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Did your parents nag you about practicing?


Pegasus

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Did it work? When my kids were little I used to get them up at 6:00 alternately to practice with them for an hour before school. One would shower,,get dressed and eat while I practiced with the other. It worked really well for a while. After a while I got a little burnt out, practicing with them 2 hours before school and then practicing my own stuff while they were at school.

As they got older the son who plays cello continued to practice before school on his own but the one who plays violin didn't do it unless I nagged him. I think being a violinist myself and seeing his potential I may have nagged too much to the point that it wasn't fun anymore for him. I was paying 60 dollars a lesson and he was only practicing 20 minutes at a time 3 or 4 times a week. I finally said you don't have to take lesons anymore and I think he was relieved, but I'm kind of sad. He does still play occasionally. we've done some weddings as a trio, and he used his violin as part of his character in a play at his school.

My other son still takes cello lessons and I don't nag him. I don't want to make the same mistake twice. he does what he can. High school kids are really busy.

My daughter doesn't work hard at the harp. I'm afraid that might be my fantasy. she seems to like sight reading pop tunes on the piano more.

Sorry if I'm rambling too much. So all you teenagers out there. Do you practice without being nagged?

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I'd like to say that I don't need to be nagged, but sometimes you just need someone to kick you in the butt. I usually don't need it, but once in a while its just really hard to get up in the morning. The only thing I could say about being nagged is that it makes me feel worse about practicing. It makes me feel like a lazy bum to have to have someone telling me what to do. I think it's very important not to nag too much. I really resent my mom sometimes for telling me to practice (especially if I'm having an "off" day) and it makes me feel bad for her having to nag me to practice.

Moral of the story:

If your son practices on his own, don't nag him.

Saeunn

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My parents have never nagged me about practicing. I can practice as much or a little as I want, But I usually practice 1-2 hours a day every day or more.

But when I first started I practiced about 20 min. 3-4 times a week and wasn't very motivated but I think if my parents had nagged me then I would have quit and missed out on discovering how much I love playing.

One thing that may be different about my situation is that I wanted to start playing the violin, I nagged my parent to let me take lessons in the first place.

wink.gifHowever one thing that does motivate me to paractice youth orchestra music is the conductor yelling at us, wink.gif

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Well, my parents never nag me about practicing, but there are times that I am excruciatingly busy and they understand it. The only time they ever got on to me slightly was 2 yrs ago when i didn't practice for a month, but i was very sick. They always nag me on piano, but I know i have a teenager's attitude and mentality, but their incessant remarks cause me not to like piano as much because its not fun anymore.

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My parents nagged me to practice, and it really didn't work, except that possibly it meant that I practiced at least a *little*, as opposed to not at all. wink.gif

Ironically, it wasn't until I moved out that I got the urge to practice, and did so regularly.

My parents did not let me quit my violin lessons, but they did let me quit piano. I'm grateful that I got to quit the piano lessons, which I loathed (though I ended up having to take lessons later anyway). I wish I were a competent pianist, but quitting was probably the right decision, there. Conversely, I'm grateful that my parents made me continue to take lessons. (I wanted to play, but didn't want the lessons or the practice.)

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Pegasus

I seem to have fallen into a similar boat. When I was little, no one forced me to play anything. I learned because I wanted to know. My teacher felt I had talent, but I could not play in front of people. I was a perfectionist to the point of destruction, so all for the best I majored in a field in college to support myself. Music is however, and extremely integral part of my life, as it's impossible to go a day without hearing something important to me.

With my own children, I approached everything the same way. I wanted them to have the benefit of knowing and understanding music, and I watched and observed their interest and what they seemed to show strengths in. One thing you have to know about me, though, I have a thing about being about to support yourself and having a joyful life. It's hard to enjoy yourself if you never complete a desired goal, and I exercise caution to ensure that a goal set can be realistically met (I hope that made some sense). Forcing a child to do anything, in my opinion, is not right. I always look at things from a variety of perspectives. Time is a valuable commodity, and once spent can not be recovered. If the hours are used on something that the child has an extreme interest in, a strength is reinforced. If something is overlooked in another area, however, a weakness develops and I mean this in the way of spending too much time, or an inordinate about of time in only one thing. This world is hard on people. I remember that commercial, a mind is a terrible thing to waste. It's so true. For parents, it's a tough balancing act, trying to do the right things.

I'll try to provide an example of my own children, of which one is driven in music. The first, I insisted practice. We weren't in the position to afford lessons, so this was an extravagance for us. If lessons were to be offered, they better practice! I tried to help, but my children have extremely independant streaks... they have to figure things out on their own. Parents helping in anyway, spoils their pot and their own excitement in explaining to you what they figured out. Agravating? YES. You watch problems occuring and you so want to jump in and help, but if you don't figure out the right approach, at least in my particular situation, they will do the opposite. I get worn out. I don't know about you, but it is exhausting just figuring out the right approach to use. Sooo, my first gave up playing violin. Yes, and there was a celebration on the part of this child, who later went on to medical school. When the second came around, this child was born driven. We refused lessons, based on the experiences with the first. So this one had to prove to us beyond all reasonable doubt that the desire was true. The child had to go through an awful lot from me to succeed in being granted lessons! (This is true, absolutely). When granted the opportunity to learn, this one practiced alot, and I had to take the violin away to ensure that attention to academic studies would provide an adequate basis for the mind to develop. This one is my biggest worry. The other children learn music for self enjoyment. Of these other children, one has a gift, but not enough drive. She loves to play, but not practice :-). With anything, this child felt music, and played with a graceful style and tone, and this was something in her. She wasn't taught it, but it plays out in what she does. She just doesn't like to practice, so lessons, are very infrequent. We can't afford it. What she'll do with it, will depend on how she likes. I see other talents in her which could explore a life which she might pursue. There are many paths, each giving a happiness if you give it a chance.

So Pegasus, you aren't alone in this. It is a hard question, and one that answers don't come easily. I simply try to help my children, realizing that a life is hard enough without creating extreme problems for them. Music is a joy and should always be looked on as such. When it becomes a pain, whether from too much criticism, anger, mis-directed goals, or a withdrawl of a reward there will be a noticeable withdraw in the child - A sadness. Sometimes the sadness will never be erased, and I would feel awful if it were my fault for it. Whatever the case, the teen years will bring with them the revolt. Whatever happened before, well,...

I've gone on too long, but I wish you all the best in whatever lies ahead. Please let us know how things are working out.

Regards,

J

[This message has been edited by JKF (edited 01-02-2002).]

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nope, never. As a result, I only played (piano; the fiddle's a recent adventure) when I really wanted to, which was nearly everyday of my childhood from 5 or 6 on into the present. The downside, I'm sure I didn't develop the same level of proficiency as many here.

-bonsai

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hey,

i don't want to sound rude, but it sounds to me as if u may have nagged to much. my parents used to and i hated it! speaking as a full time highschool student, with a job that givs me 12 hour shifts, with band practise, fiddle lessons, dance lessons,(all an hour or more away), with a schedule like that, the last thing i need is to be nagged. if your son is like me, he will practise when he feels like it or has has time. being nagged doesn't help, u must understand your kids are different and have different wants and needs smile.gif

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If a kid doesn't show interest -- or worse, you hear a vocal dislike -- the most important gesture you can make is a heartfelt offer to let them quit. This won't work if you will judge them negatively. (And they will know the truth.)

If they change their mind and want to re-start, their enjoyment and progress will be so much greater.

My parents unwittingly gave me strong incentives to quit and to despise playing. They took no active interest. My mother would say, "Hurry up and practice before your father gets home." If I played a developing composition of my own, I'd hear, "Is that one of your assigned lessons??"

I couldn't practice at all when everyone got home because it was too loud.

They let me quit when I was 16, and they never understood why it took another 10 years before I showed interest in playing again.

So...tread carefully! Mainly, be interested in the child's welfare. Even if they have talent but don't want to develop it, leave it alone.

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I heard a wise tidbit once that I'll paraphrase here.

I never talked to any adult who plays the violin who complains that their parents made them practice too much, but many have complained that they wish they have practiced more.

It's the balance between not killing the love of the instrumnet,and knowing what's best for them. If they want to play well, they have to practice, end of story. Refining of one's skills and talents is important in life and learning violin teaches the life lesson, of hard work and results.

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I was given the choice between violin and piano because we couldn't afford lessons on both. I was told that to continue lessons in either, I had to practice. Now, knowing me, I'm sure that my parents occasionally reminded me I'd better practice or else stop with lessons. But I don't recall it as nagging. And by the time I was in high school I wanted to practice. I think it is entirely fair for you to say, "I've noticed you practiced only once this week. If you want me to keep paying for lessons, you'll have to do better than that." (Unless it's exam time or something like that.) And if they don't want to, then don't pay for lessons. If they ever want to take it back up, they can do it on their own dime. I agree that I have met many adults who say they wish they had practiced more or become more proficient. But if you really press them on it, they would probably make the same choices today that they made back then.

I think encouragement and reminders are good. But walking that fine line to nagging is very tough. Because most of us hate to do anything we are nagged to do.

With regard to college applications, well...it's a different thing. I know I would never just leave my child alone on this. Too much is at stake. It's not the same as practicing. It's not as though nagging is going to kill a desire to apply for college. He's just being lazy or procrastinating. Or maybe is too involved in the computer. I know all about procrastination--I am a master at it. He needs to know that it is time to act.

If you own the computer, you could do something drastic, like take it away until he finishes his application.

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quote:

Originally posted by DR. S:

I never talked to any adult who plays the violin who complains that their parents made them practice too much, but many have complained that they wish they have practiced more.

There's the catch -- you're talking to the ones who are still playing.

Talk to the ones who quit, and you might hear quite a different story.

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The only time my parents have ever had to nag me to practice was right after we moved. We moved in the first day of July and my new teacher didn't start lessons until September. I wasn't working on any concertos or anything; my previous teacher taught primarily out of etude books and lots of scales, and I just didn't want to play them anymore wink.gif My mother had to bug me everyday to practice, but it didn't work...when lessons started, I practiced.

Now I'm with a different (year-round) teacher and my parents don't bug me to practice because they don't need to. My grandparents, who have heard me play only once or twice, always include a note in their letters about how I should keep up the viola because it's good for me - that's the closest ting to nagging I have now!

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I'd thought of that too IWL, but i still think there is a point in the statement. Perhaps nagging is not the right approach, but having an understanding that the child is to practice if mom and dad are paying for lessons and then insisting on it can be different.

Remember also that it is unfair and disrespectful to the teacher to go to a lesson unprepared - whether you are paying them or not. So by refusing to practice, the child is learning to be disrespectful to both his parents and teachers. I'm tired of disrespectful children running around.

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Nagging a small kid to practice is like making him eat peas. Yeah, peas are good for him, but he hates them. Eventually he'll learn to like them. In the meantime he'll eat carrot sticks or something. Maybe he'll never learn to like peas. What are you going to do?

Musically speaking, if the kid (as a beginner) doesn't want to practice, maybe he

isn't a virtuoso, you know? If he doesn't like music he'll find other interests that do the same thing for him that music did for most of us here. And he'll be better off for it.

Once a kid has been playing happily for a few years, though, sometimes it's good to gently encourage him to practice when he's just being lazy. That helps me when I'm just too exhausted from school or whatever. But GENTLY. I know where I can cut myself some slack when I NEED it, and if Mom made me practice at one of these times I'd hate her for it -- and the practicing wouldn't be fruitful anyway.

I'm 15 by the way.

[This message has been edited by Rosie (edited 01-02-2002).]

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Thanks everyone for all the replies. It was interesting to read all the responses. I do think I made mistakes with the first one in expecting too much. Poor Ryan, most of the mistakes get made on him. By the time we get to the second and third we get a few things figured out.

Anyway I wanted to say about him that he enjoys acting, and he sang with a barber shop quartet last year. He fools around with guitar and occasionally makes up stuff on the piano that sounds really good.

He had a part in a play this year (Rosencranz and Gildensern are dead) where he was an actor and leader of a troup of actors. As part of his character he improvised accompaniement on his violin for a mime acting of the death of Hamlet's father. He did a great job and was proud of his improvising skills.

I think the toughest part for me as a violinist parent was hearing mistakes(when he was taking lessons) and not saying anything. I think music will always be a part of his life in some way.

Right now the big problem is college applications. He's a senior and time is running out. He's got the grades and the test scores to get into a good college but has already missed several deadlines. Along comes the problem of nagging again. He says "leave me alone. I can taked care of it myself" but when I leave him alone he doesn't. He spends almost every waking minute that he's home on the computer, either talking to friends or playing games. He says he wants to go into government intelligence work. Maybe all the hours of computer game strategy will be of some use in that field.

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There is a difference between nagging and insistance and consequences (and beating is not part of the equation here). Too me nagging is just talk and no action. The fair approach is a pre-agreed upon understanding that the child is expected to practice,and if he doesn't certain understood consequences will result. Even small children can grasp this if it is laid out clearly and followed consistenetly. This can be ddone in a loving and understanding manner, love doesn't always mean giving in.

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quote:

Originally posted by Pegasus:

Right now the big problem is college applications. He's a senior and time is running out. He's got the grades and the test scores to get into a good college but has already missed several deadlines. Along comes the problem of nagging again. He says "leave me alone. I can taked care of it myself" but when I leave him alone he doesn't. He spends almost every waking minute that he's home on the computer, either talking to friends or playing games. He says he wants to go into government intelligence work. Maybe all the hours of computer game strategy will be of some use in that field.

hey, speaking as a highschool senior, its hard to know what to do with your life after highschool. my parents are bothering me to for missing deadlines, but they finially allowed me to take a year off in between. i mean think about it, he's been going to school for like 13 years, let him have a year off to make money and decide what to do.

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My parents nagged the **** ou tof me when i played the piano.....and i quit. I play the violin and they nag everyonce in a while. I love my parents but when they do this i feel like leaving. Plus when i know i'm going to practice and then they nag me, i won't practice becuase it feels like i'm not diong it for myself anymore. Advice for everyone. If you ever feel like your practicing for someone else your prabobably not going to have a good quality practice.

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OK, I'm going to pipe in here again. My son actually did get applications in to two U.C. campuses. He just didn't do as many as he originally planned so I guess we shouldn't sress out about that so much. I just hope he got all the test scores mailed to them in time.

Also, maybe I wasn't completely wrong in how I handled his violin situation. He took lessons for 10 years and made good progress. I would call him a good amateur. I knew he wasn't going to be a professional and the lack of preparation for lessons was embarrassing for me. I had to ask myself who are these lessons for you or him. I found myself wanting to practice the scales and etudes for him when he didn't and of course that doesn't work,

So I decided hey I'm the violinist, I'm the one who wants to improve, I'm going to take lessons. He's had ten years and maybe that's enough for him. I also left it open, telling him he could take lessons once a month or come and work with my teacher. He just doesn't love it the way I do, so I think it was ok to let it go even though it made me sad.

My other son is also not going to be a professional but he enjoys playing cello. He's a junior now and a fine musician. Next year I would love to play the Mendelssohn D minor trio with him on a recital. His cello class has an excellent pianist and we are both excited about doing this piece with her.

I think I may have to seriously consider whose dream it is to play harp before I invest 15,000 in an instrument. Harps are expensive and I don't know if my daughter loves it enough to warrant that kind of money. She loves jazz and tap dance and acting. She lights up when she's on stage performing. She has to be reminded to practice harp, but she often sits at the piano to sight read. She says she wants to continue with harp but I wonder if she says that just to please me.

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