5 year old wants to quit violin after one year

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Alana said: Aug 20, 2012
 1 posts

When my daughter turned three she began expressing an interest in playing violin. When she turned four we started her in the Suzuki method at our local music school. Her teacher was wonderful and she enjoyed the group classes and the private lessons, but eventually started to resist practicing. Her father and I did not push her to practice, as we felt she was young and still exploring her interests—which may or may not end up being violin. After the first four months of lessons, she became more resistant to practicing and often complained about going to lessons—even though once she got there she had a great time.

I will admit that we did not always make practice a priority—there are lots of reasons for this, including a younger child with special needs, but ultimately the lack of practice led to a lack of progression. By the end of the school year she indicated she wanted to take a break for the summer. We had good intentions, but practice fell by the wayside, as well. Now she is saying she doesn’t want to continue and we have mixed feelings about this. I know from reading some of the threads on this forum that it is pretty common for children her age to resist practicing. I also realize that practice, at her age, is really the responsibility of her father and I. We really value music in the lives of young children and would like to see her continue playing to see if we can work to get her over this hump. On the other hand, we don’t want to push her into something she has little interest in or motivation to continue. So, how can one tell the difference between frustration (”This is hard! It hurts my fingers! My hands are tired!”) and true lack of interest on the part of one’s child?

I’d love to hear from other parents who have been in our shoes.

Thanks.

Irene said: Aug 20, 2012
Irene YeongViolin
160 posts

Do you play the violin yourself? If you do, try to take out the violin and play. Will she join you? Sometimes practise is boring, maybe make it fun. Just play the violin and let her bring her violin and come to you. If you have been practising for a month daily and she does not bring the violin and join you, maybe she really lack of interest. When you play , maybe daddy can watch at the side and applause, praise you.. make it fun. See if she’ll join in.
And if she does practise, don’t correct too many things at a time. Maybe just bow hold,, for a week, then the left wrist the next week. They get very discouraged if we say, stand up straight, feets,, left wrist,, watch your fingers,, bow hold.. .. all at the same time. I mean, I would be..

Francesca said: Aug 20, 2012
 Cello
2 posts

I’m a grandmother and practice partner for my 6 1/2 year old granddaughter. We’ve just started our third year of cello and I’m sure we’ve experienced every emotion known to humankind on this journey, but I wouldn’t change one moment of it. There’s much I’d like to say in response to your posting but Edmund Sprunger has said it so much better. Please purchase his beautiful book, Helping Parents Practice, and read it cover to cover before you make any decisions. It’s a beacon of light when things get hard and one begins to question commitment. Believe me, we’ve all been there!

Finally, may I share two thoughts that come to mind from reading your posting. First, I cannot imagine any four or five year old who would choose to practice without strong parental guidance. “Push” may not be the best word to use here, I like to think of it more as a “routine” we decide to follow for the well being of the child. Just as we expect our children to eat their meals, brush their teeth, go to bed each night, we can choose to make music practice a part of the rhythm of daily life. And the reason we choose to engage in this practice is my second point—the Suzuki journey is so much more than just learning to play an instrument. it is a nurturing of the whole child and we believe it is so important that it cannot be left up to the child to decide yes or no. The child cannot necessarily be expected, especially in the beginning years, to be “interested” or “motivated” to play the instrument. It may seem like a fun novelty at first, but then the reality sets in, and although we do our best to motivate with games and positive reinforcement, the work is hard, and while most practices hopefully end in smiles, some inevitably end in tantrums. We choose to persevere because we believe in the amazing potential for transformation that Suzuki education provides. So don’t give up yet. Read the book. Be inspired! And good luck in your journey.

Cellonana

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