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Thread: How long to practice

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    Default How long to practice

    My daughter is 7 yrs. old and started taking instrument lessons at the beginning of school last year at 6 yrs. old. My wife has a musical background and practices with her. My thought is that she should practice about 45-60 mins. My wife has her practicing on some days 3-4 hrs. In addition to that, she constantly yells at her when she makes mistakes. I think 3-4 hrs. of yelling is counterproductive. My daughter starts to cry and doesn't want to practice. I can't blame her. My questions are 1) How long should she be practicing at this age and 2) Should I be concerned about the yelling. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

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    Senior Member Rogerx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Like2know View Post
    My daughter is 7 yrs. old and started taking instrument lessons at the beginning of school last year at 6 yrs. old. My wife has a musical background and practices with her. My thought is that she should practice about 45-60 mins. My wife has her practicing on some days 3-4 hrs. In addition to that, she constantly yells at her when she makes mistakes. I think 3-4 hrs. of yelling is counterproductive. My daughter starts to cry and doesn't want to practice. I can't blame her. My questions are 1) How long should she be practicing at this age and 2) Should I be concerned about the yelling. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
    If she really want's to learns something, without the pressure from her parent send her to a real teacher.
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    Junior Member poco a poco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Like2know View Post
    My daughter is 7 yrs. old and started taking instrument lessons at the beginning of school last year at 6 yrs. old. My wife has a musical background and practices with her. My thought is that she should practice about 45-60 mins. My wife has her practicing on some days 3-4 hrs. In addition to that, she constantly yells at her when she makes mistakes. I think 3-4 hrs. of yelling is counterproductive. My daughter starts to cry and doesn't want to practice. I can't blame her. My questions are 1) How long should she be practicing at this age and 2) Should I be concerned about the yelling. Any thoughts would be appreciated.


    I agree with Rogerx, Try to find a good music teacher.

    I also think that 45 minutes is probably long enough for beginners , the yelling has to stop for your child's sake and for your wife's sake, else your child will not have the will to learn to play an instrument and will become a dreaded chore for her and as you suggested the shouting will serve only to make her nervous and make mistakes. Sounds like she is being forced into learning, not a good starting point. Which musical instrument is your daughter learning?
    Last edited by poco a poco; Oct-25-2018 at 13:48.

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    Senior Member Ingélou's Avatar
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    I agree - it's so easy for children to give things up. There has to be something that's fun or intriguing or beautiful about music lessons.
    My fiddle teacher has just started his little son on the violin - he has outsourced it to a teacher who's very used to dealing with young children, and when the little boy is not in the mood, she plays games with him that improve his bow hold or concentration etc.

    I would say between 20 minutes and 40 minutes most days to start with - making it up to an hour when the little girl has got used to it.

    A teacher is best, but if that isn't on, it's best to make it fun even while it's challenging - making up little games, competitions, performing a little concert for her friends or whatever.

    When I taught seven year olds I'd have prizes for everything, but in a fun way, so that everyone had the chance of winning something. One boy 'won' a toy tied to the class Christmas tree - a three-legged horse. He kept it on his desk the whole term .
    My fiddle my joy.

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    Assert your parental authority as a father in what sounds like an obviously abusive situation with your daughter. It’s no wonder she doesn’t want to practice under the circumstances. Just because your wife has a background in music does not mean that she’s her best teacher. For a child to practice 3 to 4 hours a day requires self-motivation, a natural love of learning and playing the music, and your daughter is obviously not there, at least at this point in her young development with this kind of a coercive approach. I suspect that your wife has ambitions for your daughter that perhaps she may never have been able to fulfill herself and she has unreasonable expectations of her. It sounds like a terrible situation that needs some type of intervention. I would also consult other violin teachers for a second opinion on what your wife is doing and see what they would recommend for a child this young. She’s your daughter too. Best wishes.
    Last edited by Larkenfield; Oct-25-2018 at 14:37.
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    3-4 hours a day for a 7-year-old is a lot, even apart from being yelled at. :-( Most beginner pieces are quite short for one thing, which becomes highly repetitive for practicing after an hour. Additionally, many kids are also involved in multiple activities, as well as needing to complete their schoolwork. Finding that sweet spot of enough practice to develop skills and also learn discipline, while staying balanced with everything else they're doing, is tough but key to their continuing with their music lessons (at least in my experience).

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    My daughter takes lessons after school with a music instructor once a week. She plays the violin. The lessons are about 45 min. but there are other students in the class as well. I had a discussion with my wife about the duration of practice and about the yelling. She seems to think that is an effective way to teach our daughter. I told her to try another approach without yelling and shorter lessons. I also think my daughter would enjoy it more without the added stress. Her instructor always compliments her and tells us how well she is doing. I just want her to have fun and have a joyful experience learning to play.

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    Three to four hours of going through the motions when the heart isn't in it might not do much good, although, if your wife insists your daughter must excel at music, she could always try beating her when she makes mistakes. One of my conservatory friends became an excellent pianist because her mother applied this method, which, at the time, in Singapore at least, seems to have been socially acceptable. And my friend is now a professional with a secure college teaching position and frequent performing opportunities. Of course, there are thousands of other little girls who were traumatized by such treatment who now have no interest in or connection to music.

    A half hour to an hour of concentrated practice by a happy child is about right. If the child later wants to do more it should be encouraged.
    Last edited by EdwardBast; Oct-27-2018 at 23:01.

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    Senior Member Phil loves classical's Avatar
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    I taught my step-daughter piano, and she passed her Grade 7 exam of the Royal Conservatory. 3-4 hours is quite excessive to me for taking piano as a hobby. It is better to make smaller goals, so the kid can focus. I get my kid to learn and master bar by bar the notes and timing. And tell her to repeat the bar over and over till she can get it right 5 times in a row (or close to it). I do push her to her limit, but there is only so much you can remember at one sitting.
    "Forgive me, Majesty. I'm a vulgar man. But I assure you, my music is not.“ Mozart

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    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardBast View Post
    Three to four hours of going through the motions when the heart isn't in it might not do much good, although, if your wife insists your daughter must excel at music, she could always try beating her when she makes mistakes. One of my conservatory friends became an excellent pianist because her mother applied this method, which, at the time, in Singapore at least, seems to have been socially acceptable. And my friend is now a professional with a secure college teaching position and frequent performing opportunities. Of course, there are thousands of other little girls who were traumatized by such treatment who now have no interest in or connection to music.

    A half hour to an hour of concentrated practice by a happy child is about right. If the child later wants to do more it should be encouraged.
    Beating her is not an option. Sounds like Tiger mom. She will learn at her own pace. I've had another discussion with my wife about her ways.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil loves classical View Post
    I taught my step-daughter piano, and she passed her Grade 7 exam of the Royal Conservatory. 3-4 hours is quite excessive to me for taking piano as a hobby. It is better to make smaller goals, so the kid can focus. I get my kid to learn and master bar by bar the notes and timing. And tell her to repeat the bar over and over till she can get it right 5 times in a row (or close to it). I do push her to her limit, but there is only so much you can remember at one sitting.
    I agree with repeating the mistakes until they are corrected. This will reinforce the correct way to play. I feel that if practice is too long, more mistakes will be made due to being tired and frustrated.

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