Gifted Bulletin Board

Welcome to the Gifted Issues Discussion Forum.

We invite you to share your experiences and to post information about advocacy, research and other gifted education issues on this free public discussion forum.
CLICK HERE to Log In. Click here for the Board Rules.

Links
DITD Logo

Learn about the Davidson Academy’s online campus for profoundly gifted students living anywhere in the U.S.

The Davidson Institute for Talent Development is a national nonprofit dedicated to supporting profoundly gifted students through the following programs:

  • Davidson Fellows Scholarship
  • Davidson Young Scholars
  • Davidson Academy
  • THINK Summer Institute
  • DITD FaceBook   DITD Twitter   DITD YouTube
    The Davidson Institute is on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube!

    How gifted-friendly is
    your state?

    Subscribe to the Davidson Institute's eNews-Update

    Who's Online
    0 registered (), 0 Guests and 76 Spiders online.
    Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
    Newest Members
    SJ1, LAH33, velar, MercuryVenus, Emmy Mitchell
    11048 Registered Users
    October
    Su M Tu W Th F Sa
    1 2
    3 4 5 6 7 8 9
    10 11 12 13 14 15 16
    17 18 19 20 21 22 23
    24 25 26 27 28 29 30
    31
    Page 2 of 3 < 1 2 3 >
    Topic Options
    #232290 - 07/17/16 05:31 PM Re: music stagnating with 6 year old [Re: Mahagogo5]
    aquinas Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/02/12
    Posts: 2480
    I'd let her change instruments, take a break entirely from music lessons for a while, or just attend music lessons as long as she continues to make progress/enjoy herself. Six is really young, and people with talent are able to progress quickly on an instrument they love, so there's no hard and fast rule that early = achievement. I don't think there is any problem *not* obliging practise at her age. I'll bet if you did a survey of the musicians on this board, respondents would show they could achieve multiple levels of progress in a year on minimal practise.

    To me, music is such an intimate form of self-expression. It shouldn't be firmly dictated. Choice of instrument is really an extension of one's own voice. I think you're wise to consider expanding options beyond piano.

    With my DS, I open up the piano and let him have at it whenever he wants. Or, he'll sing a song that he's made up in his head, and I'll translate it into a melody and harmony parts. Or, while we're reading books, we create our own rhythm for reading. He loves seeing the music in action and being able to change it at a moment's notice to suit his mood or play. That, to me, is what music is ultimately about; telling a story or elaborating a feeling!

    Maybe this is just me, but playing others' music is only satisfying to a certain point because you're so constrained in terms of creative expression. I have favourite composers, but their music is really just a point of departure for my own composition. The real "release" I get from music is in the experimentation, the free play. Is your DD given an opportunity to compose in her lessons? Is the style of music she's playing consonant with her style? Is she allowed to experiment in her lessons and explore fusion, too?
    _________________________
    What is to give light must endure burning.

    Top
    #232291 - 07/17/16 08:23 PM Re: music stagnating with 6 year old [Re: Mahagogo5]
    sanne Offline
    Member

    Registered: 06/30/16
    Posts: 289
    I've lived both sides of this!

    My son is 9 and still not completely able to recognize when he has a problem in music. Or he knows he makes a mistake on a specific spot but doesn't now why. Or he is so absorbed in musicality that he has no interest in accuracy.

    Piano was awful for us, too much emotional baggage and family pressure. Maybe someday. In spite of very obvious high musical aptitude, he didn't have instrument lessons until 8 years old. Around 7 years old I started exposing him to trying various instruments. Nothing stuck, nothing fit. 8 years old I ended up taking a leap of faith and buying a trumpet, conditional on 3 years of lessons and practice.

    When I sit with him during home practice, he would progress quickly. When I didn't sit with him, he made no progress. He didn't know how to practice (and there have been glitches with his ADHD treatment). Fortunately he LOVES trumpet, idolizes a trumpet musician and is self motivated. But that wasn't enough.

    The turning point came unexpectedly in 3 ways this past summer.

    1) His band teacher switched schools and didn't have openings for private lessons over summer. I turned to the Internet to answer instrument specific questions. In doing this, we switched him from melody-based practice to technique-based practice. These are TOUGH exercises. But he's not getting stuck in the melody now. He's better able to stop and break down the problem. (Also because of modeling and my guidance)

    2) The significant one was we started Love & Logic parenting over the summer. I had to draw the line "I am not responsible for your trumpet practice, ability, skills" and "it really drains my energy when you are argumentative, disrespectful, unresponsive, oppositional in trumpet practice" and he'd do chores to "put my energy back" after trumpet practice. Only took a week, and home practice was no big deal.

    3) With his overall behavior improved with Love and Logic, he earned back screen privileges - use of his iPad, which has a tuner app on it. When I let him loose with the tuner app, for the first time he was practicing independently. Mom wasn't giving him feedback, a precision impartial, objective tool was giving him instant feedback. It was a huge difference. I also had saved college-level trumpet instruction webpages on his areas of interest on iBooks for him to read independently (because he doesn't have internet privileges). Now "real" professional musicians are the source of information, not Mom.

    Since these changes, he has improved so much in how much he practices, how goal-oriented and focused his practice is, and -most important to me - he's not fighting about trumpet practice anymore! Getting away from his band teacher was a big step forward. His band teacher wasn't hard enough on him (my son says so). His teacher would give him directions, but hot hold him to it. My son chose to not take trumpet lesson with him this coming school year. He now prefers to do trumpet with me - because "I'm picky" and hold him to work to his potential. And he makes more progress with me in the areas he is interested in - tone, intonation, articulation.

    You can research for yourself, but it's well documented that musical achievement is tied to parent involvement. Practice requires prompting. Individual practice skills require prompting.

    Extreme musical talent is not enough. I am example of that. My musical aptitude is off the charts. My parents were both piano teachers when I was a child. My dad is a piano technician to this day, and my mom keep their piano sales storefront open. I had violin lessons when I was too young to remember. I believe ages 2 - 4? I never progressed in violin. I had high ability in piano, but my parents "didn't want to push me". They put me in lessons with a horrible teacher for 3 years. That teacher had no idea I lacked proper instruction and publicly berated me in the school cafeteria (where we had piano lessons) for not being able to read music -- because I'd never been taught. After that I had 3 years with a good teacher. That's it. I tried to continue to progress like a classmate of mine. He had been my mom's piano student, but unlike me, he had parental involvement and guidance. We had been at the same level at one time. In high school, I pushed myself so hard (without instruction) that I developed repetitive stress injuries. Carpel tunnel, tendinitis, so many. Everything from my shoulders down is messed up. I couldn't play at all for years. My classmate with family support.... Yeah, he's AMAZING. Went to music conservatory, he's so skilled. Not just talented, but trained and skilled. And uninjured.

    My parent's desire to "not push" resulted in physical and emotional injury. I have a piano. I hate it. (Family heirloom, I'm stuck with it). I can barely play physically. And playing it is so emotionally upsetting I can't bear it. Sometimes I learn a little something and it's nice. And then I stupidly record it, am horrified, and the cycle repeats about once a year. If only they knew.....

    Top
    #232292 - 07/18/16 07:32 AM Re: music stagnating with 6 year old [Re: Mahagogo5]
    blackcat Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/23/13
    Posts: 2154
    My DD sounds like yours but she's older. I think we started lessons at 8 and she's now 10. She has progressed slowly because many weeks we did not do the lessons or she did not practice at all. I know it drives the teacher a little nuts because they don't really move through the books if the teacher has to go through the exercises with her when she should have done it at home. So in our case saying "don't worry, you don't have to practice" would kind of be ilke saying "don't worry, you don't need to do your math homework". It's kind of disrespectful to the instructor. Same thing happened w/ cello which she did through the school, except she was worse w/ cello. She practiced maybe 5 times the entire year but the teacher wanted something like 30 min. per day! I think the only reason she didn't look obviously behind the other kids was because she was using natural talent and cognitive ability to compensate. It's frustrating when you think of how good they would probably be if they actually put effort into it. We switched DD to a wind instrument/band and I'm praying she shows more interest in it than the cello. I think her main issue has been that she's somewhat of a perfectionist and avoids anything that is challenging in the beginning. With piano, she has become less resistant to practice as it becomes easier so I don't want to give up yet. Esp. since SHE wants to stay in the lessons. Good luck. I think you just have to find a balance. Practicing instruments is one of the things DD can do to earn screen time, and the instruments are preferable to things like loading the dishwasher.

    Top
    #232293 - 07/18/16 08:24 AM Re: music stagnating with 6 year old [Re: Mahagogo5]
    playandlearn Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/14/08
    Posts: 309
    Lots of insight already. I will add my kids' examples as another data point. Both of my kids love music, but for DS, the timing was tricky. He started piano at 4.5 yo, after some group lessons and a lot of urging from the group lesson teacher. I was going to wait till he was older, but the teacher just felt that he was ready and he was so talented, etc. So I started him with private lessons; he rebelled within a month -- he was not ready at all to do the boring daily practice. So I let him quit right away. I thought it was absolutely not necessary for him to take formal lessons at 4.5, especially if it would make him lose interest in music. DS started piano lessons again at 6, is still taking lessons now at 16. He is a wonderful pianist.

    DD11 started piano at 5.5 yo. But since she was 3-ish, she was picking out tunes on the piano by herself, she learned how to read music and could sit down with her brother's beginner books and play all the songs in them for a long time. She didn't need an audience, she simply enjoyed the music and the act of playing piano. She begged for piano lessons since she was 4.5 yo, and it took a year to plan things out with the teacher before she finally started lessons. However, after she started lessons, formal practice was built up very gradually. For the first year of lessons she probably practice 15-20 minutes each day. It increased to 45 minutes in the second year. Now she practices piano about an hour a day. But because she also plays violin (also started at 5.5 yo after a lot of begging from her), and she participates in a lot of musical theatre/opera performance, the practice time is appropriate. Her piano teacher also feels that it is adequate even if she wants to focus on piano later on.

    So I guess my points are that every kid is different, music learning comes in many forms besides sitting down and practicing the teacher's assignments, and that kids can well have different learning needs at each stage...

    Top
    #232295 - 07/18/16 09:33 AM Re: music stagnating with 6 year old [Re: Mahagogo5]
    George C Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/12/15
    Posts: 282
    As someone who is a professional musician who started playing piano "late" (age 7), I have some definite opinions about this. (I'm not suggesting I'm more qualified somehow to talk about this or anything. Just giving my background.)

    While I don't think that starting a child earlier than 7 is a bad thing, I think the expectations are generally a little different. You're generally going to see inconsistencies when a child is practicing unless you (figuratively) sit on them from time to time. That combined with the fact that most beginning piano books are, when it comes right down to it, really dull. As much as I get how pieces such as Down the Slide and Up the Slide can be used to teach ascending and descending notes and how to read musical notation, this gets old really fast. It's not really music, and it's immediately obvious to the child that this is so. A series that concentrates too much on building up technique gradually with little to no room for actual musical exploration is often met with disinterest and, sometimes, outright rebellion.

    So IMHO it's a pretty tall order to expect a 6-year-old to be self motivated when it comes to getting enough of the basics to get past the musical doldrums at the beginning. The long-term rewards are not usually evident to them yet.

    That said, there are plenty of music skills that you can help them develop at this age. Pitch matching and rhythm games, for instance, are remarkably effective at developing musical skills. Singing in a choir is another great one. Or, if you really want to continue to use piano as the musical medium, help your child pick out melodies that they have heard, or help them explore intervals on the piano, or... just let them sit there and mess around. It might not sound like they're doing a whole lot, but I can pretty much guarantee they're being much more audiophilic than you might think.

    Best of luck to you!

    Top
    #232296 - 07/18/16 09:53 AM Re: music stagnating with 6 year old [Re: Mahagogo5]
    George C Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/12/15
    Posts: 282
    Oh, I wanted to add...

    I'm not really certain I understand what level your daughter was playing at, and I was unclear what you meant by "showed great potential." It could also be that if she is transferring from audio-only learning to written music (which I think you said?) that she is finding this frustrating. Because it is. And to be perfectly honest, reading music is almost always overemphasized in the early years. I think it's because learning the notes is sort of a binary exercise: you either get it right or wrong, it's written there on the paper what the note should be, and such things are easy to correct and practice for. But the right notes is just one of 10 musical elements, all of which are important. Too often piano curriculum over-teaches note correctness and underteaches things like phrasing, articulation, and dynamics. And so you end up with a lot of piano students after a few years that are hyper-aware of when they make a note mistake but seem completely unaware of the other 9 elements. I'm not saying this is your daughter at all, in fact... it could be one of the reasons she is frustrated (i.e., she is aware of all 10 elements but is being taught to concentrate on just the 1).


    Edited by George C (07/18/16 09:55 AM)

    Top
    #232298 - 07/18/16 10:49 AM Re: music stagnating with 6 year old [Re: George C]
    aquinas Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/02/12
    Posts: 2480
    Originally Posted By: George C
    As someone who is a professional musician who started playing piano "late" (age 7), I have some definite opinions about this. (I'm not suggesting I'm more qualified somehow to talk about this or anything. Just giving my background.)

    While I don't think that starting a child earlier than 7 is a bad thing, I think the expectations are generally a little different. You're generally going to see inconsistencies when a child is practicing unless you (figuratively) sit on them from time to time. That combined with the fact that most beginning piano books are, when it comes right down to it, really dull. As much as I get how pieces such as Down the Slide and Up the Slide can be used to teach ascending and descending notes and how to read musical notation, this gets old really fast. It's not really music, and it's immediately obvious to the child that this is so. A series that concentrates too much on building up technique gradually with little to no room for actual musical exploration is often met with disinterest and, sometimes, outright rebellion.

    So IMHO it's a pretty tall order to expect a 6-year-old to be self motivated when it comes to getting enough of the basics to get past the musical doldrums at the beginning. The long-term rewards are not usually evident to them yet.

    That said, there are plenty of music skills that you can help them develop at this age. Pitch matching and rhythm games, for instance, are remarkably effective at developing musical skills. Singing in a choir is another great one. Or, if you really want to continue to use piano as the musical medium, help your child pick out melodies that they have heard, or help them explore intervals on the piano, or... just let them sit there and mess around. It might not sound like they're doing a whole lot, but I can pretty much guarantee they're being much more audiophilic than you might think.

    Best of luck to you!


    I echo George_c's comments, especially the comments about interest in beginner play. When DS started showing an interest in reading music, I bought easy piano scores from soundtracks of movies he likes. The melody in those songs is no more complicated than those in the beginner books, particularly if you treat an ostinato or phrase as a separate "song" anyway, and the thrill for a young child of being able to play an immediately recognisable song from a favourite movie is rewarding.
    _________________________
    What is to give light must endure burning.

    Top
    #232299 - 07/18/16 11:43 AM Re: music stagnating with 6 year old [Re: George C]
    sanne Offline
    Member

    Registered: 06/30/16
    Posts: 289
    Originally Posted By: George C
    Oh, I wanted to add...

    Too often piano curriculum over-teaches note correctness and underteaches things like phrasing, articulation, and dynamics. And so you end up with a lot of piano students after a few years that are hyper-aware of when they make a note mistake but seem completely unaware of the other 9 elements.


    Agreed! Last winter I asked my cousin - a middle school music teacher - for intermediate music theory resources for my then-8-year-old. My cousin chewed me out, included in his rant was that an 8-year-old "cannot recognize musical phrases". Hah, BS, my son does.

    Articulation, phrasing, dynamics are sorely under-taught. Unfortunate, since these *are* the difference between human musical artistry and robots. Computer programs and robots can play piano notes and rhythms, but that's not music (in my opinion). Reading music is like translating a foreign language. You can understand what it means and copy the sounds, but without articulation, phrasing, and dynamics you can't speak the language to be understood.

    Top
    #232337 - 07/19/16 11:59 AM Re: music stagnating with 6 year old [Re: Mahagogo5]
    Mahagogo5 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 06/11/12
    Posts: 517
    so many responses! DH and I were both musically inclined as kids and not at all encouraged by our parents so we both have a bit of baggage in this, although we are both very mindful that we don't want to drive her away from it. It's important to us that DD grows up with some artistic outlet of some form that she can use a means of expression/relaxation when she is an adult. We also see music important in and of itself, so I guess it's safe to say we value her continuing in music. However I want to make it clear that if at anytime she says she wants to quit we would let her. Already at 6 she has chosen a number of activities and refused to quit any of them (we have forced her to leave a couple). So I'm not bothered about giving her a quitters attitude!

    I do sit with her when she practises, she resists and then has a go, but its rarely a success. She def finds the books to be dull, she can hear a song on the radio and then play it (one note at a time - no chords) a few weeks later without hearing it again. I know she hasn't heard it since being as we generally don't play the radio and stick to stuff we know and love. She wants to play the flute but I understand she is too young at this stage. I would love for her to just mess about on the piano and take "music" lessons but she won't give up her teacher.

    I think I will give it one last serious attempt at practising (as per Mana's suggestion) and then just chill out and see what happens as she gets older.

    Top
    #232339 - 07/19/16 01:24 PM Re: music stagnating with 6 year old [Re: Mahagogo5]
    polarbear Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/29/11
    Posts: 3363
    Originally Posted By: Mahagogo5
    She wants to play the flute but I understand she is too young at this stage.


    Mahogogo5, if she really wants to learn how to play flute, she's not too young - there is a hooked head piece for the flute that bends in order to make the flute shorter than typical, specifically for young players. So from a technical standpoint, I wouldn't let age stand in the way of flute lessons if she's interested. OTOH, if she's only thinking of flute as a passing whimsy it would be better to wait until she's older and you don't have to invest in the special piece smile

    polarbear

    Top
    Page 2 of 3 < 1 2 3 >


    Moderator:  M-Moderator 
    Recent Posts
    Renaissance STAR assessment
    by Yanaz
    10/20/21 10:07 PM
    His doc is shocked.
    by aeh
    10/20/21 01:45 PM
    New York City to Phase Out Its Gifted and Talented
    by Wren
    10/20/21 08:49 AM
    Acceleration in high school
    by aeh
    10/17/21 05:56 PM
    Girls and autism
    by indigo
    10/16/21 09:57 PM
    Davidson Institute Twitter