Thursday, October 14, 2010

Music In The Home

Son in background serenading his mother 

... well hubby's away for the week.... and this is how I spent my evening.... finishing off some work, some vino... while being serenaded by my big son with his rendition of 'Classical Gas' on the guitar.

Both my boys love their music. Little one has being learning for a year and big one for six years. Big one is very disciplined with practice. I can't believe my luck! I smile when I hear "Mum, can I have a piano practice?".... and NEVER say no to that question! He is NOT his mother's son. What a difference a generation makes. I had a real struggle with my music and did not enjoy practice (or lessons) one bit.

I truly believe the teacher makes all the difference. If my son didn't like his teachers and their lesson content then we would move on... it's that simple! I believe that even though youngsters don't know what's good for them, they should still have a voice. I am always assessing his enjoyment levels, ensuring that he is happy with his teacher and his pieces. Each time he starts a new grade, his teacher plays a whole selection of pieces, from which he can choose his next repertoire..... he has a choice .... and his guitar teacher is teaching him the classics whilst throwing in some superior groovy stuff whenever he can... so we have Clapton, ACDC, Dire Straights as well as the pretty stuff. Getting a choice and having a voice... that's the key to a happy little musician I think. You've got to enjoy it... especially when you're a kid.

Do you have music in your home? Do you have any little tactics you use to keep the joy of it all going? Would love to hear your views.
PS. My big son has just read over my shoulder and has added that his teachers are forgiving as well. If he hasn't managed as much practice as he could one week, due to school work, they 'forgive' him! Interesting perspective ... straight from the musician's mouth!


  1. What a luxuary to be serenaded like that! :-)

    My big boy likes his pianolessons most of the time - but sometimes (when it´s extra hard) he gets really angry and promises to NEVER play again... Then it takes a bit of talking and comforting until he gets to it again. :-)

  2. So agree with you A-M. Our 4 all play instruments (can you imagine the noise levels at our place!), and they have been very affected by their different teachers, both good and not so good.

    The eldest got pretty fed up with one teacher who just funnelled him through exam piece after exam piece and never let him bring any ideas. Our second son had a great time being taught sax by a jazz musician who wrote pieces for him - Max's blues etc - how cool!

    So I totally agree they have to be engaged and inspired. What a fabulous life-long pleasure in the making though! Teen years are bringing bass guitars, keyboards, electric guitars, drums and voice lessons into the mix - none are musical geniuses but they are having so much fun, its lovely to see.

    Our youngest, at 7, is just starting piano, and I have decided to re-learn my very rusty playing with him, which should be more fun than nagging him to practice! Belinda xx

  3. There is hardly a quiet moment in our home! Hubby can pick up almost any instrument and play it (but concerntrates on piano and guitar) and I dabble in a few things but sing constantly. Our Son has the musical gene and has a lovely in tune voice and is just learning piano which he loves. I have never asked him to practice...he just does it and loves it! My daughter on the other hand doesn't really have a musical bone in her body, unfortunately, but she loves her ballet lessons!

    Music has been such an important part of my life, and I really wanted my children to feel the same way. We are always teaching them about music, singing, or playing it.

  4. I too have a family of musicians. My fondest memories of my children (when they were younger) was every Sunday night they would string a tattered red velvet theatre curtain up on the side verandah of our old Queenslander and perform a concert. #1son was the musical director and Producer whilst the "golden child" (#2son) and "the daughter who is never leaving home" (as they a now affectionately known) would double up as accompaniests/harmony singers, lead performers, front of house and ushers. We would "pay" $1 for the tickets to attend and be given a bag of popcorn as we entered the theatre. They are now all in their 20's but their love of music and performing is still as strong as ever. It is something that has always bonded them and to see them perform together now - well, it just brings a tear to my eye. (I am such a sook!) ;)Sharyne

  5. Hi A-M, my daughter has piano and singing lessons she really likes her teacher. Like you I think that is very important. Mimi xx

  6. It is an interesting one... My son said to me that he thinks he will give up piano but will finish the term out. I said ok (secretly a bit sad of course) but not to let the teacher know just yet. He went to practise last night and got in the car and said 'no, I don't think I am ready to give it up yet'. He really enjoyed the lesson and is back into it, but could practise more that is for sure. My question is should I let him start exams or not? Or just play for the enjoyment of it? ;-)

  7. I have been known to yell, "I'm going to stick that violin where the sun don't shine if I don't hear some practice!" it occasionally works' although the sarcasm is lost on the kids ;-)

  8. How lovely. I must say I envy people who are musical - I have not patience to learn though do like to pick out tunes on the piano occassionally.
    You are lucky to have such talented and committed sons :)

  9. Jenny, we were alternating between guitar and piano exams there for a while, one year guitar, one year piano. Big one found he lost a bit of interest when he didn't have something to work towards in the 'non exam' years so exams do work for him. I, as a fearful child musician, did not thrive on exams. I was petrified and pressured and miserable. I was put up for exams when I wasn't ready... to teach me a lesson... to show me the result of not practising... I failed a couple... and I did not 'learn a lesson' from it at all... except what not to do with my kids I suppose. Just made me hate it even more. I can't imagine sending my boys into the lions if they really aren't prepared. I don't think it would get to that stage anyway... there would be some parental intervention way before it got to the stage of total failure. Too damaging. I was taught in the era of negativity, threats and punishment.... and it's funny, I speak to a lot of parents while waiting at music lessons.... and they were taught the same way... and hated it too. I think it is really an individual thing. I'd try exams and see how your son goes. Once they pass and achieve, it can inspire. The day after my son's last exam... he was up there practising. I would have taken weeks off to recover psychologically! A-M xx

  10. We love music in our house, my six year old has played for 18 months and loves her teacherand practices on her own!When she plays her dad and I both like to help with the vocals and we can't wait for christmas when she can play christmas carols, we have a household of frustrated musicians! You can often hear our children singing along to the Eberly brothers or Bee Gees, they know every word!

  11. Isn't he a gem. Adorable! We don't play musical instruments in our home, but Chevy can bust a move to Michael Jackson! Hope you are having a good day xoxoxox

  12. Hi A-M
    I was brough up in a very musical family and it was a kind of expectation that we continued with the tradition. I have always enjoyed playing music for pleasure, but had similar experiences to you with exams. For years (when I could rebel a bit) I didn't play or sing, but now find myself indulging in a few hours here and there. My eight year old is showing a lot of interest and we play piano/recorder duets and she also plays violin. No exams yet though
    Her violin teacher is amazing and she gets a CD with backing music to her pieces which she loves. Also she has the most beautiful music stand...;) x

  13. Music is a big part in our home. The talent that my husband and our kids have comes from his side more than mine. My husband's grandparents were very musical and they played instruments, sang in choirs and even performed in stage musical productions.
    My husband started playing guitar as a teenager and passed the music gene onto our kids. My son taught himself to play some simple tunes on a keyboard we have when he was 5 so we started him in piano lessons. He has been going regularly for 5 years now.
    He loves his teacher she is really great with him she pushes him but only with things she knows he can handle so he really goes at his own pace with no pressure. He plays on electric piano and plugs his headphones in and practices as much as he wants without disturbing anyone. Even on weekends when we’re sleeping in. But it’s also lovely to listen to him playing and practicing. My husband plays guitar along with him sometimes.
    We started my daughter in ballet when we started my son in piano and she has been doing that for 5 years now as well. She loves dancing and music and both she and my son can sing in tune as well. We haven’t had to push either of them it’s just things they enjoy doing. Definitely having good teachers is the difference. We were lucky to find the right teacher for the piano and the right ballet school for the dancing and that is a big part of why our kids like to do it. It’s fun for them and not work.

  14. This is an interesting question and one I've been pondering for some time too. My 13yo daughter plays the flute and (although her teacher says she plays beautifully) has absolutely no interest in practising. She does it, but only when she absolutely has to.
    My 8yo has been playing the violin since the beginning of '09 and adores it. She is already learning to play Vivaldi's Autumn and her teacher thinks she shows great potential. She does practise! However, when we were going to progress down the exam route this year, she instantly lost interest at the thought of having to perform to these levels (I think she'd be fine, although she is a little shy...) and almost jacked the whole thing in. Her lovely, sweet teacher recommended we hold off for a while and just let her love playing without pressure. She has just blossomed this year, as a result, so I really do believe we have to listen to the children too. If I had (even softly) pushed the exams, we would probably not be hearing the gorgeous strains of Vivaldi in the evenings now!

  15. Timely post. Mr6 and I are learning guitar together. We are definitely not getting as much practice as we should, but I'm not going to nag about it. As long as he gets it out sometimes and plays around, even if he's not 'practising', that's okay by me. I'm aiming for love of music, not hatred of practice. PS: If Big Son has any tips on how to keep Mr6 interested, I'd be listening.

  16. Sad to say my long-suffering father bribed me NOT to practice! so I was keen for my children to have music-making in their lives. My daughter kept it up, sons didn't, but they all love music.
    My musical education came from my husband. Music, art and other 'soft' accomplishments were positively feared at my very academic school founded by old suffragettes. A whole lot of baggage can come with it, ain't that the truth?

  17. I'm so inspired by this - I sent it to my husband to get us moving on music lessons for our oldest. At five I think he's ready to start something....

    And I knew you're boys would know what my lizard is - I think you're amazing for supporting their lizard interest - I'm just not sure I could! I can't believe yours could get that big - better get building that lovely new house - perhaps you'll need a 'reptile' wing. Shudder at the thought...

    A x

  18. Do The Black Eyed Pea's count? It seems to be blaring from Hamish's (10yo)room on a regular basis lately - in fact the increase in volume seems to have moved in sync with the increase in attitude - already feel as though I am dealing with a moody teenager.

    Angus (6) is desperate to learn Guitar, due to a rather unyielding determination to be a "rock star". Unfortunately we don't have a teacher in our little town - maybe I will travel for him if the interest remains a little longer.

    And finally Jock (2) is very attached to his little Wiggles Guitar, and has managed to nail the rock star attitude to all in all it looks as though we are in for some very interesting times ahead if this little window into the future is anything to go by.


  19. I think you have to be flexible on the choice of instrument too. My middle girl has been learning saxaphone, but her interest has been waning, now she wants to do guitar to go with her vocal lessons. So that is where we will go next.

  20. Our 12 year old hasn't practiced the guitar for a while. Last night he asked me for a "private talk" and announced he and two friends were starting a band. They had been to one of his teachers for advice. Bless the teacher, he told them that the best place to start was by all of them learning the same song. I kept a very straight face and agreed that would be a very good idea. Look out, I am not sure if "smoke on the water" or "when the saints go marching in" will make it to the top 40, who knows!

  21. There is music in my home A-M as you may well know. I'm trying to teach myself the violin and it's a healthy mix of what I've taught myself by ear and what I've learned from the book my grandparents have given me. The next step is finding a good teacher to show me more!


  22. Sounds like your son has wonderful teachers - I think that definitely makes a big difference. It's so wonderful to hear your non-pushy parent view on his lessons and how your main concern are their enjoyment levels. We have recently inherited a piano and although Grace is still too little, it makes me smile when I hear her go into the lounge and have a little 'play' :)


Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave me a comment. I love hearing from you. A-M xx