terrible behaviour, so disappointed

said: Mar 7, 2011
 2 posts

My little girl has just turned 4 and has been learning for 4 months. Her behaviour has generally got worse during lessons, but today was dreadful. She just fiddled around with her feet, sat down when she was supposed to be standing, held her bow in a comedy way, would not do ANYTHING her teacher asked her to do. She ended up not playing anything at all, and the teacher ended the lesson. I was so disappointed, and kind of embarassed with the teacher and the other parent. As we were leaving, she cried and started hitting me, and I just felt the others were thinking what a badly behaved child she was :(.
I know this was just one bad lesson, but I did feel upset as I don’t feel there’s any guarantee this won’t happen every next lesson! I talked to my little girl about it afterwards and she does want to carry on violin, but said she felt tired. However this is how she is for practice EVERY single day, but has never been this bad for lesson before. How can I persuade her to stop fiddling and just focus for a few short minutes! Help! PLease make me feel better about this!

Celia Jones said: Mar 8, 2011
72 posts

Relax! And go easy on your kid too. When children behave badly, they often don’t know why themselves—it’s rarely deliberate. Your child’s explanation, that she was tired, is probably something close, it may be that she was actually ill, or fighting off a bug. Then again, as you say her behaviour has got worse and worse, it may be that your reaction to the bad behaviour is making her more and more nervous.

It’s actually quite hard to focus, especially when you are trying to forget just how naughty you were last week (or yesterday during practice). As a parent, it’s also very hard to switch from feeling cross and anxious about yesterday’s poor focus. I’ve been through this recently myself. A method that is working well for us is I bring a bunch of dolls and soft toys out and let my daughter decide who is going to help her practise. We also dress up and do our hair up. Grumpy mum has gone, glamorous (well kind of) lady and Baby Annabel are in charge now. And by the way, the focus is nowhere near perfect, but it’s enough to get some learning done.

Irene said: Mar 9, 2011
Irene Yeong160 posts

it happened to me a few times before, my daughter refused to listen to teacher’s instruction and started jumping around walking away during lesson. she is 29 months old at that time. group lessons were disastrous, she just refuse to play and just want to sit with me. if i make her play, she just stand there and cry.
i discussed with her teacher and we decided that she goes to lesson on her own. the first few times, she cry as she go into the room. teacher let her sing with the microphone, A, A, E, E , F, F, E and all then she has the mood and stop crying.
now at 30 months old, she goes into lessons on her own, books in one hand and violin in another. the past group lesson was good, she listen to instruction and play E string 10 times. not perfect, but she is willing to try.
maybe you can try to let daughter go into lesson on her own. kids sometimes behave better, when their parents are not around.

Diane said: Mar 9, 2011
Diane AllenViolin
244 posts

It’s always quite amazing to see a child go through extreme behavior changes. Silly one second, crying the next. Adults hold onto thoughts and behavior for very long periods of time compared to kids. If an adult acted like your daughter did at her lesson people would think that adult were strange indeed!

The hardest thing about this is for you the parent to let go of the anxiety and worry that your daughter will behave this way again. Just relax and start over again. Try a different way of being and practicticing. Keep experimenting. It’s exhausting going through all those mood swings with your child. So stay calm yet strong. If this week’s behavior and this moment passes then you are good to go. If the behavior continues—then there are different issues to address.

Videos of student violin recitals and violin tutorials.

said: Mar 9, 2011
 2 posts

thank you so much for the replies. They have made me feel better. I think you are right that children don’t know why they behave like they do. In fact my daughter said afterwards ‘I did’t know I was going to be naughty at violin’. We had one reasonably successful practice this morning—actually did it on the landing upstairs with the window open ’so people walking past could hear’. Did the job—I’ll have to think of something different every day!
Thanks again for the replies. I know it’s a long journey and I must persevere!

Sue Hunt said: Jun 24, 2011
Sue HuntViola, Violin
403 posts

Very often, children will feel trapped by overly long sessions and resort behaving badly just to get out of the situation. I’d like to suggest keeping the practices very short for the next week or so. If things have become really stressful, cut it down to one task and stick to it till both of you feel more relaxed. You may be able to do more than one micro practice in a day once your daughter realises that they will all be extremely short and sweet. By linking them to regular activities, like after breakfast, before a favourite TV program etc. they will become something that gets done, like brushing teeth. There are a couple of blogs on my website, http://www.musicinpractice.com which might interest you: Refusal to Practice – 10 Positive Steps Forwards and Practice Routine For a Young Beginner, 8 tips for helping your child to practice.

Good luck.

Francesca said: Jun 24, 2011
 2 posts

It’s so true how we adults hold onto feelings created by a child’s tantrums and misbehavior long after the child has forgotten the incident. Breathe, relax and be glad that each day brings the opportunity for a fresh start. One of the best bits of advice I was given when I began as “cello parent” with my 4 year old granddaughter was to always end the practice while things are positive, before the child becomes tired and frustrated. Some days this may mean only 5 or 10 minutes but you’ve had 5 good minutes that end with a smile. Also, our practice is never without lots of praise, sticker rewards and a treat (usually of the sweet variety)! Last year I ordered the “I Love to Practice Kit” from Shar Music, full of child-friendly games to make practice fun (it’s based on Suzuki Violin but adaptable for cello). We especially like the “Activity Cards”, each containing an instruction such as “Practice in the smallest room of your house”, “Take your shoes off and practice”, “Play your favorite song two times”, “Practice outdoors today”, etc. Each day the child chooses a card at random from the deck and follows the instructions—great fun. You’re right, it’s a long journey, but the benefits are so worth the effort. You can do it!


Paula Bird said: Aug 5, 2011
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Piano, Viola
Wimberley, TX
404 posts

Sounds like your daughter needed the “million dollar lesson.” During my introductory parent course, I make sure to explain how this lesson works to my new parents. We don’t need to have more than one of these, but they are memorable! Stay tuned, because I’ll probably discuss this in an upcoming blog post. http://teachsuzuki.blogspot.com

Paula E. Bird
TX State University
Wildflower Suzuki Studio
http://teachsuzuki.blogspot.com (blog)
http://teachsuzuki.com (podcast)

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