one parent less than enthusiastic

Anne said: May 11, 2008
 17 posts

My son is 10 and playing violin beautifully in Book 5; my daughter is 5 and about to finish book 3. They’re both involved in a very active Suzuki program with includes private lessons, group, and orchestra, and plenty of performance opportunities. My son’s also involved in school and intra-district orchestras. I play as well (mid Book 3). My kids absolutely love what they are doing and say they want to be musicians when they “grow up,” and we also love playing together.

The problem? My husband, while saying that he likes hearing the children play and seeing how much they progress, mostly just complains about the practices (45 min-1 hr per child; then if I’m lucky another 45 min for me) and about all of the activities—lessons, rehearsals, group classes. he says it takes away from family time and his time with the kids. As the children advance and need to spend more time practicing and qualify for more elite groups, it just gets worse. I imagine he feels left out and a bit jealous of the time this all takes, but can’t convince him to join in more rather than fighting the journey tooth and nail. Sometimes it’s so that I just want to give up. He says I’m obsessed with the violin and the progress of the kids—I don’t think I am, but rather feel responsible to help them achieve what they say and show are their dreams (if they didn’t love this, I wouldn’t push).

Any experiences where on parent was less than enthusiastic (that hopefully ended with the children and parents happy)? Any ideas about how to bring him on board?

said: May 12, 2008
 21 posts

I also have two children playing violin. These same children take piano lessons. Two older daughters take guitar lessons. My husband does complain about all the lessons, practicing and events. I try to respect his opinions. They are his children too. I don’t want our family lives to get out of balance. After all, our number one goal is to raise emotionally healthy children.

At the same time I realize the pressures of the music world. It is so competetive, the children do need a high level of committment if they are to succeed. Respecting my husband’s wishes, I have lowered my expectations. I’m encouraging my one daughter who started music at age 9 to become a “good musician,” and to “train as a teacher as well,” to give her maximum things to do as an adult.

One other thing I do is to try to encourage my husband to be part of the process. He found that the time he spent with my daughter at youth symphony practice was a wonderful undistracted time for him to grade exams. I encourage the girls to play the kind of music he enjoys, I get stressful practice times out of the way when he is at work, and I try to schedule lessons close to home at times that don’t interfere with family activities. Finally I frequently point out all the positive benefits of music education for kids including increased IQ, friendships with other serious, committed children, helping to pay for college by teaching lessons someday, and the joy our children will someday bring to our church body with their musical gifts.

Sara said: Jul 11, 2008
191 posts

Some of my students parents would take their children out of school for lessons so it wouldn’t be an “extra” thing to do after school. That way the home routine was not interrupted for lessons.
Most school teachers would support private music lessons as long as it isn’t during a core subject such as math.
Work with the school teacher and explain what you’re doing. If she is a good teacher she most likely will work with you on it.
That would at least eliminate the private lessons from interrupting too much

“What is man’s ultimate direction in life? It is to look for love, truth, virtue, and beauty.” Dr. Shinichi Suzuki

said: Sep 7, 2008
 7 posts

It sounds like your husband could benefit by another perspective; music is training for life.

Learning an instrument exposes a child to mastery and excellence. A child does not see this degree of excellence at school. Any child can hear the difference between a student and a professional violinist, a professional violinist and a concert violinist. Noticing the degree of excellence is an important new discovery that doesn’t happen with getting grades at school. The span between getting a “D” or getting and “A” is perhaps 5% of the mastery spectrum; so school is teaching competence, not excellence. In the real world competency is mediocre, not competitive, not successful. When children become involved with the arts they enter the inner competition to strive for excellence because they can easily recognize excellence in the arts.

So what should your kids compare every life experience with—excellence or mediocrity? The arts provide children with an opportunity to strive for mastery and that is when they truly grow.

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