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Is it wrong to force my child to take piano lessons.

My 8 year old daughter has been taking piano lessons for a few months now. She was excited about the idea of learning the piano, and still really enjoys being able to play songs that she learns. But the problem is practicing. She just never wants to practice, and I end up having to force her to do it. Basically she wants to be able to play the piano, but she doesn't want to do the work that is necessary for her to do it! What do I do about this? I really hate making her practice when she doesn't want to, but practicing is part of learning how to play. Plus, I kind of assume that most kids who play the piano really don't enjoy having to practice it, or is that a wrong assumption?

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 6:08 PM on Aug. 11, 2009 in General Parenting

Answers (11)
  • I would set up a certain time, on certain days (like two or three days a week for an hour each day) so she doesnt feel like it is taking up all her time, and try to make it fun.

    Answer by Mikayla_lynn at 6:10 PM on Aug. 11, 2009

  • Actually, what I do now is have her practice 3 days a week for 30 minutes at a time, which is less than what her teacher recommends.

    Answer by Anonymous at 6:12 PM on Aug. 11, 2009

  • I would make her a deal. She has to try it for X number of months, and if she does all her practicing then at the end if she wants to quit she can. Forcing it might make her hate it, and that's counterproductive. I was forced to play an instrument for years, and now I can't even stand to hear it, let alone play it! But by that same token, if you let her quit right away it will teach her that she can walk away from anything that is too hard, or might be a little boring, etc. So some middle ground perhaps might be necessary?

    Answer by Emuu at 6:24 PM on Aug. 11, 2009

  • sounds like my dd. she's 8, plays piano but refuses to practice.

    I have a set time each day that she practices. set the timer for 45minutes

    we just encourage and remind her what she can do and that it does take lots of practice. her best friend plays piano too so thats a good motivator. does your dd have a friend who plays?

    Answer by hypermamaz at 6:27 PM on Aug. 11, 2009

  • It's just like anything else.. Learning it is fun, it's the practicing it that bugs and makes you not want to do it . Encourage, encourage, encourage that's about all you can do. Tell her if she wants to be really good at it practicing is a must. At 8 years old there are probably alot of things that are more fun than sitting around practicing even for short periods of time and sometimes they have to be pushed.

    Answer by KalebsMommee at 6:44 PM on Aug. 11, 2009

  • Oh, I have SO been there. When my dd was 8 ish, I signed her up for piano lessons with one of the best teachers in the area. She was awesome and I knew it immediately. She had many pages of agreements and a practice log. It had to be filled in everyday and I had to sign it. My daughter loved to play but like yours didnt want to practice. I remember filling in her log sheet 5 min before leaving for her lesson and many days forgetting it was practice day. I hated all this teachers rules, but I understand why she had them. Her students had great skills and most were excellent players. I explained to her in a frustrating email that I felt my child was old enough to take responsibility for her own practicing and if she wasnt going to do it, then I couldnt take theheat for it. She was emailing me because my dd wasnt practicing. I guess I understand now, but at the time, I just didnt want another thing on my plate. I finally...cont

    Answer by momofsaee at 7:42 PM on Aug. 11, 2009

  • let her quit because this teacher was so stringent. I thought she might have had issues of perfectionism. I noticed this because of how her house was laid out. I know musicians can be that way sometimes. I really wanted learning to be fun for my child and though some of it was, this ladys method was too stringent for my dd. She would scold her for not practicing. I had just had a baby and another child and I simply just didnt have the time to enforce her rules. I wished that she had kept it up, but I felt it was her choice to if she wanted to abide by this teachers rules. Now that shes 15, she could totally do what was required of her. She just needed more maturity on her. Its up to you, but if you want to enforce this then I know she will greatly benefit from this but at what cost. You just have to decide. Good luck.

    Answer by momofsaee at 7:47 PM on Aug. 11, 2009

  • No, I think you are doing the right thing. I played the flute for 12 years pretty seriously. I have many musician friends and my little sister played the piano starting at 4 yo. My parents never made me practice, I wanted to do it, same for my sister. I don't think you make her practice, but she'll want to on her own once she realizes she's going to be showing up for lessons unprepared. At least that was the case with me and my sister. We never wanted to show up at our lessons looking stupid so we practiced on our own. Sometimes i didn't and then I'd look like a fool in front of my teacher. Def. make her go to lessons, but don't necessarily push the practicing thing, she needs to learn that on her own and learn the consequences when she doesn't. I plan on starting my girl at 5 and making her do it until 18 or until she picks up a different instrument. She'll thank u later.

    Answer by danielp at 11:33 PM on Aug. 11, 2009

  • Also, my husband has a Master's in music comp. and teaches lessons. His parents didn't make him stick to playing piano and he really regrets it now. I don't remember ever being forced to practice and of course, there were weeks where I didn't practice at all, but I could always catch up at a later date. Some kids/adults don't practice that often and would rather do it here and there or all on one day. There's no set way to practice, only recommendations. I would make her keep going, though and the better she gets, the more motivated she will be to get better and better. If she has recitals and/or enters competitions that'll just entice her to practice even more. Good luck and you are doing a great thing for her future. So is she. Maybe take her to a professional concert to get her more interested.

    Answer by danielp at 11:37 PM on Aug. 11, 2009

  • As a former music teacher, I'd say that if the teacher handles her not practicing and has discipline for it, then stand back and let her learn. But, if this teacher is more the "I want you to like me" kind, then you may need to push. It really depends. The child, to be successful, needs to find the motivation for themselves. Also, let her know there is an out, "you will do this for one year, if at the end of that year, you decide that you hate it, then you can stop". Also let her know that you are paying for these lessons, and if she wastes them she may need to pay you back (I did this with ds for karate and he improved almost instantly). Put the responsibility on her shoulders and let her know that you have interest but it is not your responsibility to practice. SHE is taking piano, therefore SHE is the one responsible. You may find that if you back off, she actually will start to practice on her own.

    Answer by Petie at 11:56 PM on Aug. 11, 2009

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