Sharon Moms Topic: Losing Interest In Guitar Lessons
When is stopping the lessons OK?
Moms Talk is a new feature on Sharon Patch that is part of a new initiative on our Patch sites to reach out to moms and families.
Sharon Patch invites you and your circle of friends to help build a community of support for mothers and their families right here in Sharon Patch.
Each week in Moms Talk, our Moms Council of experts and smart moms take your questions, give advice and share solutions.
Moms, dads, grandparents and the diverse families who make up our community will have a new resource for questions about local neighborhood schools, the best pediatricians, 24-hour pharmacies and the thousands of other issues that arise while raising children.
Moms Talk will also be the place to drop in for a talk about the latest parenting hot topic. Where can we get information on local flu shot clinics for children? How can we help our children's schools weather their budget cutbacks?
So grab a cup of coffee and settle in as we start the conversation today with a question from Sharon Patch Moms Council member Abigail Marsters:
My 11-year old son begged me to buy him a guitar for his birthday and provide him with lessons. He enjoys the lessons, but needs constant reminders to practice, and he seems to be losing interest. At what point do I make a decision to stop lessons?
The question is why is he losing interest? Is he bored with the teacher, the music, the schedule? Is this a pattern in other activities as well?
Sometimes teachers teach differently or they teach different material. A friend of mine moved her son from classical piano to jazz piano and it made all the difference in the world.
Ask your child why he wanted the guitar and what he wants to do with it. Tell him this was an investment on both your parts and should continue to be, but only if it meets his plan and he agrees to it. Eleven years old is old enough to be a partner in the plan and to understand the idea of investment.
Mom's Council member Dianne Needle says:
Personally, I think music lessons are one of the greatest gifts we can give our children.
If your son enjoys the lessons, then don't stop the lessons. I think it is important to have kids follow through on what they started. So, for example, if you agree together that he will get a guitar and lessons, then you both need to agree on how long the lessons will initially last and make sure he sticks to that. At the end of that time period, you both can evaluate whether he wants to continue.
And as far as reminding him to practice- sadly, that is likely going to be the case, but
that doesn't necessarily mean he doesn't enjoy it. Here are some other suggestions for making your life easier when it comes to your child’s need to practice:
Set expectations: For example, you need to practice all of your required songs each day (except on lesson day). Whether that takes five minutes or 15 minutes, it’s the quality of the time that’s more important. Once you give your child that freedom to self-monitor and put it in his control, sometimes it works better.
Remind him that he has to practice. If after school, he is sitting relaxing, playing games, etc, just a quick reminder that he has to practice before dinner at 6 p.m. He may say, ok just five more minutes, or I will, etc. Kids need a little prodding. It's ok.
Make sure that he is connected with his teacher and it's a good fit. That is important. Your child should be able to love two things: 1) His teacher and 2) playing the instrument. If one is lacking, it will be a struggle, and usually one becomes dependent on the other. If there is a disconnect, look for another teacher or music school.
Moms Council member Susan Cetlin says:
My son has been taking violin lessons since he was 3 and now is 12. So, my husband and I have a lot of experience.
We still have to remind him daily to practice. We weren’t as consistent with my older daughter and left it up to her and her teachers. The outcome was that she didn’t make as much progress and lost interest, even though she loved her lessons and teachers.
On the other hand, our son has become very proficient at the violin and derives much enjoyment from his mastery. That’s not to say, he would rather text message his friends, watch TV, play a video game, or have a second helping of dessert to delay his practicing.
Though never fun, parents' friendly nudging and limit setting seem to be par for the course if you want to expose your children to the joys of music education.