Child prefers theory to playing!??

said: Feb 2, 2007
 9 posts

I am a parent and am wondering if any of you teachers or parents have dealt with a child who prefers learning music theory to actually playing. He is 8 years old. He begs to be quizzed on things like note-reading, keys, etc. But he delays and resists actually playing his instrument. I should say he was also this way about reading (loved it) and writing (did not!), although ultimately his willingness to write caught up fairly well to others his age.
Should we go where his interest lies and assume that as he becomes more confident (and knowledgeable) his hands will start playing more? Five minutes a day (max!) actually playing is all he manages at this point. We have already tried switching instruments to one that he prefers. That helped for awhile. . . . Sometimes I feel like giving up!….
Thanks for any insight.

Doreen said: Feb 2, 2007
 Violin, Flute
3 posts

Don’t give up! As his confidence builds so will his playing ability and therefore the amount of time he’s willing to spend playing. He may be comparing his playing ability with more experienced children (as my son has in the past) and assume he’s no good. If you can get 5 minutes out of him, then that’s 5 minutes more than if you give up and 5 more minutes of improvement each day.

As the mother of another 8-year old boy, I think the challenges are different in teaching boys than girls. Since most of the students (at least in our program) are girls, it SEEMS not normal when these challenges crop up, so we moms worry. I can relate with the reluctance to use fine motor skills. My son is the same way. I have noticed that he takes careful note of details that he cannot reproduce (without practice). Because he’s a child he hasn’t learned yet that practice overcomes that. Maybe your son will be a composer someday! At the least, he will appreciate good music if you continue.

said: Feb 6, 2007
 Violin
15 posts

You might have a young composer there :D…I’d personally keep on insisting he shoould try “playing” too.

And remeber to be patient, 5 minutes are ok for now if that’s what all he wants to do…Later, you can work on increasing that gradually. The important thing is to keep him practicing (5min or 5 hours:wink: ), he’ll fall in love with his instrument later.

He may start practicing so he can keep up with his peers…although I don’t recommend you use that strategy with him. What makes students progress fast is comparing themselves to themselves in the past and see if they progress…

Good Luck :) ,
Mahmoud

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