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#1400790 - 03/21/10 05:33 PM Kids and practicing
T'sMom Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 227
For those of you whose kids are learning piano, or other instruments--
how old are they and how much do they practice?
What percent of the time do they practice on their own?
What percent of the time do you bug them into doing it?
Do you have rewards (link to privileges) or is the playing its own reward?

When I was young I hardly ever practiced. Of course now I regret that! Wonder if sometimes I go overboard expecting my kids to practice consistently (and cheerily eek )


Edited by T'sMom (03/21/10 06:09 PM)

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#1400818 - 03/21/10 06:17 PM Re: Kids and practicing [Re: T'sMom]
CebuKid Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/09
Posts: 1176
Originally Posted By: T'sMom
For those of you whose kids are learning piano--
how old are they and how much do they practice?
What percent of the time do they practice on their own?
What percent of the time do you bug them into doing it?
Do you have rewards (link to privileges) or is the playing its own reward?

When I was young I hardly ever practiced. Of course now I regret that! Wonder if sometimes I go overboard expecting my kids to practice consistently (and cheerily eek )


Hi T'sMom, how've you been? smile

My daughter was so passionate about piano from the time she started lessons last April and up until Sept. of last year. After that, with all the distractions of school, friends, video games, our new dog, etc... I started to noticed she never touched the piano without being told, and her skills diminished a little as a result.

When 2010 started, I've been committed to sitting down with her at least 2-3 times a week during the week, and guiding her practice. We work mainly on sight-reading, dozen-a-day-drills, and Junior Hanon. I also have her play her current "repertoire" a few times a week. I am merely there to correct errors, and again, I'm no teacher.

She just turned 7, and lately, she's been very responsive to "checklists". I'll make a list of things for her to practice and give her incentives when she "checks them off."

So far, it's been working, and her teacher has noticed great improvement in her sight-reading (her only real weakness). I hope this helps.

PS-You might want to try to Teacher's Forum too to get advice. "Teacher knows best." smile

PPS-I never practiced either as a youth, and looked what happened...I quit. frown


Edited by CebuKid (03/21/10 06:18 PM)
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#1400849 - 03/21/10 07:04 PM Re: Kids and practicing [Re: CebuKid]
T'sMom Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 227
Originally Posted By: CebuKid


She just turned 7, and lately, she's been very responsive to "checklists".


Ha-ha! My kids like checklists too. They'll play what I put on the list, but they HATE playing things more than once. The concept of working on something eludes them. And once is not enough sometimes!

I also go back and forth about whether they should be able to earn "rewards" by practicing. DS insists he practices *only* to get the lemonade afterward but maybe it's a little joke and I'm just not in on it. I can't tell.


Edited by T'sMom (03/21/10 07:05 PM)

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#1400862 - 03/21/10 07:23 PM Re: Kids and practicing [Re: T'sMom]
CebuKid Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/09
Posts: 1176
Originally Posted By: T'sMom
Originally Posted By: CebuKid


She just turned 7, and lately, she's been very responsive to "checklists".


but they HATE playing things more than once. The concept of working on something eludes them. And once is not enough sometimes!



LOL, I don't get it either. I play the stuff that I'm working on hundreds of times, and I tell her that it's the only way to not make mistakes. I'm lucky to get her to play stuff twice, but the checklists have been working. She doesn't "get" repeating certain measures or passages either, although I've been getting her to do that too. smile

Oh, and lately, she's been exploring new music on her own. I guess they get bored with the same pieces.

She's nearly "performance ready" with her latest piece, Bach's (or Piezgold's) Minuet in G.

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#1400863 - 03/21/10 07:25 PM Re: Kids and practicing [Re: T'sMom]
MomOfBeginners Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 115
Loc: California, USA
My almost-7-year-old practises 25 minutes a day, pretty much every day, but I'm always there supervising. It's not all at the piano. Part of that time is for solfege/sight-singing, theory, technique, sight-reading work.

My 4-and-a-half year-old practises 10-15 minutes a day, pretty much every day. I'm always supervising. Only half the time is on the piano. The other half is listening, beating a drum to some music, staff reading, singing a song to the metronome, etc.

If I run out of time and can only give one of them practice time, the other child will cry that she didn't get a piano lesson from Mommy. It's been mommy-daughter bonding time for us.



Edited by MomOfBeginners (03/21/10 07:34 PM)
Edit Reason: Last paragraph there didn't make sense upon re-reading it.
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#1400939 - 03/21/10 09:30 PM Re: Kids and practicing [Re: MomOfBeginners]
CebuKid Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/09
Posts: 1176
Originally Posted By: MomOfBeginners

If I run out of time and can only give one of them practice time, the other child will cry that she didn't get a piano lesson from Mommy. It's been mommy-daughter bonding time for us.



Nice story, MomOfBeginners. I'm glad your kids are "self-motivated."

My younger one (age 5) recently started dabbling with the piano too, because she felt left out during mine and my older one's evening practice sessions. smile
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Music washes away from the soul
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#1400963 - 03/21/10 10:21 PM Re: Kids and practicing [Re: CebuKid]
NancyM333 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/06
Posts: 1547
Loc: Roswell, Georgia
I have three 13 year old boys who have been taking lessons for seven years. They now practice 45 minutes a day, five days a week. The other two days they have lessons--one individual, one group.

I wouldn't say they are self-motivated practicers any more than they are self-motivated homework-doers. They do it because it's expected of them, but they never have a bad attitude about it, never ask to not practice, etc. It's just part of the day. I rarely supervise, which means sometimes the practice is less productive than I'd like, but they have begun to understand that mindlessly sitting on the bench and playing for 45 minutes may not get them a good response at their lesson.

I did buy the book Practiceopedia, and sometimes I ask them to read it to replace their practice time, especially if we're pressed for time. This has been really helpful in getting them to understand what truly productive practice looks like. They also like it if I help them with their practice (play one hand, for example, or help them practice scales) as long as it's not seeming punitive. They would do much better with a checklist for practice rather than a time limit, but their teacher doesn't do it this way and it would take me a long time to make up a checklist for each of them each week.

Overall, they play very well. They often volunteer to play for Grandma & Grandpa when they come over, and this display lets me know they are proud of what they've accomplished. Still, they'd quit in a heartbeat if we'd let them. There are lots of demands on their time, and they'd much rather be outside shooting baskets than practicing. That said, they have graciously accepted that they will be taking lessons through their senior year of high school and that their teacher requires an hour a day of practice for high school students.

Nancy
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#1400976 - 03/21/10 10:35 PM Re: Kids and practicing [Re: NancyM333]
Less Rubato Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/23/08
Posts: 266
Loc: Washington state via OH-IO
My son is 8 and has been playing since he was 4. He practices 45 minutes a day 6 days a week. We also do written theory and Music Ace on the side from that.

We are both students so I do still sit down and go through his lessons with him. Sometimes I will remember something his teacher wanted him to do but didn't write down. It works out well but we're starting to cut the cord a little . I think Momofbeginners and I are both homeschoolers so we're used to being extra involved in learning . Less interference would probably work for most.

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#1400983 - 03/21/10 10:49 PM Re: Kids and practicing [Re: NancyM333]
T'sMom Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 227
Originally Posted By: NancyM333
I have three 13 year old boys


God bless you!
My two are twins, boy/girl, age 8. DS is learning piano. DD is learning violin. It sort of happened by accident but I am very glad they are not on the same instrument. They'd be comparing themselves too much. Is there competition among your sons?

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#1401017 - 03/22/10 12:25 AM Re: Kids and practicing [Re: T'sMom]
MomOfBeginners Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 115
Loc: California, USA
To NancyM333 and to T'sMom:

I'm impressed with both of you. Handling multiples! I barely handled one baby at a time.

Three boys (ten years ago) at toddler/pre-k age. I'm getting tired just thinking about it!
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#1401033 - 03/22/10 01:01 AM Re: Kids and practicing [Re: MomOfBeginners]
BenPiano Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/09
Posts: 1171
Loc: US
My eldest (5 1/2) seems to be pretty self motivated for the time being. He likes to practice, but only when someone is in the room with him. Also, if I go to practice, it's almost a sure bet that he will be right behind wanting to take over. Naturally, I usually let him.

We don't have to be right by his side, but he really enjoys (and I think he needs) the praise given while playing. He likes playing, even practicing, for an audience. Correcting mistakes, on the other hand, doesn't usually go so well. (but today he was very receptive, which was surprising! (and fixed those darned hesitations that were driving me nuts))

We feel very lucky so far that he is so interested in playing and learning piano. I would never force it on him.

The only reward I've given so far is a two-starburst treat after his group lessons. A pretty fair trade, in my opinion! smile

I think he mainly loves it because I'm learning as well, so I better keep practicing so he does too. I'm relying on his prodigious career to support me through retirement. laugh
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#1401084 - 03/22/10 02:52 AM Re: Kids and practicing [Re: T'sMom]
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1607
Loc: California
My kids are 6 and 8, and they practice everyday. My 8-year-old practice about 45 minutes a day and my 6-year-old about 25 minutes. They always start with technical stuff, scales for about 10 to 15 minutes then play their repertoire. My 6-year-old some times practices twice a day over the summer but not since school started.

On occasion, my 8-year-old would ask me after watching the performance of certain pianist such as Yuja Wang (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gj0JFMU7ZLk&feature=channel) how much practice she did when she was her age, and I basically tell her at least 3 hours a day often more. I told my daughter that she has the gift to be a concert pianist, but she has to start practicing 4 hours a day. We pretty much decided music will remain a life long hobby for her, but she agreed she would eventually practice at least 2 hours a day in order to finish all 11 levels of classical studies before college.

My 6-year-old is still too young to understanding what he's doing with the piano other than seeing his sister's piano exam certificate on the wall, and he wants one too, he says. I expect both children to practice at least 1 hour each day by 5th grade and 1.5 hours by middle school and at least 2 hours everyday by high school. The hardest part is finding the time from my schedule to sit through their practice each day, provide constructive criticism and practice suggestions. With my son, in particular, I must provide him with 6 additional lessons during the week before seeing the teacher in order for him to make sufficient progress. If anything I often find there is no time for me to practice.
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#1401262 - 03/22/10 12:03 PM Re: Kids and practicing [Re: 4evrBeginR]
Zenobe Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/27/09
Posts: 76
Loc: Newtown CT
My son is 12, has been playing 5 years, and he practices 30 minutes a day 5 days a week. He won't practice on his lesson day, and I let him take one "skip day" a week, usually Fridays.

He doesn't like to "work" at the piano, but I know it's necessary in order for him to progress. I tell him he needs to solve one problem with each piece, every time he sits down to play. And that means hands separate, slow tempo, repetitions of 2 or 3 bars at a time up to 10X, stuff like that.

I do find that positive reinforcement helps. He won't admit it, but has a much sunnier disposition when I sprinkle in 2 or 3 "hey that sounded great!" each practice session.

I'm proud of him.
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#1401295 - 03/22/10 12:49 PM Re: Kids and practicing [Re: Zenobe]
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10354
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Mine's sixteen now. Since he's an old guy, he doesn't count. grin
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#1401725 - 03/23/10 12:17 AM Re: Kids and practicing [Re: Piano*Dad]
MomOfBeginners Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 115
Loc: California, USA
Piano*Dad,

What was your secret sauce in motivating your son?
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#1402617 - 03/24/10 10:02 AM Re: Kids and practicing [Re: MomOfBeginners]
IngridT Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/07/08
Posts: 244
Loc: Netherlands
Hmm,

Different here.

I've got 3 kids (13,10,8) and they all have been playing for 3 yrs now. The idea is daily practice of at least 10-15 minutes. That works most of the time, although sometimes they miss a day when things are busy. Of course they play more piano then those 10 minutes, but that's the amount of 'serious practice' we kind of set as a minimum. 'serious practice' meaning 'working on whatever is on the list for the next lesson'. Just playing around, improvising or playing old stuff is of course something they like and do a lot.

Every year before the summer brak we check with all 3 of them them whether they want to take another year of lessons. So far they all say 'yes', but whenever one of the kids decides that they don't want to commit themselves anymore to a daily practice regime, that would be fine. Piano playing is a hobby, and they can still enjoy it without lessons if that is what they want. I am not going to spend hundreds of Euro's a year for lessons that they don't really want, with the added disadvantage that I as a parent have to continually run after them to exercise.

Because of this 'yearly check' theyr are quite committed to their practice, and apart from some occasional reminding there's not a lot I have to do about that. I help them with practice whenever they ask, but don't automatically sit down with them. How much help they want depends on their mood, or the difficulty of whatever they are working on. Sometimes I accompany them in a quatre main piece.

I really cannot imagine already planning where my 8 yr old will 'be' in 10 yrs time, or telling her already what her practice scheme will look like when she's 14. For those of you with these 'long term plans'...why do you do it that way? I'm really curious!

Ingrid


Edited by IngridT (03/24/10 10:06 AM)

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#1402647 - 03/24/10 10:31 AM Re: Kids and practicing [Re: IngridT]
LaRate Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 250
Loc: Germany
I was beginning to get the feeling there were some draconian parents around here. I particularly didn't like Nancy's remark "they'd quit in a heartbeat if we'd let them" - was that serious?

I certainly do like the idea of the yearly check-up - it gives real weight to the decision to keep up or not. I can easily believe it boosts the commitment to lessons and practice, since it is their own choice.

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#1402748 - 03/24/10 12:53 PM Re: Kids and practicing [Re: LaRate]
Pezza Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/25/08
Posts: 13
Loc: London, UK
Kids don't always know what's best for themselves though. I learned for a year as a 9-year-old kid, before switching to half-heartedly pursuing violin for 5-6yrs. Over 15yrs on and I've taken up piano again, and after 2yrs am making very good progress. But I wish my parents had encouraged me to stick with it as a kid, knowing how good a pianist I could be now.
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#1402767 - 03/24/10 01:32 PM Re: Kids and practicing [Re: Less Rubato]
MomOfBeginners Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 115
Loc: California, USA
Originally Posted By: Less Rubato

We are both students so I do still sit down and go through his lessons with him. Sometimes I will remember something his teacher wanted him to do but didn't write down. It works out well but we're starting to cut the cord a little . I think Momofbeginners and I are both homeschoolers so we're used to being extra involved in learning . Less interference would probably work for most.


Some families work better with a finer level of parental involvement. Some families work better with less.

While I'm not actually a homeschooler (I work full time), Rubato has the right idea that I am very involved with my kids' learning. It is usual for me to sit down with my kids for a few hours and work on math, reading, crafts, drawing, etc outside of school-assigned work. My focus is dedicated to sitting down with them at that time, and I do not just assign the work and walk away. It's natural then that music is a supervised activity.

My point: How music practice operates in our house is not that different from how we usually operate on other subject material.
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#1402777 - 03/24/10 01:43 PM Re: Kids and practicing [Re: Pezza]
IngridT Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/07/08
Posts: 244
Loc: Netherlands
I agree to some point Pezza. And I do encourage them. It's not completely voluntary,they do commit for a year at a time!

But is it really bad to allow a child with musical talent to kind of ignore that? I would never force one of my children to take piano (or whatever) lessons for years if they don't want to. It's not like school or something, music is for most people a hobby (or a way of life, or an addiction, but still something they do because they like it, and not something they do to earn a living)! Of course I am not talking about that 1-in-a-million kid that may be the next Beethoven. But even then....if you are the potential next Beethovern, I think you still have the right to choose a career that you like. Even if that means you'll become a dentist, and never compose any piece of music.

Ingrid


Edited by IngridT (03/24/10 01:44 PM)

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#1402904 - 03/24/10 05:09 PM Re: Kids and practicing [Re: IngridT]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2457
Loc: France
+ 1 to Ingrid's statement.

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#1402919 - 03/24/10 05:28 PM Re: Kids and practicing [Re: landorrano]
Zenobe Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/27/09
Posts: 76
Loc: Newtown CT
Not so sure I agree.

My kids have a lot of activities that are fun and which they choose to do on their own, with their free time. If I let them, they would fill their time no problem with a lot of activities most of which would not develop them at all.

Even a kid who enjoys piano, as my son does, will not voluntarily do the hard work necessary to really improve. Fun is fine, but work is necessary, and kids generally try to avoid work. That's where I come in as a parent.

I don't think 30 minutes per day of focused work and attention at the piano, in the middle of lots and lots of play of various sorts, is objectionable. That's what makes me the parent.
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#1402934 - 03/24/10 05:47 PM Re: Kids and practicing [Re: Zenobe]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2457
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Zenobe
Fun is fine, but work is necessary, and kids generally try to avoid work. That's where I come in as a parent.


I find that a strange conception of a parent.

Also, I don't agree that kids generally try to avoid work.

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#1402936 - 03/24/10 05:50 PM Re: Kids and practicing [Re: Zenobe]
IngridT Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/07/08
Posts: 244
Loc: Netherlands
Zenobe,

For some kids school is more then enough 'developmental' activity.

For those that want more (or where you as a parent think that for whatever reason some additional 'developmental activity' would be a good idea) I would at least try to let the child pick the activity. Could be playing an instrument, could be something else (from drama class, a chess club, or even reading books about the universe or whatever!)

I would never decide for a child that it HAS to play piano, or whatever. And I find it a weird idea that you think children have to be 'forced' to do stuff because they apparently lack an interest in learning new things...I think you might just have picked the wrong thing for YOUR child, if that much force is necessary!

And anyway..what's wrong with having fun when school is done? And who says that anything 'developmental' has to be tedious?


Ingrid

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#1402944 - 03/24/10 05:52 PM Re: Kids and practicing [Re: BenPiano]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2457
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: BenPiano

I think he mainly loves it because I'm learning as well, so I better keep practicing so he does too.


That's great! Do you play together, pieces for 4 hands.

There is no reason to push him to learn or to play without you, to nudge him out of the nest. Everything has it's time.

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#1402948 - 03/24/10 06:00 PM Re: Kids and practicing [Re: landorrano]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11645
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: landorrano
Originally Posted By: Zenobe
Fun is fine, but work is necessary, and kids generally try to avoid work. That's where I come in as a parent.


I find that a strange conception of a parent.

Also, I don't agree that kids generally try to avoid work.

Agreed. At this point, with both my children young adults, it is no longer a parenting theory.

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#1402953 - 03/24/10 06:05 PM Re: Kids and practicing [Re: landorrano]
DharmaForOne Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/09/10
Posts: 3
I took piano lessons from when I was about 8 until I was 10 or 11.

I felt that I actually made good progress, but I stopped practicing entirely in the last year or so of lessons. My mother did try to make me practice but I still didn't. I suppose if she pushed me harder I would have, but instead I just said I wanted to stop taking lessons.

Soon after I started playing electric guitar and bass, self taught instead of lessons.

Fourteen years later, I realize that if I had kept up taking piano lessons and practicing all this time, I could be a good player. I am now trying to self-learn a few pieces on the piano. It is fun, but I really regret that I didn't stick with the instrument so long ago.

Oh well.

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#1402960 - 03/24/10 06:18 PM Re: Kids and practicing [Re: DharmaForOne]
Philpot321 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/21/10
Posts: 95
When I was younger, it only annoyed me when my mom told me to practice. Then when I had to quit lessons, I started doing stuff on my own. now my mom can barely make me STOP playing! I spend 90% of my free time playing old pieces or trying to learn new ones (mostly old pieces, but it has helped improve technique and such...)
Point being, sometimes forcing someone to do something they dont want to do right then can put them off. If they like it enough theyll stick with it. if not, maybe they would prefer another instrument? thats just from a kids perspective so...yeah xD
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#1403293 - 03/25/10 06:26 AM Re: Kids and practicing [Re: Zenobe]
LaRate Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 250
Loc: Germany
Originally Posted By: Zenobe

My kids have a lot of activities that are fun and which they choose to do on their own, with their free time. If I let them, they would fill their time no problem with a lot of activities most of which would not develop them at all.

I would argue that there are no activities that do not develop children in some way. Even playing computer games or watching TV develops some abilities and also can be an enabler for other interests and a source of creativity.

And I certainly don't like the "if only my parents had been more strict, what a pianist I'd be today!" kind of statement. Chances are, if someone's parents had been more strict, this person wouldn't be playing piano at all as an adult for it represents the parental opression which he or she had to suffer as a kid (I know some of such examples in my environment).

Again, I like Ingrid's way - kids can be quite erratic if you don't inject some level of control. Making the decision a severe one will get most children into thinking - and almost any child with some motivation and enjoyment in piano playing will answer the yearly question with yes.

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#1403308 - 03/25/10 07:19 AM Re: Kids and practicing [Re: LaRate]
the.grey.squirrel Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/20/10
Posts: 26
Loc: Manchester, UK
This 'If only I'd been pushed' attitude can be said for many things. If only I'd been forced to play tennis, dance, sing, study, etc. My parents have always allowed me to stop things I didn't enjoy and they always provided new things to try. As a result I have become, as my signature says, a jack of all trades but a master of none. Would I have it any other way? Not a chance.

Think of it this way, what did you do with your life instead of play the piano as a child? Go outside and kick a ball around? Actually meet people and make friends? Your life may have been very different, and there's a chance it would have been for the worse. I know if I hadn't quit a few things and taken up a few more I wouldn't be with the love of my life and I wouldn't have had the experiences that sitting infront of a piano would have brought.


Edited by the.grey.squirrel (03/25/10 07:20 AM)
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