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Re: Getting the kids to practice #915967
02/28/03 11:11 AM
02/28/03 11:11 AM
Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 2,336
TX
valarking Offline
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TX
This is all so funny. My Mom asked me a year and a half ago if I wanted to learn to play an instrument. I said yes, probobly a piano. So half a year later after forgetting/remembering to get a teacher she finally does and I have had no problem with motivation ever since. And I practice 1-3 hours a day. As a result I'm doing pretty good for a 1 year student, I could probobly pass a Grade 5 exam if what I hear is true.

PS Offtopic, but what grade would Maple Leaf Rag estimated to be?

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Re: Getting the kids to practice #915968
02/28/03 11:29 AM
02/28/03 11:29 AM
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,862
Kansas
apple* Offline
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What do you think of teaching your own kids to play as opposed to sending them to a teacher? I haven't had luck teaching my son and I'm not sure whether it's a mother/son dynamic or it's usual to have trouble teaching one's own.


accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)
Re: Getting the kids to practice #915969
02/28/03 12:55 PM
02/28/03 12:55 PM
Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 95
California
E
Eileen Offline
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I love this thread. what a great idea to share ideas about motivating our children.

My mother was ahead of her time in many ways, and one was in the way she got us to continue taking lessons.

First: She waited until we expressed an interest in taking lessons. (All 3 of us girls did so at different ages. I was the oldest at start, didn't get interested until 8) When one of us expressed a desire to learn at 5, Mom took lessons too in order to help my youngest sister.

Second: Then she talked to us about what was involved with taking lessons. How much practice would be expected. How playing well takes time to learn, even years.

Third: She made a contract with us. Once we started, we would take lessons no questions asked for 1 year. At that point, She and the teacher would make an evaluation of whether we had talent for music (not to be a professional, just for making music) We would also be consulted about our desire, but the final decision would be with the adults. If at that point we continued, we couldn't quit until we were 16. Several times after that first year, one or more of us would state a desire to quit. My Mom would calmly answer,: "OK, when you are 16."

By the time 16 rolled around, each of us was playing so well, enjoying making music so much and getting so much recognition for our playing that we didn't want to quit.

My Mom showed amazing commitment to our lessons. My parents were missionaries and as such we were quite poor. She taught American cooking lessons to neighborhood women and took in sewing to pay for our lessons. Her commitment to us was another reason that we didn't want to quit.

I have done a version of this method with a few additions. I also add yearly goals to the contract. It could be a piece of music or a more long reaching goal. Two of my children have negotiated a switch to a different instrument, the guitar, but the method has stayed the same.

I also have family music night with 2 pianists, 2 guitarists and Daddy on trumpet. About 4 times a year we add 2 other families and have a grand music night.

The few times my children have voiced a desire to quit, I have talked to them about their reasons, reminded them of their goals and asked them if they still had that goal and was it worth working hard for. Sometimes I have used the OK, you can quit when you are 16 method with one of my children in particular. I think the combination of the Parental encouragement and their own goals strikes a balance between what we want to teach them and the joy of making music for it's own sake. My 2 boys are now adults and continue to play the guitar. My daughter is continuing on the piano.

I also take my children to concerts to inspire them, invite other children over to share their playing, play recordings of great artists and talk about their life and playing.

I have recently started taking lessons again to see if I can get these middle age fingers to an advanced level, just for fun. I so enjoy playing and am forever grateful to my mother for teaching me about making a commitment to a difficult goal and sticking with it.

Eileen

Re: Getting the kids to practice #915970
02/28/03 01:10 PM
02/28/03 01:10 PM
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Posts: 141
New Jersey
O
ob1knabe Offline OP
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Wow! I'm so glad that many of you like Concert Night! If you try it, I really hope it works well for you.

There have been so many great things written on this thread--so many thoughtful responses. Thank you.

Apple--as an educator (I have worked in both high schools and middle schools), I have found there to be minimal success when a parent tries to tutor a child compared to someone outside the family structure. It's not for one minute that the parent doesn't have the ability to help the child with the work--it just puts that whole parent/child relationship on a different footing. I'm not saying that we would never recommend it or that it never works. I have just seen children typically reach a much greater level of success with someone other than a parent. Somehow it can also get in the way of that parent/child relationship. When we teach a child something, we often have to be "critical" of what they have or have not accomplished. We become the "bad guys." There are so many things in life we have to teach our kids and have to tell them "No" to. If teaching your child can be a joy for both of you, then it is a gift. If it is going to cause tension between the two of you, I would find a teacher ASAP. There's lots of quality time you both can share in support of a lesson. It's very important to my son that I am with him while he practices (he like to hear me say the good things!) I did this for my daughter as well, and I am confident it helped her. She's 10 now and a lot more independent. Besides, there are probably some wonderful teachers out there who could really help your daughter. There's only one person who can be her mom wink .

Penny--my little guy started when he was 4 as well. I think he wanted to start so badly because he saw me spend so much time with my daughter. I was skeptical about starting him that young, but he has proved me wrong! He's really into boogie and blues, and has already decided he's going to be a "blues man" when he's older. Who knows--maybe he could be in demand some day for Mardi Gras parties laugh .

Magnezium--how right you are!! We've been piano shopping the last few months. The kids come home inspired!!! Just taking them to the piano stores and letting them try gorgeous pianos has results. We've decided on an old grand piano and are having it redone--should get it in a few months. How long do you think the magic can possibly last?

Gardener--beautifully written.

Ob1


"A thing of beauty is a joy for ever"
John Keats
Re: Getting the kids to practice #915971
02/28/03 01:59 PM
02/28/03 01:59 PM
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Posts: 341
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T2 Offline
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My twins are about 2 years old, and I have had success having fun with music with them enough that they like music. We sing and dance and get goofy to all kinds of music. We have invented a couple of games that turn them on and don't seem to stress them out:

1) When mama or dada hides for a game of hide and seek, which they love, they have to play piano until they're hidden.

2) Dada plays "Pop, Goes the Weasel" and the kids are in charge of the rhythm hit for 'pop'.

3) Dada takes advantage of their interest in high tech gadgets and plays with the metronome with them such that they match 1 for 1 rhythm (any note) to the metronome.

4) Dada plays a pitch and they sing it back. (They're getting prett good at it.)

5) The kids play anything and the parents praise them wildly and act very proud. Very 20th century stuff, but it gets them excited about playing.

I'd love to hear other ideas for early childhood.

T2

Re: Getting the kids to practice #915972
02/28/03 02:10 PM
02/28/03 02:10 PM
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Posts: 141
New Jersey
O
ob1knabe Offline OP
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New Jersey
Apple--please accept my apologies-- I didn't remember correctly--let me revise:

"There is only one person who can be his mom!" smile

Maybe someone who has had experience with homeschooling might have something to add to this thought as well. I am just passing on my own humble opinion.

Ob1


"A thing of beauty is a joy for ever"
John Keats
Re: Getting the kids to practice #915973
02/28/03 03:15 PM
02/28/03 03:15 PM
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,862
Kansas
apple* Offline
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Kansas
OB 1 Knabe - no apologies needed. I actually agree with what you say about a parent not being a particularly effective teacher 100%, especially with a son who is so like his know it all mother.


accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)
Re: Getting the kids to practice #915974
03/01/03 06:22 AM
03/01/03 06:22 AM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 722
Singapore
M
magnezium Offline
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Joined: May 2001
Posts: 722
Singapore
Quote
Originally posted by ob1knabe:
Magnezium--how right you are!! We've been piano shopping the last few months. The kids come home inspired!!! Just taking them to the piano stores and letting them try gorgeous pianos has results. We've decided on an old grand piano and are having it redone--should get it in a few months. How long do you think the magic can possibly last?
It'll probably last long enough to get them addicted, but after that the discovery of true music takes place and then an altogether different kind of magic comes into play...do I make sense?

Re: Getting the kids to practice #915975
03/01/03 08:42 AM
03/01/03 08:42 AM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 24,416
New York City
pianoloverus Offline
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I can only speak from personal experience. If classical piano music recordings are played at home, at least some kids will be inpsired by the music to practice.

Re: Getting the kids to practice #915976
03/01/03 10:53 AM
03/01/03 10:53 AM
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 3,918
Chicago, IL USA
Palindrome Offline
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Palindrome  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 3,918
Chicago, IL USA
Quote
Originally posted by ob1knabe:
... We've decided on an old grand piano and are having it redone--should get it in a few months. How long do you think the magic can possibly last?
You might (if it doesn't bother the refinisher) take them by the refinisher's shop, so they can see "their piano" progress.


There is no end of learning. -Robert Schumann Rules for Young Musicians
Re: Getting the kids to practice #915977
03/01/03 06:57 PM
03/01/03 06:57 PM
Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 2,340
Massachusetts
BeeLady Offline
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BeeLady  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 2,340
Massachusetts
Quote
Originally posted by Palindrome:
You might (if it doesn't bother the refinisher) take them by the refinisher's shop, so they can see "their piano" progress.

Great minds think alike! This is just what we are doing in a few weeks to check out the place before we send ours out. Should be fun!

Now I am being "forced" take the 8 year old to cello lessons starting Monday! (Yeah!! smile ) See, all that fussing about practicing was just an act. He really does want to play, just not the piano..
wink

I may just print this entire thread with all these terrific ideas. What a great generation of musicians we should have in just a few years!


BeeLady

Life is like a roll of toilet paper...the closer you get to the end, the faster it goes!
Re: Getting the kids to practice #915978
03/01/03 11:57 PM
03/01/03 11:57 PM
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 175
Land of Lincoln
ejks Offline
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Land of Lincoln
So many good responses and input here. smile I just enjoyed reading it so much I have begun passing on some of the ideas to some of my piano student's parents. I just wanted to share one little thing that may not work nowadays but it worked for my mom. Once we decided that I take lessons we made a deal that I had to practice while she did the supper dishes. Part of the agreement was that if I didn't keep up my end of the bargain she said I would have to quit lessons and do the dishes every night. eek Well wouldn't you know it? That kept me going. smile I eventually earned a B.Mus in piano performance and a Master's in composition. Music has been my life and I can't imagine how things would have gone had she not "bribed" me. This probably wouldn't work for most but I can look back and honestly say I was thankful for her "encouragement".
ej


People will tell you they know what they like but what they really mean is they like what they know.
Re: Getting the kids to practice #915979
03/02/03 09:29 AM
03/02/03 09:29 AM
Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 290
New Jersey
G
Gardener Offline
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New Jersey
Quote
Originally posted by ob1knabe:

Gardener--beautifully written.
Thank you. Great thread! smile


Gardener--
Two roads diverged in the woods and I ... I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.(R. Frost)
Re: Getting the kids to practice #915980
03/04/03 12:26 PM
03/04/03 12:26 PM
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 141
New Jersey
O
ob1knabe Offline OP
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New Jersey
I just wanted to thank everyone for their ideas. I know that I will certainly benefit from many of your suggestions. (And, yes, we've already made a few visits to the piano refinishers--so much fun!!!)

Magnezium--I think you sum it up great:

"It'll probably last long enough to get them addicted, but after that the discovery of true music takes place and then an altogether different kind of magic comes into play...do I make sense?"

Yes, you make sense! In fact, I believe that type of magic is even better than the kind you find a Disney World. smile


"A thing of beauty is a joy for ever"
John Keats
Re: Getting the kids to practice #915981
03/04/03 04:08 PM
03/04/03 04:08 PM
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 3,378
North Carolina
bcarey Offline
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North Carolina
T2,

I absolutely loved your post about your 2 year old twins! Perhaps, you have the real secret to initiating an early interest in music.

That reminded me of my 4 year old granddaughter who just might be the singer in the family. At Christmas, she was shopping at Walmart with her mom who sings songs to her all the time. All of a sudden she broke out with a very enthusiastic rendition of "Joy to the World" in perfect pitch (of course) while strolling down the isles with her mom. According to her mom, everyone in the store stopped dead in their tracks, listened and smiled as she sang every word to the first verse. I wish I had been there!

We are now teaching her to sing:

Joy to the World, all the boys and girls now.
Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea.
Joy to you and me.

Gotta give these Walmart folks an encore! smile

Re: Getting the kids to practice #915982
03/06/03 04:08 PM
03/06/03 04:08 PM
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 29
Illinois
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bboy1 Offline
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Illinois
I have a son (10) and daughter (8). However it was my wife and I that were interested in piano lessons. I took lessons for a short period of time when I was around 10 and then quit.

I decided I wanted to try it again, and my wife was interested too. We bought a piano and here's the amazing part, and the part where it gets on topic.

My kids were completely amazed with the look of a grand piano. My wife and I decided to get a player with the piano. Once my kids heard some songs they liked on the player and saw the keys moving and the hammers hitting the strings, they were hooked. Today (2 years later) they still put on songs they like and watch/listen. My son is learning "The Entertainer" and is constantly playing it on the player and then trying to duplicate it.

So I guess my first recommendation is that if you have access to a player, find some songs the kids like and let them listen and watch the piano.

The second and more practical way is to take lessons with them (I believe this was mentioned above). Luckily I'm a little more advanced than my son. He is constantly striving to "catch up" with me.

As for my daughter. She will do anything my son does and try her hardest to do it better.

Both children will be better than me before to long smile

Brian

Re: Getting the kids to practice #915983
03/06/03 08:50 PM
03/06/03 08:50 PM
Joined: Mar 2003
Posts: 2
Utah
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Utah
Well i'm not a parent (i'm 16) so my thoughts probably aren't much use but here i go anyway.
I used to think piano was a chore too but then i got a friend who is way into it, and way good at it. He used to practice 5 hours a day during his rapid period of inspiration and improvement. His skills made me want to have the same, and being that he is my peer and my best friend it made it cool i guess. There's kind of the idea, if you don't think it's cool that it's just the way it is to hate piano, so i guess do whatever you can to make it seem cool and ok to think piano is cool. It really depends on your relationship with you children and the way you raise them i think, because it seem that some kids have a more natural enjoyment of the piano that much later, or never sets into other pianists.


SOMEONE HELP ME PLEASE!
Re: Getting the kids to practice #915984
03/07/03 11:46 AM
03/07/03 11:46 AM
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Posts: 141
New Jersey
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ob1knabe Offline OP
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New Jersey
Thanks for your input, PianoNovice! Glad to hear from you. In reading over my original post, I do make it sound like I am only looking for ideas from parents and teachers. Don't mean to do this. I think it would be great to hear from any of "the younger set" to learn directly what works. I know that there are already a couple other messages from posters similar in age to you. No doubt you all have a lot to offer here. Hopefully, we'll hear from you. wink

Ob1


"A thing of beauty is a joy for ever"
John Keats
Re: Getting the kids to practice #915985
03/07/03 12:01 PM
03/07/03 12:01 PM
Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 2,340
Massachusetts
BeeLady Offline
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PianoNovice has a good point. Peer pressure drives much of what kids do.

My son first asked for lessons when his best friend sat down and played Star Wars on our piano. Now, 4 years later, he had a 13th birthday party last month. Some of the girls (he invited them ! eek )sat down and played. They then all came to the piano and took turns playing. But when the boys did the same, let me tell you, those girls were impressed! I think that should motivate him for another 2 years at least! wink


BeeLady

Life is like a roll of toilet paper...the closer you get to the end, the faster it goes!
Re: Getting the kids to practice [Re: ob1knabe] #2796440
12/29/18 08:58 AM
12/29/18 08:58 AM
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My child is one that requires a reminder to practice. She also tends to not play her recital songs as many times as the teacher writes down. Having the teacher write things down in a notebook helps - because then as a parent I can say - hmmm....I thought your teacher wrote down to play that four times...I'm not sure I heard it four times? And then I get an oh yeah instead of a "MOM - YOU ARE NOT MY TEACHER - DON'T TELL ME WHAT TO DO" (yes - she's sassy)

She LOVES to practice in front of people. So this concert night idea is a really good one. We did a home concert as a family for Christmas and that went over REALLY well with her.

She's also assigned duets to play with me. We're doing Alfred's Basic Piano Library Duet Book series. The accompaniment is harder than the primary - so if you buy this look for the child to play the primary and you to play the accompaniment. Mom (me) makes mistakes playing her part too - so since we both make mistakes it feels to her like we're learning together rather than my trying to teach her. Its the only way that I'm able to carefully get in some observations on her piano playing without getting sassed at. We've done duets together at our teacher's recitals which has been really fun for me. Not sure she feels the same...but she's willing to do it (for now).

We did a Christmas series duet too. I think it was Faber. BOTH parts are the same level on that. So it was more boring for me to play but on a happy note I could signtread it all.

The music festival gives a trophy for 3 years of a superior rating. She really wants that trophy. Her second year will be this March - so sometimes I'll remind her of that. I'm also going for the adult trophy. My first year will be this March. So we're kind of in that one together. When she wants to quit piano (which is mainly because she'd rather play games on her computer than practice) I'll ask if she wants to keep going till she gets that 3 year trophy or quit. Her choice. But if she keeps going she has to practice. So far she's chosen piano.

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