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#14268 - 07/07/01 01:14 PM from work to play
cecilly Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 04/11/01
Posts: 779
Loc: Illinois
As the summer progresses, I continue to fret over the fact that my daughter (11 yrs. old) who has taken piano lessons for 4 yrs, practically never thinks to go to the piano just to play for fun. Right now her teacher is taking a little break, so my daughter has the idea she doesn't "have" to practice. Now, we hardly ever have the TV on, she has no electronic games, and she is often by herself (only child and not too many neighborhood kids to play with). At times, she'll complain about being soooo bored, nothin to do, etc. etc. Yet, she'll never think to occupy herself at the piano just playing some fun stuff. I play all the time for this reason but my modeling has no effect. She can play pretty well (early intermediate level), is very musical, loves to sing and dance, and I know enjoys playing her pieces for recitals.

Why will she fall into the pits of total boredom and still fail to see the piano as a way out?

Any ideas to motivate her in this way? As her parent but not her piano teacher, I find the motivational thing to be rather complicated.

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#14269 - 07/07/01 01:51 PM Re: from work to play
Rhapsody Offline
Star Member

Registered: 11/19/00
Posts: 2329
Cecilly,

Maybe she'd like something where she can interact with someone. How about a piano duet with you? Or getting her some MIDI or CD accompaniments so she doesn't feel that playing the piano is so solitary.

It's possible she just feels that she needs a break or maybe her piano study is so structured that she doesn't know what to play unless it is assigned. Buy her some new books of piano music that you think she'd like and put them in a conspicuous spot. Start humming or, better yet, singing one of the tunes to help inspire her. A great song to get anyone playing is Irving Berlin's "I Love a Piano." Try it, maybe she'll like it.
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There is no cure for boring.

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#14270 - 07/07/01 01:56 PM Re: from work to play
OKMusician Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 03/01/01
Posts: 602
Loc: Oklahoma
Cecilly, have you tried getting her a new book of "fun stuff" just below her level? I used to do that with my sons when we had breaks in lessons. Sometimes it worked, sometimes not. I think that students sometimes just need a breather and it may be good to not play for a few weeks. Then they can attack again with renewed interest. Maybe she'd enjoy a CD of piano music (something like Jim Brickman-he's popular with my teenage girl students). That might inspire her to sit down and play something similar. I also found sometimes my sons felt a little more pressure to be "good pianists" because mom taught and played well. Just some random thoughts--hope some of them help.
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#14271 - 07/07/01 02:48 PM Re: from work to play
Shanna Offline
Contributing Member

Registered: 04/18/01
Posts: 43
Loc: Florida
Cecilly, I agree with encouraging her to play a Duet or the Midi stuff. Maybe, it's the interaction she's craving. Also, when buying her some "fun" music, leave it out on the piano instead of "putting it in the bench" when she's done. That way it's not "out of sight, out of mind". Also, there are some great musical websites for kids you might have her check out. Try www.childrensmusic.org/pipsqueaks.html. Under the title "Create" there is a story called "Get inspired by Hannah Hoose". It's about a little girl who began composing music at around age four. I assigned this to all my students with web access and they all really enjoyed it.

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#14272 - 07/09/01 08:49 AM Re: from work to play
Musica Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 02/27/01
Posts: 259
Loc: Montreal, Qc, Canada
Cecilly, I can relate to your story. When I was taking lessons many moons ago, my teacher never taught in the summer. As someone else mentioned my teacher's lessons were very structured that when I was on my own I didn't know what to do. During the summer I never touched the piano, never really thought about it unless my mother nagged me to death, I don't believe I thought of it as something fun to do to pass my time. My cousin used and still plays guitar and he began lending me pieces of Italian pop music that I really enjoyed listening to. I was lucky to have a music store down the street and since I was old enough to go on my own I did I started buying my own sheet music. My summers were no longer the same. I used to take the summers to discover other types of music other than classical which is what my teacher focused on solely.

Perhaps take your daughter to the local music store, have her browse and choose some music she may like to play. Some maybe pop and some of her pickings may even surprise her. If the store has a piano she can sit down and try the song beforehand.

Perhaps in a nonchalant way bring it up in discussion "I haven't heard you play in awhile, I sure miss it." Perhaps ask why she hasn't touched the piano. Maybe she just needs a break, so don't push it. Our local universities offer music camps for 2 weeks and up (not sleep overs) this may interest her.

I wouldn't worry about too much, she'll come around on her own if she truly loves playing the piano.

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#14273 - 07/09/01 09:26 AM Re: from work to play
cecilly Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 04/11/01
Posts: 779
Loc: Illinois
Thanks guys for the suggestions. Unfortunately, as a teacher, I have loads of duet books, pop books, you name it I've got it. And so does my daughter or at least she has easy access to them. What stumps me is that when she actually does sit down to play (at my insistance usually), she really does seem to enjoy herself (at least music that's learned and not really needing to be worked on). It's kind of like doing a puzzle. If she had a choice of what to do on a rainy day and TV/computer games were not an option, but say reading, drawing, and putting a puzzle together were available options, she'd NEVER choose the puzzle. However, if I get a puzzle out and get it started and draw her into the activity, she begins to get into it and ends up enjoying it. She's just not a self starter I suppose with certain things.
I read once in a parenting book, that sometimes parents jump in too soon to assist our kids in choosing or getting started in an activity or helping them entertain themselves, often to the point where they actually lose their own resourcefulness in occupying themselves. Instead parents should turn off and remove all extrinsic passive entertainment devices and allow the kids to get so bored to the point they WILL choose more active kinds of things to do.
I just wonder about my own students tho. How many look at playing the piano as an absolute last resort activity? I don't think I really want to find out the answer \:\)

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#14274 - 07/09/01 03:48 PM Re: from work to play
Jalapeņo Offline
Star Member

Registered: 11/04/00
Posts: 5712
I think there's some truth in what you said about parents jumping in to fill their children's time. My kids & I are starting on a soap crafting project, & my husband takes them swimming, to the movies, etc. every weekend (btw, Jason, they loved the Shrek movie). But for the most part, we're at home with nothing special planned. I've noticed that Piano Kid, who most of the time has to be made to practice, ends up going to the piano (without being told) about 3-4 times a day. It's probably out of boredom; but at least she's practicing daily without me having to fight with her. Also, I do believe she likes it better when she takes the initiative to go practice, rather than being told what to do & when to do it. I sort of let her choose most of her own repertoire these days, which I'm sure is a piano teaching "no-no," but she still likes classical music enough that she's still working on pieces that are good for her; & it sure beats having her quit piano lessons. The big battle I have with her is getting her to do written theory work. That's where she's a royal pain in the you-know-what!

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#14275 - 07/09/01 06:21 PM Re: from work to play
Janice Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 01/19/01
Posts: 565
Loc: Newalla, Oklahoma, USA
Jalapeno, you know you are going to go through alot of "pain in the----" in the next few years. \:D My thoughts are with you.
One thing that might be fun and not expensive is--make stepping stones. You can buy several shapes of already made ones at Lowe's, etc. and use acrylic paint that you get at the craft store (the cheaper the better) I made several 3 years ago and used stencils and then I traced some from coloring books using grafite carbon paper. They have been in the rain, sun,hail, and snow \:D and they still look okay. Also, if you want to go on you can get pea gravel and let them separate the stones and make patterns by gluing the stones with Liquid Nails then fill in with grout that can stay outside. All of that is really cheap and goes along way. My grandsons loved it. You can make your own stepping stones with ready mix concrete but you have to like mixing concrete in a tub.

This is just another thing to keep YOU busy but I really have fun with it too.

It's hot here--I know it's hot there.

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#14276 - 07/09/01 06:50 PM Re: from work to play
Jalapeņo Offline
Star Member

Registered: 11/04/00
Posts: 5712
Thanks, Janice. I'll keep that in mind. Yes, it's a lot of work for me, but it sure beats listening to them complain that they don't have enough to do! Sometimes I feel like doing what my mother did with me. I didn't dare say I was bored--she'd find something for me to do--chores. ;\)

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#14277 - 07/10/01 08:59 AM Re: from work to play
OKMusician Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 03/01/01
Posts: 602
Loc: Oklahoma
Jalapeno, I too was a great "chore provider". My kids learned very early to NEVER say the "B word" or I got my windows cleaned or the bathroom scrubbed!!! They may have been lots of things growing up, but bored was not in their vocabulary! Of course living in the country, there were always forts to build, walks to take, animals to play with and they loved sports so they would go out and practice dribbling their soccer ball or shooting baskets. They were never allowed to watch tv or play video games much so they learned to find their own entertainment.
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