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How hard to push a kid?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by baddarryl, Feb 24, 2013.

  1. baddarryl


    Oct 26, 2008
    Cape Fear!
    My son is one of those kids that hasn't got through his head that work is what breeds success. At almost 10 he has given up on almost everything he tries that doesn't come easy. He said he wanted to play drums, but I have to pull teeth with him kicking and scratching to put in 10 lousy minutes a day and even those aren't focused. I explained to him tonight that I would no longer financially support his lessons. He has had 3 and doesn't seem motivated. I even told him get in there or I am not paying anymore and he chose not too. To me that says everything I need to know. Not sure why I post this, disappointed I guess. Sure would be nice to have a family rhythm section!
  2. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    Tampa, FL.
    He's 10, dude. Give him a break if he's simply not that interested in music. At that age I was trying all kinds of things and dropping them almost as quickly as I started them if they didn't catch my attention enough. He'll find something he likes, and then you'll see him do a complete 180 and work his butt off. Your job as his father is to simply expose him to as much stuff as you possibly can and to support him (fiscally or otherwise) as much as you can.
  3. Art Araya

    Art Araya

    May 29, 2006
    Palm Coast, FL
    I am playing bass today, 30 years and a music degree later, not because my parents pushed me but because they afforded me opportunities to explore. In my house we had an organ and a guitar. When I came home with a harmonica or a flute my parents smiled at my simple attempts at music. When I wanted to take accordion lessons as a 4th grader my parents funded that. I ended up playing none of those instruments as my main instrument but the relaxed exposure allowed me to explore music and develop my own love for it and find my own instrument and voice.

    Had my parents taken your approach, I would not be playing today.

    OTOH, I know that some kids require a hard approach. All I can share with you is that would have failed in my case and altered my life for the negative.

    Perhaps don't fund his lessons but continue to encourage his exploration of music and instruments? These days with all of the awesome resources available on the Internet and especially YouTube, someone can learn an awful lot without an instructor right away.
  4. SunnBass

    SunnBass All these blankets saved my life.

    Aug 31, 2010
    Columbia, Mo
    I am really disappointed at the content of this thread vs. the title.

  5. Art Araya

    Art Araya

    May 29, 2006
    Palm Coast, FL
    Another story to share with you - I've read that Yo Yo Ma's father had him practice 15 minutes a day when he was young. But it had to be a focused 15 minutes where he was learning something new or working on improving something he was having problems with.

    Perhaps a combined lenient yet structured approach like this will work for you boy?

    But man, how many people do I meet who tell stories of how their parents forced them to take piano lessons against their wills... Don't push the little man so hard that he equates music with drudgery and work. Let it be about fun right now. He'll learn about the hard work of real life soon enough. Jam with him - let him bang on the drums and tell him how wonderful he is. I bet you this will get him more motivated than your current approach.
  6. koricancowboy


    Jun 10, 2003
    Have you tried playing with him? Ask his teacher about what they're studying and put in your time during his. This is the Suzuki approach and can be fun and have a seriously bonding effect on your relationship. You love playing with others I assume. So let him explore that now so that he becomes motivated to get better so that he can hang with you. When he can add others. Make good associations with practice and music not bad ones.
  7. lowsideonacurve


    Feb 24, 2011
    Tell him he's not old enough and not to touch any music gear until he turns 18, he'll go at it every chance he can when you're not around.
  8. baddarryl


    Oct 26, 2008
    Cape Fear!
    I am not forcing him, only making him live up to his promise to practice. I specifically asked him if he wanted to take lessons and that was the condition. I did also point out that there were many other ways to learn these days besides lessons at this point. I figure if he continues on his own maybe I will try lessons in another year or too. We have a kit he can hop on any time he likes.
  9. Hawkbone


    Mar 23, 2009
    I've been in a similar situation with one of my boys. Practice would just not happen. I struggled with how much pushing to do and don't think I ever found the right balance. He did become a decent drummer despite lack of practice, but it frustrated me because with 15 min practice a day he could have been the best drummer in his school.

    Part of it, IMO, is personality and the other part of it is the sheer amount of activities/distractions kids have to immerse themselves in these days. The result is that they don't focus much on any one thing (except video games).

    I remember seeing an interview with a Canadian violinist of Asian descent. Her father pushed her hard to succeed. Weekends were spent driving from Toronto to NYC for lessons!! She hated him and the lessons at the time but it paid off for her and now she's glad. I could never be that pushy with my kids, but it may actually be a good thing sometimes.
  10. InvertTheIdols


    Sep 23, 2012
    +1 on the whole "exploring opportunities"

    I picked up a bass because my dad had one lying around, and I then became interested out of my own persistent curiosity. Neither of my parents ever pushed me to do anything involving my bass playing.

    That being said, I can't even begin to think about a situation from a parental standpoint....
  11. baddarryl


    Oct 26, 2008
    Cape Fear!
    Yes I actually plug my bass in and let him jam. I also learn his drum parts and play them so he can hear how they sound. I intended to take advantage of his lessons and learn how to play myself.
  12. baddarryl


    Oct 26, 2008
    Cape Fear!
    I am honestly on the edge of tossing every tv and video console in the house on Ebay!
  13. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    A 10-year-old has the attention span of a fruit fly. Drop it and come back when he's in Jr. High or High school.

    I gave my daughters only one "thou shalt". It was that when they started Jr. High, they would plan an instrument and do so in band or orchestra. You can do the same, and if he's doing it as part of school activities a certain amount of playing will be built into the deal. That's enough. Aside from that, lay off and worry about things that actually matter.
  14. FatherG


    Dec 16, 2009
    My son is on his second instrument - the bassoon. He's 12 and the rule in our house is simple: a one-year commitment of lessons and practice before you are allowed to switch. But this time, he is actually in love with that thing - the notoriety and uniqueness don't hurt his 12 year old ego either. OTOH - we have no video gaming systems in our house and limit any "screen time" for our kids.
  15. Mr L

    Mr L

    Jul 22, 2012
    Vancouver BC
    I absolutely hated lessons when I started guitar at 12. I quit for 2 years because I felt like it was too much like school! But when I picked up the bass a few years later I learned everything by myself on the Internet and I love it and i not too shabby at bass.

    As someone who hates lessons, try getting him to join a band with some friends. Even if its just a guitarist. Once I got in a band I was hooked, couldn't separate me from my bass. Allow him to learn how he wants and at his own pace.

    Just my 0.02
  16. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    The wonderful world of parenting as long as you are not throwing money into it I wouldn't worry and the rule is always the more you push the more they push back I wouldn't even mention it again.
  17. basscooker

    basscooker Commercial User

    Apr 11, 2010
    cincy ky
    Owner, Chopshopamps.com

  18. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    Have you spoken with his teacher?

    I find that positive reinforcement works far better than expressing negativity.
  19. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    In my experience and observation, every family's situation is different, and it depends on your kid's temperament, your own temperament, the family culture and atmosphere, etc.

    I was pushed. My parents expected me to learn an instrument. They started me on music lessons at age six. I had to practice every day, and got the guilt trip if I didn't want to. All I can say is that somehow they got it right. They never imagined that I would become a working bassist. They just wanted to make sure that I had a chance to learn something that I might enjoy throughout my life.

    In my view, every kid needs some push, even if they are genuinely interested in something. The reason is that they simply don't possess or understand the discipline and persistence to keep going with something long enough to make progress. So you have to provide that persistence for them.

    Of course the trick is figuring out how much push, how to do it, and when to know when it's time to give up. I doubt that any parent can advise any other parent on those things.

    Also in my view, the younger they start, the better. Get 'em at an age before they have figured out what is "cool" and what isn't. Also, for the youngest kids, I think they are better off starting on melodic instruments. I think that kids understand melody before they learn or develop an interest in harmony.

    For older kids I think it's good that there is a choice between the "school" and "non-school" approaches to learning music, because some kids are wired to prefer one over the other.
  20. Stone Soup

    Stone Soup

    Dec 3, 2012
    If he's not practicing on his own, he doesn't really want to play. You can't make a kid want it. Let it go.