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Topic Options
#1251798 - 08/19/09 07:40 AM Are we soft on frustration?
keyboardklutz Offline
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Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
I think feelings, not discipline, are the principle progenitors of action in children. Are we too soft when we choose to 'work around' the inevitable feelings of frustration experienced when learning an instrument? Should students be encouraged to explore their feelings of frustration rather than avoid them? These feelings are often below consciousness, bring them out and the student may accept them.
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#1251878 - 08/19/09 11:11 AM Re: Are we soft on frustration? [Re: keyboardklutz]
the_pianist26 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/19/09
Posts: 12
Loc: Israel
I totally agree with this statement. It is true here and in most of life experiences.

Only deep frustration can push a piano beginner to exlore his own ends and abilities, of course however,

not any one can stand against these frustrations, but I guess that is what make the special ones so special.
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There is no truer truth obtainable By Man than comes of music

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#1251903 - 08/19/09 11:57 AM Re: Are we soft on frustration? [Re: the_pianist26]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
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Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Right, ya gotta suffer if ya wanna sing the blues. And welcome to PW tp!
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snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1251905 - 08/19/09 11:58 AM Re: Are we soft on frustration? [Re: the_pianist26]
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13818
Loc: Iowa City, IA
I also agree. Learning piano, and life in general, is not about avoiding stressful or uncomfortable situations, it's about staying in control and dealing with them when they come up.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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#1251917 - 08/19/09 12:09 PM Re: Are we soft on frustration? [Re: Kreisler]
bitWrangler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/07
Posts: 1789
Loc: Central TX
Good topic. In specific circumstances when the kids get frustrated when practicing, I always say something to the effect of:

"this point that you're at, this point is very important, because it is at this point that 95% of people will quit, using the frustration as an excuse. However, the other 5% will persevere, use the frustration to motivate them. That 5% are the folks that will end up succeeding in life at almost anything they do, because they've learned how to break through that mental "wall"".

A bit deep and sometimes not altogether convincing for a frustrated 7 yo (or a 10 yo for that matter), but I can definitely see the gears turning whenever I say it. I'll then usually go on about how anything they do and wish to be good at will eventually get them to this point, etc, etc. By then they usually get on with it just to keep me from droning on wink

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#1251920 - 08/19/09 12:17 PM Re: Are we soft on frustration? [Re: bitWrangler]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Registered: 05/21/07
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Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Thanks bW, I was just about to say, what about the second half of my post - bringing it out into the open? Younger children don't realize they're frustrated, they just suddenly don't like the activity or get fidgety. How do you folks make them aware of these feelings they don't know they're having?
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#1251931 - 08/19/09 12:36 PM Re: Are we soft on frustration? [Re: Kreisler]
gooddog Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 4841
Loc: Seattle area, WA
Agreed, wholeheartedly!

Unfortunately, today's parents often want to protect their children from frustration and failure because they attach their own egos to their child's success and happiness. As a public high school teacher I find it extremely frustrating when a parent argues with me or my administration when their baby(?) is held accountable for poor decisions.

You wouldn't believe some of the arguments I've heard:

"You can't give my a child a C, I work for "famous software company name".)

Weeping teen (16 years old) in the middle of a tantrum: "But I wanted an A!" Teacher: "But you earned a C". "But I wanted an A!"

Teacher: Sorry those are the published rules and consequences." Teen: "But I forgot. I should get another chance."

In my very heated opinion, this kind of behavior is caused by parents who give their child whatever it takes to make them happy. They want to be their child's friend and not their parent. I'm often the first person to actually hold their child accountable! It's not a fun position to be in.

My theory about kids who come to school to shoot people is that these kids have have been protected from frustration by overly doting parents. When someone finally draws the line in the sand, often a teacher, they haven't developed the skills to handle it. If only parents would hold their kids accountable and would mete out appropriate consequences at an early age, children would learn how to deal with frustration in a healthy way.

Sorry about the tirade. If you, as a piano teacher, can help a child face and conquer frustration, you are doing yourself, the child and society a huge favor.

I will now shut up before I burst an artery!
_________________________
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Deborah

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#1251948 - 08/19/09 01:10 PM Re: Are we soft on frustration? [Re: gooddog]
Ebony and Ivory Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/05
Posts: 1179
Loc: Minnesota
Originally Posted By: gooddog
My theory about kids who come to school to shoot people is that these kids have have been protected from frustration by overly doting parents. When someone finally draws the line in the sand, often a teacher, they haven't developed the skills to handle it. If only parents would hold their kids accountable and would mete out appropriate consequences at an early age, children would learn how to deal with frustration in a healthyway.


I had the opposite happen once when my son was 11. His science teacher called me because he completely bombed his 6 week science project (did it in a day) and told me she would give him an extension!!! I about burst an artery at that one! I said "absolutely not!". Then I found out later that all kids that didn't pass, had to come in early and stay late for 2 weeks to do a group project (school policy). That teacher was simply trying to avoid doing that! Urgh I was SO disgusted that she would allow him an out like that!!!

I'm with you guys totally. You absolutely need to learn how to handle frustration. As parents OR teachers it is a huge part of our job to help them with that.

It is okay to feel it, but you need to know what to do with it. It is NOT okay to kick the cat lol
_________________________
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Professional private piano teacher since 1994.

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#1251979 - 08/19/09 01:53 PM Re: Are we soft on frustration? [Re: Ebony and Ivory]
Morodiene Offline
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Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12215
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Music study is such a great place for kids to learn life lessons. Perseverance is one of them. Too often, parents will let children quit if they start complaining, rather than finding out what the problem is and solving it. Of course, that takes effort on the part of the parent, child, and teacher.

If a student is getting frustrated, I will often stop them in the middle of playing and discuss it. Sometimes, they are frustrated because their playing isn't as good as they want it to be. Often that is due to a lack of practicing often and/or practicing well. So I will talk to them about this and let them know that there are always consequences for our actions. If they don't practice the way I instruct them to, then the consequence is that the results won't be as good. I point that out and tell them to anticipate the consequence next time they feel like not practicing or not doing what they are assigned. Most of them come in the next week with better practice. Those who do not, we keep working at finding a way to make it happen.

Every once in a while I will get a perfectionist student who will get frustrated at the drop of a hat (or note). In these instances I tell them we must focus on the solution, not the problem. It is in dwelling on the problem that frustration builds. Once you start solving the issue, the emotion subsides. Oftentimes, however, these kids don't know how to make that switch, so I guide them simply by talking immediately about ways to work out the problem. These are basic problem-solving skills, but it is surprising that kids don't know how to do this (and many adults, too!). But it is far better for them to go through these difficult and possibly emotionally painful experiences when the stakes are low than to learn them as an adult when jobs/relationships/going to prison are on the line.
_________________________
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#1251987 - 08/19/09 02:12 PM Re: Are we soft on frustration? [Re: Ebony and Ivory]
spatial Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/20/09
Posts: 96
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Ebony and Ivory

I had the opposite happen once when my son was 11. His science teacher called me because he completely bombed his 6 week science project (did it in a day) and told me she would give him an extension!!! I about burst an artery at that one! I said "absolutely not!". Then I found out later that all kids that didn't pass, had to come in early and stay late for 2 weeks to do a group project (school policy). That teacher was simply trying to avoid doing that! Urgh I was SO disgusted that she would allow him an out like that!!!


Maybe I'm interpreting this incorrectly, but why would you sabotage your son's future like that? Life is hard enough without artificial obstacles like grades in the way.

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#1251989 - 08/19/09 02:23 PM Re: Are we soft on frustration? [Re: spatial]
dumdumdiddle Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 1267
Loc: California
Huh??
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#1251990 - 08/19/09 02:24 PM Re: Are we soft on frustration? [Re: spatial]
Ebony and Ivory Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/05
Posts: 1179
Loc: Minnesota
Originally Posted By: spatial
Originally Posted By: Ebony and Ivory

I had the opposite happen once when my son was 11. His science teacher called me because he completely bombed his 6 week science project (did it in a day) and told me she would give him an extension!!! I about burst an artery at that one! I said "absolutely not!". Then I found out later that all kids that didn't pass, had to come in early and stay late for 2 weeks to do a group project (school policy). That teacher was simply trying to avoid doing that! Urgh I was SO disgusted that she would allow him an out like that!!!


Maybe I'm interpreting this incorrectly, but why would you sabotage your son's future like that? Life is hard enough without artificial obstacles like grades in the way.


Not sure what you mean. In what way do you see this as sabotaging his future? He knew that there would be consequences (at home and on his report card)of his not doing his project. The teacher, by giving him an extension, would have eliminated the accountability to my son.

The way it ended up, he had to go in an hour early and stay an hour late for 1o days to finish. I think that was a good lesson for him. Getting the extension would have simply taught him that deadlines don't really matter.

I have seen it too many times. Several kids don't get their homework done so the teacher lets them have another day. That is not the real world. If it is due, it is due! If these kids text each other and say "let's not do our homework" then they get another day? That's just not right!

Whether we believe that grades are an artificial obstacle or not, it is the way it works so we have to play the game the way it is played.
_________________________
It is better to be kind than to be right.

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#1251995 - 08/19/09 02:27 PM Re: Are we soft on frustration? [Re: spatial]
gooddog Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 4841
Loc: Seattle area, WA
I think Ebony and Ivory is trying to be a good parent by having her child be accountable for not doing a good job on the project. The lesson learned is: If I don't plan ahead and do quality work, I fail. Making excuses and exceptions leads a child to believe the "real world" will be as forgiving. The working world is not forgiving. You will be fired. Grades are a preview of the competition that the child will face as an adult. At least school is a "safe" place to fail.

In defense of the teacher, it is possible he or she works in a school with heavy parental interference (we call them helicopter parents) and where the administration does not support the teachers. I've seen many teachers cave in to parent whining just so they can go home at the end of the day without a stomach ache.

_________________________
Best regards,

Deborah

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#1251996 - 08/19/09 02:28 PM Re: Are we soft on frustration? [Re: Ebony and Ivory]
spatial Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/20/09
Posts: 96
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Ebony and Ivory

Not sure what you mean. In what way do you see this as sabotaging his future? He knew that there would be consequences (at home and on his report card)of his not doing his project. The teacher, by giving him an extension, would have eliminated the accountability to my son.


In an ideal world, I would agree with you. The problem is that the consequences of bad grades themselves can stick with us long after we graduate from school.

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#1251998 - 08/19/09 02:32 PM Re: Are we soft on frustration? [Re: spatial]
LVP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/29/09
Posts: 289
Loc: Vermont
The real obstacle of inflated grades is NOT being able to produce at the level that you have credentials for. I have met lots of 16 year old kids with 4.0 GPA's who can't do simple math. Why? Because their elite schools will give everyone A's to save face and ensure that their kids go to Ivy League schools. Meanwhile, they can't remember how to add fractions. It's painful to think how they will fare once they get to college and have to perform like the academics that they appear to be.

Ebony and Ivory, after years of tutoring kids whose parents were totally pushovers, I applaud you! Grades may be somewhat arbitrary, but what is more arbitrary than passing someone who did not apply effort? What does this teach a child? That the world will reward them just for breathing? Seriously, this doesn't help them at all in the end. And there is evidence that this degrades their sense of self worth and esteem. Those are feelings that one earns by persevering and observing one's own ability first hand....they are not gifts that can be handed out by parents OR piano teachers!

There was an article in Nat Geo about how if we build up kids too much with false praise, they will quit anything that seems hard, b/c they will believe that if they were supposed to be good at something, it would come naturally. Helping kids deal with frustration is part of helping them appreciate the power of perseverance and is step #1 to helping them craft the work ethic that they need to really succeed in life.

BTW, one failing grade in seventh grade does not 'sabotage' one's future. But it MIGHT help them to realize that actions have consequences!
_________________________
LVP
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#1252004 - 08/19/09 02:36 PM Re: Are we soft on frustration? [Re: spatial]
gooddog Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 4841
Loc: Seattle area, WA
Originally Posted By: spatial
Originally Posted By: Ebony and Ivory

Not sure what you mean. In what way do you see this as sabotaging his future? He knew that there would be consequences (at home and on his report card)of his not doing his project. The teacher, by giving him an extension, would have eliminated the accountability to my son.


In an ideal world, I would agree with you. The problem is that the consequences of bad grades themselves can stick with us long after we graduate from school.


Bad grades are earned not given. At what age do you propose we start holding people accountable? 15? 25? 45? IMO, you need to start around 2. (Edit: Children should be held accountable at birth. Example: Bite Mommy, Mommy says "Ouch" and pulls away from baby. The consequences should, of course, be age appropriate.) If you start early enough, kids learn and behave accordingly. The problem is, no one is holding these children accountable so they feel entitled to a free ride. They hit my 10th grade classroom and are put into a state of shock when I say, "No late work" and hold them to it. At least they are learning in the safe environment of my classroom and not when their actions mean no food on the table and no rent money.


Edited by gooddog (08/19/09 03:26 PM)
Edit Reason: ruminating
_________________________
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Deborah

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#1252011 - 08/19/09 02:55 PM Re: Are we soft on frustration? [Re: gooddog]
Ebony and Ivory Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/05
Posts: 1179
Loc: Minnesota
Originally Posted By: spatial
In an ideal world, I would agree with you. The problem is that the consequences of bad grades themselves can stick with us long after we graduate from school.
The consequences of not learning accountability also sticks with us long after. In my opinion, accountability is more valuable than an F on a project in 6th grade is harmful. But, he didn't get that F because the school had the policy about coming in and "fixing" it. BTW, this boy graduated with a 4.24 GPA.

Originally Posted By: gooddog
In defense of the teacher, it is possible he or she works in a school with heavy parental interference (we call them helicopter parents) and where the administration does not support the teachers. I've seen many teachers cave in to parent whining just so they can go home at the end of the day without a stomach ache.


I absolutely understand what you are saying here. There are WAY too many times when I see the administration "sweep it under the rug" because they don't want to deal with the parents. These are probably the same parents that never had any accountability either.

"Why is Johnny being suspended for hitting you? YOU made him hit you!"
Actual conversation when an 8th grade student bloodied my nose.
_________________________
It is better to be kind than to be right.

Professional private piano teacher since 1994.

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#1252187 - 08/19/09 08:37 PM Re: Are we soft on frustration? [Re: bitWrangler]
DadAgain Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/09/09
Posts: 365
Loc: Brisbane, QLD
Originally Posted By: bitWrangler
Good topic. In specific circumstances when the kids get frustrated when practicing, I always say something to the effect of:

"this point that you're at, this point is very important, because it is at this point that 95% of people will quit, using the frustration as an excuse. However, the other 5% will persevere, use the frustration to motivate them. That 5% are the folks that will end up succeeding in life at almost anything they do, because they've learned how to break through that mental "wall"".


I like this... Unfortunately I think it'll be a bit lost on my 5yr old daughter! She does get frustrated when playing the piano and making mistakes - but as you suggest by showing her how to solve the problems (breaking down trouble bars and playing them over and over dead slow, hands apart etc etc) - she usualy gets over it pretty quickly. Of course being 5 her concentration fades and she'll generally walk away after 1- minutes of practice. The amazing thing is quite often she comes back 2 hours later for another 10 minutes and whatever was the stumbling block before has corrected itself!

For what its worth I completely agree with the general sentiment of this thread. Kids need to learn how to work to achieve something, they need to learn that things sometimes dont go their way (and thats ok) and they need to learn how to accept failures and lose gracefully. Now once we've taught our kids these lessons - can we teach the rest of society too?
_________________________
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Orchestral Viola player (stictly amateur)....
Hack Pianist.... (faded skills from glory days 20 yrs ago)
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Former conductor... (been a long time since I was set loose with a magic wand!)

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#1252191 - 08/19/09 08:43 PM Re: Are we soft on frustration? [Re: DadAgain]
Ebony and Ivory Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/05
Posts: 1179
Loc: Minnesota
Originally Posted By: DadAgain
Kids need to learn how to work to achieve something, they need to learn that things sometimes dont go their way (and thats ok) and they need to learn how to accept failures and lose gracefully. Now once we've taught our kids these lessons - can we teach the rest of society too?


Sounds like many of us here are trying to do that. One student at a time smile
_________________________
It is better to be kind than to be right.

Professional private piano teacher since 1994.

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#1252310 - 08/20/09 01:00 AM Re: Are we soft on frustration? [Re: Ebony and Ivory]
Candywoman Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 857
spatial: "The problem is that the consequences of bad grades themselves can stick with us long after we graduate from school. Life is hard enough without artificial obstacles like grades in the way."

What is artificial about grades? If you do a good job, you get a good grade.

Kids should be taught about those consequences of bad grades, but it doesn't make sense to protect them from the results of their own poor study habits. If they earn poor grades, they should deal with the consequences.

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#1252374 - 08/20/09 05:58 AM Re: Are we soft on frustration? [Re: DadAgain]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Originally Posted By: DadAgain
I like this... Unfortunately I think it'll be a bit lost on my 5yr old daughter! She does get frustrated when playing the piano and making mistakes - but as you suggest by showing her how to solve the problems (breaking down trouble bars and playing them over and over dead slow, hands apart etc etc) - she usualy gets over it pretty quickly. Of course being 5 her concentration fades and she'll generally walk away after 1- minutes of practice. The amazing thing is quite often she comes back 2 hours later for another 10 minutes and whatever was the stumbling block before has corrected itself!...they need to learn that things sometimes dont go their way
That is the crux. Children notice things aren't going their way and walk away! They don't go that one step further and notice they're being driven by feelings of frustration. I'm not sure words help. Maybe get them to giggle?
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1252406 - 08/20/09 08:15 AM Re: Are we soft on frustration? [Re: keyboardklutz]
Ebony and Ivory Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/05
Posts: 1179
Loc: Minnesota
Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
Maybe get them to giggle?


KBK, so true!! Giggling can solve all kinds of different problems!

I like to show the kids how I have 11 fingers. The little ones especially get distracted by that! Do you know that "trick"? Hold up both hands and count 1-2-3-4-5 as you put your fingers down at the same time you say the numbers, then the other hand say 10-9-8-7-6 as you put your fingers down. Ask them what 5+6 is. Gets them every time! :0
_________________________
It is better to be kind than to be right.

Professional private piano teacher since 1994.

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#1252410 - 08/20/09 08:20 AM Re: Are we soft on frustration? [Re: Ebony and Ivory]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Registered: 05/21/07
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Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Originally Posted By: Ebony and Ivory
, then the other hand say 10-9-8-7-6 as you put your fingers down.
Jeez, your fingering must look a mess!
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1252417 - 08/20/09 08:28 AM Re: Are we soft on frustration? [Re: keyboardklutz]
Ebony and Ivory Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/05
Posts: 1179
Loc: Minnesota
Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
Originally Posted By: Ebony and Ivory
, then the other hand say 10-9-8-7-6 as you put your fingers down.
Jeez, your fingering must look a mess!


lol, not on the keyboard! Ha sorry frown
I meant hold your hands up in front of you lol
_________________________
It is better to be kind than to be right.

Professional private piano teacher since 1994.

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#1252418 - 08/20/09 08:28 AM Re: Are we soft on frustration? [Re: Ebony and Ivory]
jagshrink Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/11/09
Posts: 43
Loc: OH--IO
My sons are both "gifted" academically, so school work comes easy to them. I started them in piano lessons at around age 5 and 7 to begin to get the experience of something that did not come easily or automatically.

jagshrink

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#1252535 - 08/20/09 11:03 AM Re: Are we soft on frustration? [Re: jagshrink]
Mrs.A Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 155
Originally Posted By: jagshrink
My sons are both "gifted" academically, so school work comes easy to them. I started them in piano lessons at around age 5 and 7 to begin to get the experience of something that did not come easily or automatically.

jagshrink


I have one gifted son who skipped a grade, I understand your concern.

Your story reminds me of a student years ago who was very academically gifted. He excelled at everything he did. Got straight A’s never study and the parents were afraid he wasn’t learning work ethic.

The mother started the child in piano thinking it would be challenging and something he would have to work at. She felt it would build character. I was a little apprehensive at the mothers motive for lessons.

A few months after he started his mom just laughed and gave up the fight. He progressed very quickly. He fell in love with piano and classical music and famous composers. It is still a passion today. …He didn’t have to work at it.
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#1252556 - 08/20/09 11:26 AM Re: Are we soft on frustration? [Re: DadAgain]
bitWrangler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/07
Posts: 1789
Loc: Central TX
Originally Posted By: DadAgain
I like this... Unfortunately I think it'll be a bit lost on my 5yr old daughter! She does get frustrated when playing the piano and making mistakes - but as you suggest by showing her how to solve the problems (breaking down trouble bars and playing them over and over dead slow, hands apart etc etc) - she usualy gets over it pretty quickly. Of course being 5 her concentration fades and she'll generally walk away after 1- minutes of practice. The amazing thing is quite often she comes back 2 hours later for another 10 minutes and whatever was the stumbling block before has corrected itself!


True, I didn't start until my kids were 6 wink

I think your post brings up another point. While most here generally agree that kids need to be taught how to work through the "tough times", the exact technique used however can differ. It might be perfectly fine for your daughter to "step away for a minute" as her preferred technique to deal with these issues, as long as she actually does come back to the problem (in a somewhat timely fashion) of course smile I knew a software engineer who worked this way. While for others it may be better to just brute force your way through it. One time on a project, the above mentioned software engineer was trying to track down a particularly insidious bug. While his instinct wanted him to "put the problem down for a second", his manager insisted on hovering and basically forcing him to try to brute force his way. As you might imagine, this was a recipe for disaster.

So the bottom line becomes that while it's important to keep the general goal in mind (don't quit when the going gets tough), one should both be flexible and be sure to have an understanding of your individual kids demeanor/strengths/weaknesses/personalities to pick the appropriate strategy.

Originally Posted By: DadAgain
Now once we've taught our kids these lessons - can we teach the rest of society too?


But that is exactly what we are doing, it's just going to take a few generations smile
Oh and I agree with others who say

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#1252566 - 08/20/09 11:39 AM Re: Are we soft on frustration? [Re: Ebony and Ivory]
Mrs.A Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 155
Originally Posted By: Ebony and Ivory
Originally Posted By: spatial
Originally Posted By: Ebony and Ivory

I had the opposite happen once when my son was 11. His science teacher called me because he completely bombed his 6 week science project (did it in a day) and told me she would give him an extension!!! I about burst an artery at that one! I said "absolutely not!". Then I found out later that all kids that didn't pass, had to come in early and stay late for 2 weeks to do a group project (school policy). That teacher was simply trying to avoid doing that! Urgh I was SO disgusted that she would allow him an out like that!!!


Maybe I'm interpreting this incorrectly, but why would you sabotage your son's future like that? Life is hard enough without artificial obstacles like grades in the way.


Not sure what you mean. In what way do you see this as sabotaging his future? He knew that there would be consequences (at home and on his report card)of his not doing his project. The teacher, by giving him an extension, would have eliminated the accountability to my son.

The way it ended up, he had to go in an hour early and stay an hour late for 1o days to finish. I think that was a good lesson for him. Getting the extension would have simply taught him that deadlines don't really matter.

I have seen it too many times. Several kids don't get their homework done so the teacher lets them have another day. That is not the real world. If it is due, it is due! If these kids text each other and say "let's not do our homework" then they get another day? That's just not right!

Whether we believe that grades are an artificial obstacle or not, it is the way it works so we have to play the game the way it is played.


Ebony,

I agree!. My boys are 12, 11 and 10. A very important age. My eldest has some developmental disabilities. Consequences have to be straight forward for him to understand. Teaching him responsibility is out biggest challenge. Last year he had a very sweet teacher whom he buffaloed. She gave him many second chances. We finally stepped in and asked her to follow through on the consequence!
She didn’t do him any favors. This year I am concerned his teachers are not going to be as flexible.

It was important at this age that our sons don’t see consequences as punishment. There is a REASON why we as parents are trying to TEACH them responsibility….There are consequences for not putting on sunblock, There are consequences for not putting dirty clothes in the laundry. There are consequences for not picking up the dog poop in the yard. It is not a punishment when they step in it,…. it is the consequence of not picking it up. When they are adults they know there are consequences for not paying the rent. Consequences for smoking a cigarette…..and so on.
_________________________
Piano Teacher.
Church Music Director.
Kindermusik Instructor.
Mom to four boys.


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#1252591 - 08/20/09 12:10 PM Re: Are we soft on frustration? [Re: Mrs.A]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Yesterday, a very skillful little girl, age 9, in her 3rd year of study had a meltdown with some difficult hand coordination in one of her pieces. She and her older brother have had steady progress and success in their lessons to date and they have good learning habits, in general, perhaps because their parent and paternal grandparents are all teachers, the grandmother a fine music educator herself.

I had been watching "determination" take over her face and body motions in this piece as she began to anticipate the difficulty factor of putting hands together. Then, it turned to irritation with herself, then frustration started and escalated to clouding up, pursing lips, and dripping wet tears. All while holding her body rigidly as she removed her hands from the piano. I had been watching this happen and remembered so many times in my early years at the piano - ages 9 to 15 - when I was headed straight to frustration.

It is when we have little experience with frustration that it feels so over whelming - there is no containing it. It's a downward spiral. Only through experiencing it do we learn to deal with it and move toward being able to control it.

I remember when they came in the door yesterday that she had a pinkish flush on her cheeks, almost an indication that something was wrong in her world already. I could have paced the lesson to avoid her melt down, or I could let what was going to happen, happen. I chose the latter because at her age into her 3rd year, frustration is inevitable, and if she starts now to accept that it happens sometimes and that there are things in her control to avoid it, or to decide to work through it anyway.

Afterwards, her Dad said I had handled the situation very well and that she would be fine - I certainly hope so. My role consisted of an arm around her and some words that I hoped were calming to her "...that the feelings would soon be over but in the present moment were painfully hard to endure".

I want her to know that her power comes from within and that our attitudes and expectations are very often at the root of frustration. Learning to recognize frustration when it is starting is the first step to awareness. She has taken that first step.

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#1252644 - 08/20/09 01:45 PM Re: Are we soft on frustration? [Re: Mrs.A]
gooddog Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 4841
Loc: Seattle area, WA
Originally Posted By: Mrs.A
It was important at this age that our sons don’t see consequences as punishment. There is a REASON why we as parents are trying to TEACH them responsibility…. There are consequences for not putting on sunblock, There are consequences for not putting dirty clothes in the laundry. There are consequences for not picking up the dog poop in the yard. It is not a punishment when they step in it,…. it is the consequence of not picking it up. When they are adults they know there are consequences for not paying the rent. Consequences for smoking a cigarette…..and so on.


Oh, well said! We need to hold students and our children accountable and teach them how to overcome obstacles in a healthy way. Allowing excuses and second chances makes kids irresponsible, entitled and weak. If only we could get all parents on board.

My 18 year old son was recently complaining that we do not complement him on assignments he has worked very hard on. We answered that if we observe he has worked hard on an assignment but produced D work, we will offer advice not empty praise. We asked him to think about whether he wants to be treated like a little boy or a blossoming adult? We also said he should know that when he gets a complement from us, he has truly earned it. (And he gets many complements because he is a fine young man.)

We've always been very straightforward and consistent with our boys about responsibilities, accountability and consequences but embracing this attitude has been an atmosphere of deep and frequently stated love. I'm proud to brag about my 3 sons - all hard workers, all earning their way and all wonderful young men...oh, and this isn't just coming from a doting mom. We hear it repeatedly from teachers, coworkers and bosses too.
_________________________
Best regards,

Deborah

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