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PostPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 11:23 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 2:50 pm
Posts: 724
I had a conversation with a parent today who suggested that playing instruments was an academic pursuit, something that pushy parents made their poor children do so they have no time for hobbies and other worthwhile pursuits. It was seen as effectively a means to an end. I tried to explain how it enriched my kids lives but it all sounded a bit feeble coming out of my mouth. Two of my kids play two instruments each. I often ask them if they are sure they want to continue with two as their lives are so busy. DD1 has just started teaching herself guitar (instrument 3) as I told her she had no time and I was unable to pay for more music lessons. They are not gifted musicians but they practise and persevere. Am I doing the right thing encouraging/ letting them spend so much of their time doing music? They enjoy it and I am sure I am but I couldn't explain convincingly why.

It has just occurred to me that it is perhaps a bit ironic that I have posted this on this type of forum.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 11:54 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:21 pm
Posts: 14988
My DS still plays even though he has graduated and is now working. He reckons that playing in an orchestra, wind band etc was great fun and gave him opportunity to visit some places [for competitions, concerts etc] he would not have been to otherwise.

His musical skills have enabled him to do volunteering at holiday clubs etc

There are other more obvious benefits in 'soft' skills ie team work, time management [preparing for grade exams alongside GCSE and A levels], and he could evidence these on his PS.

My take would be - do it because they enjoy it not because of perceived 'benefits'.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 11:55 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:59 pm
Posts: 4670
If that is their form of relaxation then they don't have to be good at it, but if they want to do the practise and continue then there is no harm in it, in my opinion. I am not musical at all but wish I could play the piano or guitar as I could see that could be relaxing and fun. There is evidnece that shows that mathematics and music are quite well linked - I am sure Guest55 probably knows more about this - and it certainly tests a different "creative" part of the brain. If a parent is pushing their child to learn an instrument as they see it as being an academic pasttime that will help them get a "better" uni or "better" career, that is not a good reason to learn an instrument. If it is as you describe, for the love of the past time, regardless of actual ability, then I think that is bang on!

crossed with Guest!


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 1:04 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 11:30 am
Posts: 426
Location: Harrow
My DD did musical instruments, she had to be reminded to practice, however started quite young so didn't miss anything. This then allowed her to play in bands.. and chill out playing piano (she forked out her own money for a digital one should could take to uni).
So we had to push when she was young, but now she is happy she has the ability


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 1:11 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 1:05 pm
Posts: 5302
Location: Reading
For me, DCs should be learning instruments if they want to, not because parents think ‘It is good for them’. I know at least one parent who amde their DC learn an instrument, and forces them to practise every day. The DC hates it. I wanted DD to play because she enjoys it.

I regularly see requests on FB by parents looking for piano teachers for their 5 yo. DDs piano teacher reckons they make very little progress in the first couple of years, and they may as well save their money and wait until they are 7.

DD didn't start piano until she was nearly 11. She wanted to learn, completely her choice, so I was happy to pay for it. She practises because she wants to, I don’t have to nag (excpet when to comes to pieces she is practising for gcse music :roll: ). She enjoyed it enought to want to take gcse music and she has reached grade 5 standard. Her teacher picks pieces together with her, so they know they are pieces she will enjoy playing.

I never wanted a DD with a grade 8 distinction in piano (happy for her to try if she wanted to, just don’t expect her to ever want to), I just want her to enjoy doing it.

We all have too many things we have to do in life, rather than things we want to do.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 1:26 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2014 7:58 pm
Posts: 556
One important reason for learning an instrument is that it teaches that perseverance and practice pays off. It also teaches that perfection is a magic trick. That other people do not notice the mistakes that you make if you continue without faultering with confidence. It teaches the ability to perform in front of others. It improves confidence. It teaches discipline. It teaches conscious motor skills and coordination. It teaches team work skills when playing with others, that you are apart of something that comes together as something amazing. It is a brilliant mindfulness activity and as another poster said allows relaxation in a way that TV or gaming or sport does not. Music gives joy to the soul and according to scientists is the only activity known to mankind that activates every part of the brain.
As you may be able to tell. I am a music evangelist.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 1:33 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2016 7:32 pm
Posts: 126
I agree with all of the above. If they enjoy it then let them continue! We had a little bit of an issue with both DDs and their practice but we always said that if they really wanted to play then they had to put in the effort. They insisted that they wanted to keep going and now practise happily.

I learnt piano as a child but gave up because I didn't like the teacher and I didn't practise as my parents didn't really encourage me. I regretted it. So much so that I took it up again just over a year ago and am loving it. It is my little bit of escape for 15 - 30 minutes a day.

I was intrigued by the maths / music link and found this article:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/arti ... -and-math/

I like the following end quote:

Quote:
Until then, we should just simply enjoy studying math or music if it positively enriches our lives.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 1:37 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:44 am
Posts: 1680
Location: Reading
My DD started with the piano in junior school and it did take a bit of prodding to practice in those early days. She wanted to be able to play but it took a while to associate that with actually practicing!
She added Alto sax in yr 7 as she wanted to play with other people and piano is a bit solitary. Now in yr 11 she is working on grade 8 piano, deciding whether to skip grade 7 alto sax or not, playing tenor sax in a swing band, soprano sax in school wind band, alto sax in a Wind orchestra plus school jazz band. At home she has taught herself guitar and is now doing the same with an electric guitar - plus she still picks up the ukelele quite often. We got hold of a trumpet in the summer for her to try her hand at next.

I love the fact that she will pick up an instrument to relax rather than a computer game.
Music is a great hobby and the bands she plays in are nice, safe, mixed, social events for a 15 yo at a girls school.

Whether it has helped her Maths, I have no idea, but she will be doing Maths A level. Lugging a sax to and from school 3 days a week has probably improved her fitness :)


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 1:54 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 2:50 pm
Posts: 724
Agree with everything said. DD1 plays flute in Orchestra, Woodwind band, an Ensemble and is considering taking GCSE music this year. She also started with piano and is about to take grade 6 in both flute and piano. DD2 plays piano and in year 6 has just started clarinet as she wants to be able to join orchestras in secondary school like her sister. I do still have to remind them to practise but the threat is that if they don't I won't pay for lessons. I did the same with DS and he said fine and gave up piano after playing for a couple of years.

Quote:
I love the fact that she will pick up an instrument to relax rather than a computer game.
Music is a great hobby and the bands she plays in are nice, safe, mixed, social events for a 15 yo at a girls school.


Definitely, wish I had said that!

The link with maths is interesting. All three of my kids are strong at maths. However DS wants to do Maths and Further Maths next year for A-Level and he is the one who doesn't play instrument.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 2:00 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:44 am
Posts: 1680
Location: Reading
DD is also doing GCSE music - she loves musicals so the syllabus being offered was a good choice for her. With a large proportion of the marks being for performance and composition (which she is less keen on) which are done earlier it takes a bit of heat off during the exams next summer.


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