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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I'm just wondering wwyd in my situation. My dd is 5 yrs old and has been taking suzuki violin since she was 3 1/2. At first she liked it, but has decided in the last 6 monthes or so that she hates it. She is a very strong willed child (she was a VERY high needs baby), so she has been really trying out the teacher. She has it in her mind that if everyone gets fed up with her she will get to quit. She can play her pieces perfectly, but only if I really get after her. She actually tries make them sound bad! I have been having a hard time with her at home lately, so I asked her teacher what I should be doing. He said that he thinks she has issues with control, and that I should seek professional help for her. He said that if I don't get her to a child psycologist(sp) my life will be a living hell in 10 years. I didn't say much to him except that I would talk to my husband about it. I really don't think she needs any professional help! After all, I'm afraid that "professional help" is just code for getting my child on drugs. My gut instinct is to quit the lessons for a while, have her play her violin at home, and then start her with a new teacher sometime next year. I don't think I want her to have a teacher that thinks of her as a problem! WWYD?
 

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It sounds like 1/4-1/3 of the time she has been taking lessons she has actively not wanted to.<br><br>
I'd quit... now. She has plenty of time to pick it back up. Maybe offer to look for a different teacher in the fall or something.<br><br>
Why have you had her continue over her objections this long? Is there something I am missing?
 

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My disclaimer is that we are an unschooling family, so we put a lot of trust in our children.<br><br>
I'm unclear on details about suzuki, except that the idea is that children learn music best when they begin at a very young age and study in a highly structured manner. Is that correct?<br><br>
Our oldest is 6 and, when she was 5 she quit a lot of activities. I think she was responding to changes in her life, got tired of some things, and wondered how much power she really has, etc.<br><br>
We talked about this in great length and her father and I expressed our concerns about following through with commitments. We told her, however, that it was ultimately her choice. We offered suggestions on discussing her concerns with her instructors, etc, and encouraged her to try making changes before quitting. She did do this with a couple of things that she really enjoys.<br><br>
In her farm class, the brochure had said they would be do lots of chores and animal care...she didn't feel that was happening. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> She talked to them and things improved.<br><br>
In gymnastics, she was tired of doing the same old routines. But, the instructors wanted the entire class preparing for an upcoming show. DD1 quit and wasn't interested in going to a new place to continue.<br><br>
A few other things she just felt she had learned all she wanted and quit. She has stuck consistently with English horseback riding.<br><br>
Dh and I believe that childhood is the time for play and fun and growth and learning and experimentation. No matter what dd is doing, our concern is if she's having a good time. Yes, sometimes things are challenging and you have to just keep trying if the goal is important enough to you. However, we don't see any reason for our children to continue with something that they feel unhappy about and are not interested in the outcome.<br><br>
I agree that your dd doesn't need psychological help...anymore than the average person does anyway! Don't we want strong, assertive and clever daughters? Sounds like her instructor's ego is getting a little ruffled. Children aren't here for us to control...<br><br>
I hope this helps. Music should be a joy in our lives, shouldn't it? I think the early exposure to music that you have given your dd is a gift and it will serve her well when she chooses it again herself.<br><br>
Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I had her continue on because I really thought as she learned more pieces she would begin to enjoy it more. I also was afraid that if I let her quit, she would learn that she doen't have to follow through on anything.
 

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I agree with the pp's and your gut -- it might be a time to stop lessons. If she misses it and wants to resume, she'll understand better about the commitment that's involved. If she never wants to pick it up again, then you'll have saved yourself a lot of money and aggrivation.<br><br>
I started violin lessons this past Jan. for my ds who had been begging for them for almost 8 months. I specifically did not choose a Suzuki teacher because I wanted ds to have the flexibility to practice when he wanted. I spoke directly to his teacher about this - that I would encourage, but not force ds to practice. Some weeks he practices every day on his own. Other weeks, he doesn't. My goal for ds was to encourage his love and appreciation for music, not make lessons a burden. His teacher was extremely flexible and understanding. Now ds wants to take piano lessons, in addition to violin lessons!<br><br>
It sounds as if now there might be a personality conflict between the teacher and your dd. Your gut feel on stopping and starting with a new teacher sounds like a great plan. We've recently moved and his teacher suggested that we look into schools/colleges that have a "Music Therapy" program to find a new teacher. The premise is that musicians that work with students with different learning styles will be able to accomodate a wider range of learning behavior. Just a thought if you start to look for a new teacher.
 

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Forcing her to go to these lessons is probably going to ensure that she doesn't enjoy playing the violin. I'd let her take a break and wait for her to pick the violin back up on her own. Then, I'd find a teacher who will help her to enjoy playing.<br><br>
As far as control issues...Who doesn't want a certain level of control over thier own life. I think it's a good sign that your daughter wants to control herself. I wouldn't want her peers to control her in the future. If she learns to assert herself now, that's a good thing.<br><br>
Maybe the prof should see a psychiatrist! Sounds like he has control issues.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/loveeyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Loveeyes">:<br><br>
Lisa (mom to 3 wonderful children)
 

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<div style="font-style:italic;">so I asked her teacher what I should be doing. He said that he thinks she has issues with control, and that I should seek professional help for her. He said that if I don't get her to a child psycologist(sp) my life will be a living hell in 10 years.</div>
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Tell the teacher where to shove his bow,and take her out of classes,ASAP. She sounds like a typical 5yr old who is outgrowing her former love of the violin. I wouldn't force her to keep going to lessons,especially with a teacher who says she has control issues,and will make your life hell down the road. She sounds like she is just trying to do anything possible to get OUT of lessons,and is just doing what she knows how to do to do that,rather well for a 5yr old,I might add. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"><br><br>
If she later decides she wants to do lessons again,I would hope you will find a different teacher! That teacher sounds really,um,not good.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">:
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>lisa49</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7991587"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Forcing her to go to these lessons is probably going to ensure that she doesn't enjoy playing the violin. I'd let her take a break and wait for her to pick the violin back up on her own. Then, I'd find a teacher who will help her to enjoy playing.<br><br>
As far as control issues...Who doesn't want a certain level of control over thier own life. I think it's a good sign that your daughter wants to control herself. I wouldn't want her peers to control her in the future. If she learns to assert herself now, that's a good thing.<br><br>
Maybe the prof should see a psychiatrist! Sounds like he has control issues.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/loveeyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Loveeyes">:<br><br>
Lisa (mom to 3 wonderful children)</div>
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ITA with Lisa. I also wonder, does this man have any children of his own? Because I think most people who've ever had a 5-year-old would know better than this <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/dizzy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Dizzy">:
 

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ITA with the pp's. Music lessons are an optional activity for her to enjoy. It's one thing if she says she wants to try something which involves an investment of time and money on your part, and then changes her mind after the first lesson. Then I would strongly encourage her to give it more of a chance. But this is different -- she knows what it is and she wants to quit.<br><br>
I am not so knowledgeable about Suzuki, but from what I have seen it has something in common with Montessori education, in that there's a well-defined structure and sequence to learning, you perfect one task before moving on, etc. It suits some kids more than others, and some teachers may apply the method with more flexibility or sensitivity to individual children than others. I would consider asking her if she'd like to try a different (possibly non-Suzuki) teacher, maybe even just for one trial lesson, or to a group music class appropriate for her age. If her teacher has been very rigid or she doesn't like him for whatever reason, if she has a different experience just ONCE before giving up, she may be left with less of a bad taste in her mouth and more inclination to return to music later.
 

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The director of the school that I attempted to send ds to recommended he see a psychiatrist, too. I just figured my ds was showing good sense by not wanting to be left with a control-freak of a teacher <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> .
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>mamaw/two</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7991331"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I had her continue on because I really thought as she learned more pieces she would begin to enjoy it more. I also was afraid that if I let her quit, she would learn that she doesn't have to follow through on anything.</div>
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If you let her quit, she'd learn that you respect her feelings and that she shouldn't do things that she doesn't want to do. You don't actually have to follow through on a lot of things. You might end up paying money for something that you flake out on, or not being as good at something as you might have been, but there isn't actually a requirement that you "follow through" on every single thing you start.
 

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a psychologist is not a psychiatrist. Psychologists cannot dispense meds (although many of them recommend you see a psychiatrist for such thingsthat).<br>
I'd probably go w/ my gut on this one......if the teacher was suggesting medications, I would not go, but maybe if the teacher had been teaching for a really long time and was very experienced w/ these things and suggested counseling bc of certain issues he thought were red-flags, I wouldn't be offended. I think our culture has an aversion to counseling, and in many cases, situations can be improved extremely w/ another set of ears/eyes and experience in these things.<br><br>
I have a psychologist that my dh and I go to and we love and are sooo grateful for. He started us on ap and natural birth and loaned me his books on attachment theory by Bowlby and Ainsworth. I've brought up dozens of situations w/ him about my children that I needed some input on----sleep issues, control issues etc. I see nothing wrong w/ going to a psychologist. Sometimes I don't have the right perspective on things and sometimes I do----it helps to talk to a professional who has dedicated his life to family issues.<br><br>
I had a deal w/ dd and her dance lessons and he gave me some good insight.
 

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I'd quit based on that crappy advice alone! To me, the point is to love music, not be a star musician. How is a child supposed to learn to love it with an instructor like that?
 

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what exactly does it mean at this point to "follow through"...does that mean until she's 8? until the end of the year/semester? until she's done the lessons that you've paid for?<br><br>
If I paid for my dd to have a semester of ballet (that she wanted) and she wanted to quit 1/2 way through, I'd make her complete the semester. If it was my idea and she just went along with it, I'd let her quit.<br><br>
As a musician, perhaps, your daughter isn't finding the joy in violin anymore. This will be a problem, and not get much better, imo, if she's not given some slack. I was tracked with professional lessons and went to boarding school, preparing to be a professional and I got seriously tired of everyone hounding me about practicing and how much I should practice and I got perfection in my head as opposed to enjoyment. Music should be enjoyed and if your dd feels forced to play--she is not going to enjoy it...ever.<br><br>
I think taking her out for a little while and letter her refind her joy is a good idea. Then later talk about finding a new teacher....and maybe you can consult with different teachers to find one who isn't so hard-core. If your dd really is going to be a professional musician someday, there is plenty of time to get serious about it.<br><br>
Personally, now, I can't listen to classical music because it actually stresses me out. I just remember all the judging, forced practice, tests, etc. and it sticks to me. It's unfortunate.<br><br>
Sarah
 

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I would quit the violin lessons immediately. If there are paid-for lessons that you won't be using, give them to another family.
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>MommyDOK</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7993377"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I have a psychologist that my dh and I go to and we love and are sooo grateful for. He started us on ap and natural birth and loaned me his books on attachment theory by Bowlby and Ainsworth. I've brought up dozens of situations w/ him about my children that I needed some input on----sleep issues, control issues etc. I see nothing wrong w/ going to a psychologist. Sometimes I don't have the right perspective on things and sometimes I do----it helps to talk to a professional who has dedicated his life to family issues.</div>
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Oh don't get me wrong. I think psychologists/psychiatrists are a great resource.<br><br>
In my personal situation, I found it funny that the director of my ds' school recommended one for behavior I thought was normal. I think the kids that happily go with strangers are more in need of seeing someone than a kid who can tell when he is in a bad situation and extricates himself from it.
 

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I think if the teacher is that pushy he probably makes it hard for your child to enjoy the music lessons. Maybe a break and a new teacher would be in order if she wants to keep up with the instrument.
 

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Just to address the music aspect of it:<br><br>
Both DH and I trained as professional musicians, and he had an international career as a concert pianist while still a teenager. From my own experience and everything I've read, I truly think younger than nine is too young for structured music lessons. I disagree with what I know of the Suzuki method, and find most of those kids' playing sounds like robots.<br><br>
I think that music lessons are incredible for teaching self discipline, mathematics, and a whole host of other valuable life skills. But I think those lessons are lost on little kids. As for the "honoring the commitment" comments: my DH was forced to practice and perform, and pushed until he wound up with a nervous breakdown and bleeding ulcer. He quit his piano career at age 16.<br><br>
My DD has a lot of natural musical ability, but no matter how much she begs, I'm not letting her start music lessons until she's at least nine. If I were you, I'd let your DD quit now, and maybe she'll show a desire to learn when she's older. You don't want to end up with her hating violin forever because she was forced to continue lessons when she was little.<br><br>
All this is JMHO, but it's a topic I feel strongly about.<br><br>
Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
We have decided that she should quit, at least for now. The whole reason I started her on these lessons was so she could have a love of playing music, unfortunately I'm afraid I may have ruined that for her <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> . I thought that music would give her many life skills, I have not been trying to make her into a professional musician. As for following through, that has absolutely nothing to do with unpaid lessons. My dd's happiness is much more important than dollars! One problem with trying to figure out what to do is dd has been sending me mixed messages. She tells me that she wants to play and try hard and a week later she tells me she doesn't want to play because it's to complicated. She is so proud when she has a good lesson and can't wait to tell everyone about it, and she absolutely loves recitals. But she also has her days where she tries it out for all shes worth. Her teacher, who is childless btw, has seen how well she can do and how much she tests him. At 5 years old, some of her tricks are fairly transparent. If she gave playing even half the effort that she puts into trying to screw around, she would be in the second book by now! I had alot of respect for her teacher, but I do think there is an ego issue at work here. I also think they do not work well together in a teacher/student relationship. I was taught growing up that the sooner you learn something, the better you will be at it. My mom has really pushed me to get her into lessons as soon as possible, and to not let her quit. I guess I should have been listening to my own instinct. Even as a grown up, I find it so hard to go against what my mom tells me to do.
 
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