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  1. #1

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    I was talking with several parents who like me, had the young children taking piano lessons. My kids always fought me on this subject, whether it be practice or going to the lessons. I was surprised to find out that every parent that I talked to had the same problem, even the ones who had teenagers that were playing some very complex Classical compositions and who had been taking lessons for many years.

    My wife, who is very analytical about processes, used to complain all the time about the lessons because we fight with the kid to learn a song, he learns it, then we go on to the next song, and on and on. The songs get more complex but the kid sees it the way most kids see school. There was no joy.

    We eventually pulled our kid out after 3 years or so. I have been teaching him on my own, just some simple chord progressions and some scales that go them and he loves practicing now so much more and even asks about when we are going to it. He even played my guitar (although I think that had more to do with playing through my GT-8 floor effects unit and pressing buttons).

    So to end this long post, my wife says stop the madness. There has to be a better way to teach kids than just putting a book in front of them and having them learn songs to which they cannot relate, and then forget the song and move on to the next.

    I guess the idea is that the student will acquire a love of playing music over time and will want to learn. After talking with all these parents, I am thinking this is a faulty premise. There has to be a better way.

    Getting kids motivated to learn music helps preserve the future of musicianship.
    Last edited by AlsoRan; 01-26-2018 at 06:39 PM. Reason: No one seemed interested

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  3. #2

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    Some random points and questions to reflect on:


    • It helps to have a lot of great music in the house
    • It helps to have it playing when the kid is in the womb.
    • If it's piano one wants them to gravitate too, how much piano music is played in the house?
    • How many master pianist concerts have the kids attended? How close did they sit to the performer?
    • Who wants the kid to play? The kid or the parent?
    • Who chooses the instrument, the kid or the parent?

  4. #3

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    My son had guitar lessons and my daughter had violin lessons. But they wanted to and they chose their instruments, we never pushed them into it.

    It probably helped that my wife plays piano and violin and of course I play guitar. The kids grew up with instruments being played in the house all the time.

    When I was young I got into music when we got a record player, and then I discovered the urge to play an instrument, but my parents weren’t musical at all.

    So maybe there has to be some motivation there already.

  5. #4

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    I was that kid. My parents thought it was good idea for me to learn piano. I hated it! There was no fun in the lessons.

    A bit later I got interested in learning guitar, but my first teacher was a Classical nazi who refused to teach me tunes and strumming. So I hated it again.

    Finally, as a teenager I decided to give it another try, but my condition was I want a teacher who's NOT a pro, but knows how to strum chords and can teach me exactly that. Finally, I was off to a good start!

    Now I wish I stick around for piano and classical guitar, I would be better off today as a musician, but piano never really excited me and the classical guy was an asshole.

    As a teacher myself, I'm trying to avoid those mistakes.

    Also, on a subject, the Mel Bay guitar method books should never ever be considered to teach beginner kids. It's unbelievably, mindbogglingly irrelevant material

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt View Post
    Some random points and questions to reflect on:


    • It helps to have a lot of great music in the house
    • It helps to have it playing when the kid is in the womb.
    • If it's piano one wants them to gravitate too, how much piano music is played in the house?
    • How many master pianist concerts have the kids attended? How close did they sit to the performer?
    • Who wants the kid to play? The kid or the parent?
    • Who chooses the instrument, the kid or the parent?
    Jazzstdnt and Grahambop. You guys made a really important point about growing up in houses in which a lot of people play music. In my readings of biographies and autobiographies, it seems so many great musicians grew up in these types of households and this is pointed out in their stories as strong influences.

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive View Post
    I was that kid. My parents thought it was good idea for me to learn piano. I hated it! There was no fun in the lessons.

    A bit later I got interested in learning guitar, but my first teacher was a Classical nazi who refused to teach me tunes and strumming. So I hated it again.

    Finally, as a teenager I decided to give it another try, but my condition was I want a teacher who's NOT a pro, but knows how to strum chords and can teach me exactly that. Finally, I was off to a good start!

    Now I wish I stick around for piano and classical guitar, I would be better off today as a musician, but piano never really excited me and the classical guy was an asshole.

    Also, on a subject, the Mel Bay guitar method books should never ever be considered to teach beginner kids. It's unbelievably, mindbogglingly irrelevant material

    I wonder what made you persevere to finally become a musician, in spite of all the negativity. I guess you just have that love in your heart, eh? Or was it just the pretty girls

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlsoRan View Post
    I wonder what made you persevere to finally become a musician, in spite of all the negativity. I guess you just have that love in your heart, eh? Or was it just the pretty girls
    It just felt easy enough, so I kept at it. But honestly, I was always interested to play, but not necessarily in learning how to play, if it makes sense. Trial and error is my way, even if it takes so much longer.

    The second teacher just showed me the chords and a basic strumming, after a few months I was on my own. I didn't have any teacher until years later in college, where I found out how many things I did wrong.

    The real education is only when you start playing in bands anyway, I believe.

  9. #8
    I think what will make playing fun for a kid, is when there 's music in his influences. When there is real musical joy around, besides the practicing. Have them listen to music, watch live music as much as possible, play an instrument for them if you can. In all my kid students, whenever there was a parent that could play an instrument, there was a night and day difference in the desire, ability and adeptness of the kid.

    I also think it comes down to character. Not all people are the music playing type, i tend to see certain character traits that stick with music and others that don't..

  10. #9

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    Why are you pushing music on them instead of dancing lessons or karate? My father whined his whole life about the misery of being forced to take private piano lessons as a kid.

  11. #10

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    Since I am and have been teaching some kids/teenagers I may throw my 2 cents in here. One of the main problems I have encountered is that kids (I'm talking about those I have encountered) aren't passionate about music - no favourite bands/artists with tunes they'd like to learn which would be a major motivation. The way young folks listen to music today is totally fifferent from my generation. I don't know if it works that way but my suspicion is that they listen to some random "playlist" on their iphones and rarely know what any artists names is let alone the name of a certain tune. I always ask guitar students what they listen to and if they have any favourites and mostly get the same type of answer: "I listen to all kinds of stuff." Makes keeping them interested and motivated a lot harder.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    A long journey starts with the first step...and although I have long forgotten about my destination I'm still enjoying the journey.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by TOMMO View Post
    Since I am and have been teaching some kids/teenagers I may throw my 2 cents in here. One of the main problems I have encountered is that kids (I'm talking about those I have encountered) aren't passionate about music - no favourite bands/artists with tunes they'd like to learn which would be a major motivation. The way young folks listen to music today is totally fifferent from my generation. I don't know if it works that way but my suspicion is that they listen to some random "playlist" on their iphones and rarely know what any artists names is let alone the name of a certain tune. I always ask guitar students what they listen to and if they have any favourites and mostly get the same type of answer: "I listen to all kinds of stuff." Makes keeping them interested and motivated a lot harder.
    I know exactly what you are saying. I have these type of students as well sometimes. I can't relate to them because I always knew exactly what I wanted to learn as a student. I usually end up teaching them what I like or just by the book. I dont care if they are into it or not since they declared their indifference anyway.

  13. #12

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    I hear you HTTJ....If they don't give me anything they would want to be able to play I put them on a diet of basic but important stuff like the blues progression in different keys plus variations and what you can do with it and/or some classic tunes by The Beatles, CCR and the like. Another one I always come back to is "HeyJoe" because it'll teach them the five basic open major chords and you can either strum it campfire style or build up from there and add all the little fills, the intro and probably their first taste of lead playing in min pentatonic.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    A long journey starts with the first step...and although I have long forgotten about my destination I'm still enjoying the journey.

  14. #13

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    It must be tough being a music teacher since quite often many of the students don't really want to be there. I can easily see a teacher guarding against having too much passion and investment in a student so the teacher won't be disappointed if and when the student turns away.

    I guess its just the business. You get a students feet wet in learning music. With some, it catches on and they take the plunge. With others, they move on.

    Hey, it is not much different from being a pastor in a small church!

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlsoRan View Post
    It must be tough being a music teacher since quite often many of the students don't really want to be there.
    Well, my students come for lessons self paced (right term?) - not being sent by their parents. But more often than not learning guitar (or any other instrument) is just one of many other pastimes so they often are not overly serious about it.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    A long journey starts with the first step...and although I have long forgotten about my destination I'm still enjoying the journey.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo View Post
    Why are you pushing music on them instead of dancing lessons or karate? My father whined his whole life about the misery of being forced to take private piano lessons as a kid.

    True story. There was a teenage boy one street away in my neighborhood who was an only child. His mom had wanted a girl. She forced him to take ballet. He objected and objected to no avail.

    One day he stabbed her to death and sliced up his dad a bit in the process as well.

    It's tough being a good parent. Be good to your kids.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt View Post
    True story. There was a teenage boy one street away in my neighborhood who was an only child. His mom had wanted a girl. She forced him to take ballet. He objected and objected to no avail.

    One day he stabbed her to death and sliced up his dad a bit in the process as well.

    It's tough being a good parent. Be good to your kids.

    Holy Cow!