Problems attending Piano lessons

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Victor said: Feb 16, 2011
 Piano
1 posts

I have a 6 year old daughter. She is in Piano Book 1 and has been attending piano lessons for one year and a half.
At the beginning she was really motivated, but gradually she’s been losing interest in attending to her lessons. We are having a hard time convincing her to go to her teacher studio every week.
Last time, when we arrived to her teacher’s she started to cry and refused to get in. We had to leave because she made such a big struggle.
The teacher told us that our daughter might need a rest period, but I don’t agree a 100% because she coming back from a 1 and a half month vacation.
I talked to my daughter and she tells that the lessons are boring and she wants to quit. She only prefers to practice at home.
I am confused and frustrated because I believe that she shouldn’t quit since the musical education is not negotiable, but I don’t want to force her do something she dislikes and stresses her.
I thought that it might be a lack of motivation, but at home we listen the CD every day, practice almost every day (we have good and bad days), we listen classical music and sometimes attend concertos.

Please any advice.

Irene said: Feb 16, 2011
Irene YeongViolin
160 posts

how long is her piano lesson? if it is 45 minutes, then perhaps you can cut down to 30 minutes?
my daughter refuses to go in for her violin lesson to, she will cry when her teacher holds her hand and bring her into the room but she stop crying immediately then. teacher will pass her a microphone and let her sing for a while, then start the lesson when she is ready.
maybe your child can do something she enjoys for 5 minutes, then when she is ready, begins the lesson.

Laura said: Feb 16, 2011
 
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
358 posts

Thank you for your honesty in sharing about your daughter’s situation. I think it is more common than people care to share! I have just a few thoughts in general, but in all honesty it’s hard to assess things further without personally know the people involved.

Sounds like you are doing whatever you can to promote a good home environment for Suzuki. The usual problem is that practicing seems more of a struggle than lessons—but you are experiencing the opposite. So my first concern would be about what happens during lessons.

How is the teacher’s rapport with your daughter in general? Sometimes the teacher has a certain personality type or communication quirks that, for lack of a better explanation, are a poor match for the student. (Ideally, a teacher ought to be able to adapt to each student, but that is something the teacher must deal with!)

How is the teacher’s teaching style? Does she switch quickly from one activity or teaching point to the next, or does she tend to linger on one thing for too long? Many younger kids can only focus on something for so long.

I have seen some teachers (Suzuki or other) who are absolutely brilliant with little kids, but others who just teach them as if they are just smaller versions of big kids.

It could also be that a long time ago in your daughter’s lesson history, one little comment or incident stood out for her and has stuck out like a sore thumb in her psyche ever since, whereas it would have been nothing to the adults. Ask your daughter if Mrs./Mr. So-and-so ever did or said anything that put her off, and if so, you could have a parent/child talk to both acknowledge it, and hopefully also put it to rest.

Celia Jones said: Feb 17, 2011
 Violin
72 posts

In all aspects of childrearing there are good days and bad days and the tough thing for us as parents is to decide when the child is being reasonable. If the piano lesson is boring, maybe it really is just too much for the child or maybe the child needs to develop the ability to keep refocussing and follow directions.

I told my 3 1/2 year old that she had to work hard at doing what she was told, that it was an important skill. She looked interested and really made an effort. After her class she praised herself saying “I only jumped on the chair once, I did what the teacher said”. And at home she has been doing that too.

When they learn that through hard work, they get a lot of fun, that’s a wonderful lesson for them to have learned. Of course, if through hard work, they just get bored to tears, then it’s no lesson at all.

Sara said: Feb 20, 2011
 Violin
191 posts

What is a typical lesson day like for you and your daughter? Sometimes if a day is just too crammed with appointments, errands, school, homework, lesson, etc. It can just be plain overwhelming to her.
I know of parents who will allow their kids in elementary school to miss school the day of the lesson. This gives the child something to look forward to and the reason is the lesson—therefore making a lesson a wonderful thing! Especially if after the lesson you go do something fun—and it could even be educationally fun—such as visit a museum, the zoo, or keep it simple and go to the library and pick out a new book to read, have a picnic, come home and make cookies together or whatever she thinks would be a fun thing.
Then she’ll start to relate the fun things with the lesson and over time might start enjoying the lesson, knowing something fun follows a lesson…..
Just a thought. Keep us posted!

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

Deanna said: Mar 13, 2011
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
90 posts

Does she attend group lessons?
Often the younger kids like group lessons more than private lessons and learn (or at least do) a lot more from watching their peers.

I have one student (age 6) who was finding it really a struggle to come to lessons each week. She found it difficult to actually go to any of her activities—dance, violin, swimming etc. I suggested they get a calendar for her with violin and other activities written in so that when she wakes up in the morning she knows what activites she has that day. It gave her a bit more control—she X’s off each day, and I think took away some of the stress of going to activities. However she always enjoyed her activities once she was there it was just the getting there that was an issue.

Maybe the teacher could arrange for you and your daughter to observe some other kids’ lessons. Peer modelling can work wonders with attitude.

said: Mar 13, 2011
 63 posts

I encourage you to take all of the above suggestions and see what you can work with. As a teacher, I know that it’s extremely difficult to get re-started after missing even just two weeks of lessons in a row. Pieces that students knew how to play before aren’t there and the student gets extremely distressed and frustrated, and usually quit piano. Please try suggestions above but know that it is very difficult to re-start in the middle of a school year.

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