki CD's, other CD's of classical music or other musics, going
to concerts, and listening to NPR (National Public Radio) programs with
classical music. Have music on all the time, or at least during meals
and before bedtime.
3. Make it fun and enjoyable. Let the child be happy and loved at
all times. Never make being loved contingent on whether they practice,
or whether they do well.
4. Use lots of praise, even for the smallest thing, and even if it
sounds awful. There is always something positive to say: "You really
worked hard" "That sounded pretty good" "That was much better than last
time." No negative or derogatory remarks!!
Perth
2006-09-27 15:24:18 UTC
Permalink
Interesting, Ben, thank you. I'm trying to collect all the Samuel
Applebaum _They Way they Play_. I studied with Applebaum at Manhattan
School in the late '60's. The prices are all over the map. Alibris
seems to have the most extensive collection:

http://tinyurl.com/jx9xz

But I hate paying that much if I can find them elsewhere. Not always
an easy task.

Connie
Post by Ben Bradley
In rec.music.makers.piano and rec.music.makers.bowed-strings,
Post by Perth
...
[From my studio page]
There is a very good (and amusing) book on this subject: _How to get
your child to practice without resorting to violence_.
http://tinyurl.com/fpdao
Interestingly, I got this book, used, for a few dollars on Amazon, just
a few months ago. Now they have three used copies and they want
$149US! I can't believe it. I wouldn't pay that price for it, but
find an alternative resource, borrow it from interlibrary loan, or
request it on ebay. Strange, prices of books...
I've bought and sold books online and have an idea of how this
happens. My guess is it sold out, then some seller was entering a copy
and saw there were none others available on Amazon, so hoping it might
be valuable and in-demand he "threw a price on the wall" then one or
two others followed up with similar prices, thinking (falsely) that
the first seller must have had some good reason to come up with that
price.
I looked on bookfinder.com and found a "reasonably priced" $20 copy
as well as the outrageous prices, but I also googled the title and
http://www.sharmusic.com/itemdy00.asp?T1=H181&Cat=
Looking for that title brought up some interesting sites. Maybe if
I can get my "Inner Child" to practice consistently...
http://www.kenfoster.com/Articles/Practicing.htm
http://jazzkids.com/tips/index.html
http://giftofmusicstudio.com/My_Homepage_Files/Page4.html
http://www.brassstages.com/parents/practice.html
Post by Perth
1. Remain calm but firm; don't nag, threaten, get angry, or give
up. Brushing teeth is not optional, and neither is practicing. 10
minutes a day is fine at the beginning.
2. Create a musical environment: this will include listening to
the Suzuki CD's, other CD's of classical music or other musics, going
to concerts, and listening to NPR (National Public Radio) programs with
classical music. Have music on all the time, or at least during meals
and before bedtime.
3. Make it fun and enjoyable. Let the child be happy and loved at
all times. Never make being loved contingent on whether they practice,
or whether they do well.
4. Use lots of praise, even for the smallest thing, and even if it
sounds awful. There is always something positive to say: "You really
worked hard" "That sounded pretty good" "That was much better than last
time." No negative or derogatory remarks!!
Perth
2006-09-29 14:04:42 UTC
Permalink
The 10 minute thing is to start, when they're FOUR. I start students
on both violin and piano, at age four. Not the older students. I
wouldn't expect a student studying Czerny, Hanon, and Bach to practice
just 10 minutes. Likewise, on violin or viola, one with Suzuki book
3+, Hrimay, Wohlfahrt, Trott Doublstops, Whistler Shifting. I do tell
the string players they can do half their books one day, half the next
-- if they have a LOT of homework, are football players or are studying
for the spelling contests.

If you expect a four year old to practice more than 10 minutes, good
luck. Maybe two or even three 10 minutes, during the day, if they
parents (the home teachers) are that disciplined (one hopes but it
doesn't happen every instance) -- but 10 minutes is a great goal for
the beginners.

I used to practice both piano and violin virtually all the time when I
was in elementary school. In the morning, at school during recess, and
after school, usually three hours. My parents had to stop me. They
put a brick on the soft pedal of the piano, I was so loud. School was
easy and I did my homework at school. I don't know if I would be able
to do that now, in this century. Kids have a LOT of homework
nowadays!!!

:-)
Connie
Post by Perth
Interesting, Ben, thank you. I'm trying to collect all the Samuel
Applebaum _They Way they Play_. I studied with Applebaum at Manhattan
School in the late '60's. The prices are all over the map. Alibris
http://tinyurl.com/jx9xz
But I hate paying that much if I can find them elsewhere. Not always
an easy task.
Connie
Post by Ben Bradley
In rec.music.makers.piano and rec.music.makers.bowed-strings,
Post by Perth
...
[From my studio page]
There is a very good (and amusing) book on this subject: _How to get
your child to practice without resorting to violence_.
http://tinyurl.com/fpdao
Interestingly, I got this book, used, for a few dollars on Amazon, just
a few months ago. Now they have three used copies and they want
$149US! I can't believe it. I wouldn't pay that price for it, but
find an alternative resource, borrow it from interlibrary loan, or
request it on ebay. Strange, prices of books...
I've bought and sold books online and have an idea of how this
happens. My guess is it sold out, then some seller was entering a copy
and saw there were none others available on Amazon, so hoping it might
be valuable and in-demand he "threw a price on the wall" then one or
two others followed up with similar prices, thinking (falsely) that
the first seller must have had some good reason to come up with that
price.
I looked on bookfinder.com and found a "reasonably priced" $20 copy
as well as the outrageous prices, but I also googled the title and
http://www.sharmusic.com/itemdy00.asp?T1=H181&Cat=
Looking for that title brought up some interesting sites. Maybe if
I can get my "Inner Child" to practice consistently...
http://www.kenfoster.com/Articles/Practicing.htm
http://jazzkids.com/tips/index.html
http://giftofmusicstudio.com/My_Homepage_Files/Page4.html
http://www.brassstages.com/parents/practice.html
Post by Perth
1. Remain calm but firm; don't nag, threaten, get angry, or give
up. Brushing teeth is not optional, and neither is practicing. 10
minutes a day is fine at the beginning.
2. Create a musical environment: this will include listening to
the Suzuki CD's, other CD's of classical music or other musics, going
to concerts, and listening to NPR (National Public Radio) programs with
classical music. Have music on all the time, or at least during meals
and before bedtime.
3. Make it fun and enjoyable. Let the child be happy and loved at
all times. Never make being loved contingent on whether they practice,
or whether they do well.
4. Use lots of praise, even for the smallest thing, and even if it
sounds awful. There is always something positive to say: "You really
worked hard" "That sounded pretty good" "That was much better than last
time." No negative or derogatory remarks!!
Janet Puistonen
2006-09-23 18:14:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by szhang101
I am a music lover but don't play instrument. I have a 11 year-old
boy who's been learning violin for 2 years, started clarinet last
September with his school band (no private teacher), and recently
started to learn piano. With these lessons, he has to practice 2-3
instruments everyday, about 30 minutes each, and it's usually a
struggle. He hates violin and threatened to quit from time to time,
I THINK because he can't play well enough to enjoy it yet. Clarinet
happens to be his favorite, I THINK because it associates with the
school and he wants to be the best in his class. Piano is in
between, I THINK because it's at the very early stage and simple
enough for him, and it will become a burden later.
I don't expect him to become professional in music; I just want him
to have something he can enjoy in his life besides whatever he
chooses to do.
I think it's a great idea for children to play at least one instrument, but
I do think that it ought to be an instrument that he or she *likes*. Why did
he start the violin if he "hates" it? Does he actively dislike the sound
under his ear, or does he just hate practicing? If it was your choice, and
he has never really enjoyed it at all, I'd let him quit as long as a) he
tells his teacher himself, and b) he continues with at least one of the
other instruments. Another thought is that he might prefer a different
stringed instrument. If violin was his choice, and he was enthusiastic at
first, I'd try to get him to persist, or switch. He night prefer the sound
of the cello or viola, for example. And if he quits violin and doesn't take
up something else from the string section, I'd get him a clarinet teacher.
(I think it's great to have an ensemble instrument in addition to piano.)
Although I'm generally opposed to letting kids quit instruments at the first
sign of resistance (or even the fifth sign! <G>), I can't imagine being
forced to play, say, the tuba because my parents picked it for me.

And yes, I do think it is okay to push kids to play--there comes a time when
almost everyone needs some prodding--but it has to be judicious and
positive.
szhang101
2006-09-26 01:26:14 UTC
Permalink
I was amazed seeing so many comments regarding this issue a few days after
my post. Thank you all.

My son was enthusiastic about violin when he started. Yes, it was my
choice. Clarinet came along one year after the violin lesson, when we had
to decide on an instrument or vocal for his school music class. He
absolutely hates singing, so we talked about violin, cello and clarinet, and
finally decided on the latter because a) violin would start from the very
beginning level, kind of boring for him; b) cello is also a string type,
bulky to carry, and requires size changes thus more costly; c) clarinet
gives correct tones all the time, and can involve him in some activities
(such as in a marching band) which he would avoid participating. In order
to get "A" for home practicing, he would practice 120 minutes or more per
week. I think because of his musical head start with violin, his clarinet
progressed faster than his class, and he enjoys that. Piano started during
our summer vacation abroad, and we didn't take any instrument along. So I
sent him to a local music school to take a few piano lessons, just to get
him working on rhythm. I found he liked it, too. After the vacation, I
talked about this with his violin teacher, who encouraged taking piano as a
second instrument, in order to improve his music theory and intonation.

The reason we didn't get a private clarinet teacher was based on his
opinions on various types of concerts we've been to. He thought classical
clarinet sounded boring, and it's only fun to play with a band. I guess he
might change his mind when he grows up and is able to enjoy jazz. But until
then, we'll keep clarinet as a school project.

The extend he "hates" violin is probably like that of Nancy's daughter. He
knows he has to practice 30 minutes and he would do it as his last activity
of the day (and sometimes secretly sets his timer to 25 minutes). When he
plays a perfect piece, he would brag about it. I used to practice along
with him during the first year, but I can't keep up any more. Now I just
listen to him and point out some obvious mistakes. I'm able to watch him
playing piano a couple of times per week and help with new pieces. Earlier
when we talked about which instrument he would prefer quitting, he chose
piano. But I still want him to learn more basics of the keyboard before
giving up after only a month. I have to thank your guys pointing out that 3
instruments are too much. I told him I'd let him quit violin or piano 1
year later, by his choice, but he has to try his best before that. He
happily agreed.

Jane
Post by szhang101
I am a music lover but don't play instrument. I have a 11 year-old boy
who's been learning violin for 2 years, started clarinet last September with
his school band (no private teacher), and recently started to learn piano.
With these lessons, he has to practice 2-3 instruments everyday, about 30
minutes each, and it's usually a struggle. He hates violin and threatened
to quit from time to time, I THINK because he can't play well enough to
enjoy it yet. Clarinet happens to be his favorite, I THINK because it
associates with the school and he wants to be the best in his class.
Piano
Post by szhang101
is in between, I THINK because it's at the very early stage and simple
enough for him, and it will become a burden later.
I don't expect him to become professional in music; I just want him to have
something he can enjoy in his life besides whatever he chooses to do. The
schoolwork is easy for him, and he doesn't like sports. So he could spend a
lot of time goofing around. The initial choices of violin and clarinet were
made because I THOUGHT he could take them to places and college without much
effort. Adding piano was due to my frustration with his out-of-tune violin
playing, and I hope it can help to train his ear, and to develop a stronger
sense of rhythm.
You must have sensed that I am imposing MY THOUGHTS on the poor little boy.
I often feel guilty pushing him to practice, but I don't trust his judgment
at his age, and I hope he'll appreciate one day that I didn't allow him to
quit. I want to hear your opinions on this.
Jane
p***@yahoo.com
2006-09-28 17:49:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by szhang101
The reason we didn't get a private clarinet teacher was based on his
opinions on various types of concerts we've been to. He thought classical
clarinet sounded boring, and it's only fun to play with a band. I guess he
might change his mind when he grows up and is able to enjoy jazz. But until
then, we'll keep clarinet as a school project.
Umm, why not teach him jazz clarinet to begin with? Surely there are
teachers around.

LM
phkmn
2006-10-12 15:55:10 UTC
Permalink
If you don't push, they never learn. I took piano as a kid but my
parents just said OK when I told them I wanted to quit, and I've
regretted that for the last 50 years.

3 instruments is too much, though. Concentrate on one after
discussion. A second for "fun" is good for school. String instruments
are difficult if you don't start in preschool years.

The good thing about piano is that you can pretty easily transition to
other instruments, at least at the fun level.
alfred
2006-10-13 06:51:33 UTC
Permalink
Too many instruments and the child might feel overwhelmed.

out of all the instruments, the Piano is the most complete.

The hands and forearms become agile and nimble enough so that taking up
another instrument becomes easier.

many guitar hotshots were piano players.

you do have to push the child, especially for reading, but only
self-motivation will get true results in the end.

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