In this rubric of Discussions we will be posting questions from parents,
some of current students, others from parents of students who graduated long time ago and already dealing with similar issues with their own children. All questions are made anonymous, try your best not to guess who asked them:)
Please, feel free to post your comments, advises and suggestions. You can also send us your own questions, we promise to change names and keep your confidentiality!
In the past few months, while my son’s desire to play piano has remained high, his focus on practicing well has diminished (even when he’s practicing the required number of hours). Maybe it’s due to age and other interests gaining his attention. Despite trying to provide more structure (or even less structure), he has lost motivation to practice with focus. He’s even started to be dishonest about how much he’s actually practiced.
When I speak to him about this, he says he wants to play to the level/expectation of your teachings, but his actions are not revealing this. Have you experienced this before? While I don’t want to give up on what he says he wants, I also don’t want to waste your time (and my money) if he’s not going to follow through appropriately. And, I don’t want him to feel pressure of not progressing, particularly in a studio like yours. Any thoughts?
This is very common, it’s the age, your son is reaching the “terrible teens”. The best way I know is a very hard way, I can’t say I accomplished it fully when my own son was growing up. First of all, it’s important to adjust to your son’s process of gradually leaving his childhood and in the next few years becoming his own man. Which means he will be less and less receptive to basic rules and statements like “do because you must”; “be truthful because it’s right”, and so on. You already taught him these basics, now he is
Prepare to change and adjust. It’s very important to keep up with your child’s progress and not let him stagnate.
You are looking at a starting just the way most people do: take piano lessons once per week for 30 minutes. You think you can make a commitment to the driving, keeping up with assignments, and help him at home. Initial requirements are not so overwhelming, you need to establish daily routine of practicing for about 30-45 minutes. The total time can be split into two sessions of 15-25 minutes each, not too bad. It’s very important to keep positive attitude, at the same time be very firm that no day goes without practicing. You teacher will guide you through creative approaches
Michelle’s Unnerving practice on the morning of her winning concerto competition performance
(Story by her dedicated and nervous mom, Sharon Yip) …..
Michelle had been practicing very hard on playing the Shostakovich Piano Concerto, did a pretty good job in recording (see the video posted), and was excited to go to the concerto competition. The day before the competition, she was feeling very sick, coughing and having fever. The doctor diagnosed her with bronchitis, and put her on antibiotics. “Oh no”, she said, “why do I get sick at the worst time?” We were all disappointed and didn’t know what to do. The next morning, she was feeling better after taking the medicines. After consulting Anna, we decided to let her try playing at the competition.
Michelle had been practicing very hard on playing theShostakovich Piano Concerto, did a pretty good job in recording (see her videoposted), and was excited to go to the concerto competition. The day before the competition, she was feeling very sick, coughing and having fever. The doctor diagnosed her with bronchitis, and put her on antibiotics. “Oh no”, she said, “why do I get sick at the worst time?” We were all disappointed and didn’t know what to do. The next morning, she was feeling better after taking the medicines. After consulting Anna, we decided to let her try playing at the competition. So……
She did a rehearsal at home.
As you can see from the video, she made bunch of mistakes, sounded messy in many places. She was embarrassed and frustrated (take a look at her facial expression when making big mistakes, and at the end …) She said:
“this is terrible! I’m not going to win anything!”
I reminded her about what her teacher always told her –
try your best, enjoy the playing, and don’t worry about the result.
She finally decided to go. The result? She followed her teacher’s advice, tried her best, and won the first place 🙂