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    #91627 - 12/28/10 12:29 PM Re: Piano lesson complaining - LONG [Re: passthepotatoes]
    Katelyn'sM om Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/22/08
    Posts: 1085
    Loc: Austin, TX
    Originally Posted By: passthepotatoes
    One thing I've always wondered about... Why music rather than art? Many people see it as a standard necessity that kids learn an instrument but very few people mandate drawing or dance lessons. Why is that?


    Why the assumption that it is either or? Though my DD is only 4 she has a love for dance, drawing/art of many types, and the piano. I think it is important to provide opportunities for her to explore. Her Christmas was full of many art supplies and she was thrilled to get them.

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    #91628 - 12/28/10 12:30 PM Re: Piano lesson complaining - LONG [Re: ABQMom]
    seablue Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/21/08
    Posts: 356
    Loc: by the sea
    Quote:
    Someone asked "why the arts, why music?"


    I asked that, rhetorically.

    Music, fine art, team* sports, and foreign language are required subjects in our house. smile

    (* What children learn on a team is different than what they can learn doing a sport independently.)

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    #91629 - 12/28/10 12:32 PM Re: Piano lesson complaining - LONG [Re: JaneSmith]
    La Texican Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/10/10
    Posts: 1777
    Loc: South Texas
    PTP, that's a very nice list of suggestions. I'm copying them to my notebook for future reference.
    _________________________
    Youth lives by personality, age lives by calculation. -- Aristotle on a calendar

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    #91630 - 12/28/10 12:37 PM Re: Piano lesson complaining - LONG [Re: JaneSmith]
    La Texican Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/10/10
    Posts: 1777
    Loc: South Texas
    Speaking of dance, we just went to a cousin's wedding and everybody there was complementing that my son was on the dance floor, dancing with the girls when appropriate, just dancing, everything. My heart bursts. It's so full.
    _________________________
    Youth lives by personality, age lives by calculation. -- Aristotle on a calendar

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    #91633 - 12/28/10 12:48 PM Re: Piano lesson complaining - LONG [Re: JaneSmith]
    La Texican Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/10/10
    Posts: 1777
    Loc: South Texas
    Somebody commented that some parents drag their kids to soccor practice, some drag them to church, some give them piano lessons. I have to agree with this supportive sentiment. I say it all the time about my kids (mostly to family members). The hubby agrees and says it too. "you raised your kids your way. Now it's my turn, and I'm going to raise my kid's the way I want."

    This is probably one of the few forums that's not tied to just one ideology or way of doing things. Everywhere they may have diversity, but this one has a great diversity of ideas by nature. Cheers.

    I love that someone could ask for advice or ask to discuss a Dilema and that people can have the insight to help the find the answer they are looking for and not just the obvious answer that works for everyone else. KWIM? Or did I just drink too much coffee again and I'm talking nonsense?
    _________________________
    Youth lives by personality, age lives by calculation. -- Aristotle on a calendar

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    #91635 - 12/28/10 12:55 PM Re: Piano lesson complaining - LONG [Re: JaneSmith]
    Giftodd Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/25/10
    Posts: 221
    Loc: Australia
    I don't see that the people suggesting that forcing a child to play an instrument they don't enjoy are saying that a child should be allow to give up anything that has made them cry once in a while (though they're welcome to correct me if I am wrong). Goodness knows my daughter would never do anything new if that was the case.

    What I see them saying is that if it is causing unhappiness then there is a question about whether or not it is worth doing. My daughter is only very young, just 5. She will drop an activity as soon as it's a challenge and fall in a heap on the floor. I'll explain to her why it's a challenge for her, why she shouldn't expect to be able to do it easily and what is likely to enable her to do it better down the track. I let her know she's welcome to ask for help. Often she doesn't. She likes to practice and perfect things on her own. Once she is calm she will go back to the activity without fail. If I think there is some piece of advice that will help her (like doing something slowly), I explain why it is important to start slowly (training your brain and muscles to do it the right way etc) and how it can end up being quicker to start slowly in the long run. When I have insisted she continue a task or that she do it my way, dd has simply never been interest in whatever activity I was insistent about again.

    Is it time consuming? Absolutely - but more so than dealing with consequence we see when she has been forced to do an activity. Do I sometimes think 'why wont you just get on with it???' Often. And frankly there are times when i don't have the patience for it and I don't deal with it as constructively as I might like to.

    I also think that insisting kids eat healthy food etc is in no way related to this. There are some things that are essential to a good life. Being healthy is a big part of that. I would argue that having access to and participating in music is too. However, insisting that that must be achieved through a particular instrument and/style makes no sense to me (why are people so insistent about piano? Sure it's versatile and a great basis from which to read music and play any instrument. But If you're not trying to set your kid up as a professional musician - surely their choice anyway - why not let them pick something different? You rarely see someone complaining about being forced to play the saxophone or drums or guitar. The great thing about music is that it can present a challenge regardless of the instrument).

    If it is persistence and resilience you're after there is a great book call the Optimistic Child by Martin Seligman (former president of the American Psychological Association). It has some great advice on encouraging and motivating kids. My own feeling is that developing persistence is something that we do in a whole host of ways. Insisting on playing the piano might be one way, but it seems to me to be a pretty negative way and I guess I feel there are likely to be healthier and more meaningful ways to do it.
    _________________________
    "If children have interest, then education will follow" - Arthur C Clarke

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    #91639 - 12/28/10 01:15 PM Re: Piano lesson complaining - LONG [Re: JaneSmith]
    MonetFan Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/14/09
    Posts: 75
    Jane,

    I understand your desire to have your child do something challenging. Piano is the only challenge my son ever gets. School is ridiculously!! easy for him, he has 3-5 minutes of homework 4 days a week, is the "star" of his soccer team, can accurately throw a spiral about 20-25 yards, and is friendly and sociable (even though not necessarily "popular"). Life is great for him, and he is kind, sweet and funny- everything a parent could hope for.

    But what happens to him the day he hits the wall and finds that not all math is intuitive and he just might have to spend more than 2 seconds on a problem? What happens when he gets passed over as the starter on his soccer or baseball teams? How is my son ever going to learn to deal with challenge and failure if he never gets a chance to experience those emotions in a safe environment?

    I could be wrong since I haven't read this entire thread yet, but in reading your early posts you seem to have the same fears for your son. I think you're approaching this problem from a good place, but you may be too close to it to see a solution.

    My son also likes to play the piano but hates to practice. I don't force him. He knows what his teacher expects and it is his responsibility (even at age 6) to see that he practices enough. We have had a talk in which my husband and I explained to him that he does not need to waste either his or his teacher's time or disrespect her, which is what a lesson is for a week in which he hasn't practiced enough. He doesn’t always practice the required time, but that’s his problem, not ours. He is the one who has to face his teacher’s disapproval and/or disappointment. He is the one who knows that he could have done better if he’d practiced. He owns that, not us. Other than paying for them and oohing and ahhing over his playing, my husband and I have nothing to do with his lessons.

    He practices in strange ways, just like your son. Sometimes he practices what’s been assigned, slower or faster than the proper tempo, sometimes he jumps ahead to different songs he likes better, and sometimes he makes up his own. His teacher is fairly laid back and allows him these freedoms. She assigns 2 songs for the end of year recital that he must play/practice, but other than that she allows him a good deal of leeway. For her, it’s really about him learning to read music and fingering.


    I say all that to get to this- you might need to just remove yourself from the situation and let your son succeed or fail on his own. It sounds as though he enjoys music, but he might resent your (real or perceived) intrusions into his lessons and playing. Your son might have his own ideas about how a piece should be played or interpreted, so let him do it his way- not what is considered the “right” way. After all, Picasso didn’t exactly paint the “right” way, either. smile It sounds too much like your situation is becoming a battle of wills that your son wants to win. If you step back and out, the battle is over without any serious bloodletting!

    I would also talk to him to see if there is an issue with his teacher. She might be a wonderful teacher, but perhaps they just don’t click. It might be as simple as that, you never know.

    Also, we’ve told our son that he can switch to another instrument in a few years. He really wants to play the guitar or trumpet, and we’ve told him he can do that when he’s a little older. We explained (and he understood) how the piano is considered the foundation instrument, and that even the things he is learning now will/should make it that much easier for him to play the guitar, trumpet, violin or any other instrument he desires. Perhaps if your son knows that you are willing to permit him to switch once he gets the basics down on the piano, he will work that much harder to “master” this instrument in order to move on to the one he really desires.

    I also think I understand what you mean by serious extracurriculars. If my son had his way, he would do nothing but play ball and computer games. For a child who used to feed on workbooks and books, it’s a definite 180. He now doesn’t want to do workbooks because he doesn’t want to get even further ahead in school, but he still doesn’t have to put any effort into school either. Piano has been a wonderful way for him to have to actually work at something in order to be very good at it. Without piano or some other musical instrument, my child would be sailing through life with absolutely no effort. I know, I know- he’s only 6. But I’d still rather him learn now that effort is required in life rather than when he’s failing something for the first time at age 20.

    I’ve already written enough, but I just wanted to say this as well. If you try all these things suggested here and nothing gets better, then perhaps it is time to take a break from the piano for a while. He’s only 8, and there are other activities where he can hopefully get the self discipline you seem to be searching for. I know most people don’t think of dance for boys, but it also involves music and teaches incredible self discipline. Just a thought. smile

    Sorry this is so long!

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    #91640 - 12/28/10 01:16 PM Re: Piano lesson complaining - LONG [Re: Giftodd]
    Val Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/01/07
    Posts: 3290
    Loc: California
    Originally Posted By: Giftodd
    I don't see that the people suggesting that forcing a child to play an instrument they don't enjoy are saying that a child should be allow to give up anything that has made them cry once in a while (though they're welcome to correct me if I am wrong).

    What I see them saying is that if it is causing unhappiness then there is a question about whether or not it is worth doing. If it is persistence and resilience you're after there is a great book call the Optimistic Child by Martin Seligman (former president of the American Psychological Association).


    This is exactly what I've been trying to say. Thanks.

    I'll definitely check out the book.

    Val

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    #91642 - 12/28/10 01:51 PM Re: Piano lesson complaining - LONG [Re: passthepotatoes]
    CAMom Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/13/08
    Posts: 748
    Originally Posted By: passthepotatoes


    Is there really nothing he enjoys at all? What does he do when his time is his own? From my perspective if a kid genuinely doesn't enjoy anything the best way to deal with that is not forcing them to do an activity while they cry and telling them the only way they are allowed to quit is if for an entire month they stop being honest about the fact that they hate it. It seems that could actually have a chilling effect making a child nervous to try new things knowing their cries won' t be listened to and the only escape is to be dishonest about how they feel.

    *snip* Even for the most gifted of kids ANY activity they sent their mind to is going to involve some need to work and find ways to persist through challenges. It isn't just learning the violin. Ordinary childhood play offers plenty of opportunities. I'm talking about stuff like: learning to knit, skateboard jumps, building the biggest lego tower you can, jumprope, building a fort, trying to dam a creek, baking, putting on a play with your friends,...

    *snip*
    So, in other words learning more gymnastics skills isn't improving his attitude or his willingness to persist. Just like when he began the class he conceives of himself as a person who can't do things unless forced. He still sees people who teach him as mean (and really not surprising - if somebody ignored me when I was crying I wouldn't trust them or think they were kind either!) So, what exactly is being accomplished? Is the plan forever to force him to do one thing after another until what?

    From my perspective force and raising the stakes only make perfectionism worse. Gentle support, promoting accurate self understanding, etc. all work better.

    If left entirely to his own devices, he will watch TV all day long or play computer games. He has a million legos, tons of books, a bike, a puppy and the opportunity to do any extracurricular activity he wants. But he doesn't want... Last summer he had 5 weeks to just mess around, no structure, no plans nothing. All he wanted to do was watch TV and play on the computer. Okay by me, but not for all the time, all the days.

    His classroom teacher never makes him finish an assignment. If it's "hard" she says he can do half, or do what he wants or whatever. He reads two to three books a week at school because the other work is "hard". Charm and sad eyes shouldn't get you out of work but his teacher feels sorry for him. He snickers and goes back to reading. We're working hard to get him accomodated at school but the lessons he's learning there are not productive.

    You asked "So, what exactly is being accomplished? Is the plan forever to force him to do one thing after another until what?"

    The plan is that sometimes, you have to learn to do something that isn't easy. I couldn't care less if he's a gymnast- it was his request. But I do care that when you try something new, you actually commit to TRY it. The very moment you do one cartwheel and it doesn't work out, you can't quit.

    If my DS genuinely said "Mom, I do not want to do gymnastics anymore. I would like to try ___ instead" I would stop instantly. What I won't entertain is "I'm no good, it's too hard, I want to quit, you're mean." And really, can I force him to perform? Nope. I just drive him there and come back an hour later... once a week. He loves his coach and made him a Christmas present, thanks him every time he teaches him something new and is happy when it's done.

    Frankly, as a middle school administrator, I see WAY too many kids who have never ever been asked to work through something, try something hard or work it out with a friend. Their parents rescue them constantly from any sort of trouble whether it's academic or social. If they get a bad grade, it's the test or the teacher. If a friend is mean and they argue, she's a bully and the school should provide discipline.

    Everything I've read, and it's a lot, on perfectionism says that the goal is to get a realistic self-image. I'm working hard to get him to understand that a realistic self-image includes that everyone is not good at everything, but you can find joy in the struggle and learning something new. Not being good at something the first time doesn't make you stupid, an idiot, or any of the other hateful words he often spews at himself when he fails the first time.


    Edited by CAMom (12/28/10 01:53 PM)

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    #91645 - 12/28/10 01:57 PM Re: Piano lesson complaining - LONG [Re: JaneSmith]
    La Texican Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/10/10
    Posts: 1777
    Loc: South Texas
    That optimistic child book is related to modern Positive Psychology, according to amazon. That new member has a link to their blog I been reading for a couple of days And the link on this page of the blog:
    http://giftedforlife.com/1389/how-well-do-you-know-your-signature-strengths/
    Takes you to some kind of Positive Psychology page. They said it's the next step for this generation. Clinical psychology made it possible for there to be less unhappiness in the world. Modern Positive Psychology is going to make it possible by the same measure for there to be more happiness in the world. There's a forum registration on that page, but I haven't got that far yet. I'm slow. But, hoo-ray! That's closer to the star trek the next generation fantasy world I wish for in my lifetime.

    ETA: tried to get on that genuine happiness Positive Psychology forum and I ran into a dead end.


    Edited by La Texican (12/29/10 05:11 PM)
    Edit Reason: Added update.
    _________________________
    Youth lives by personality, age lives by calculation. -- Aristotle on a calendar

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