Keeping the band together

Posted on October 14, 2010

After two weeks’ holidays, Mr6 and I are back at guitar lessons. We have scaled the lofty heights of Book 2 of our course, as far as ‘I’m a Little Teapot’ and ‘Michael Finnigan’ (begin again). We are also working on the theme from Inspector Gadget (you’re welcome for the ear worm).

Despite my best efforts, Mr6 would not practise over the holidays. He noodled about with a few chords, making up a song or two, but he would not play notes, and definitely not in any recognisable order. I, on the other hand, put in two or three good sessions with Michael, The Teapot and the good Inspector.

I discussed tactics with my Mum. I remember being a kid and being, um, encouraged to practise the piano or organ or recorder or whatever the instrument du jour was. It didn’t work. But setting an example wasn’t working either. She pointed out that he’s only six and it’s more important that he be introduced to the instrument than that he be committed to it. Dating rather than marriage, so to speak. So I didn’t nag. Besides, on other occasions when he’s refused to practise, he’s rolled up to our lesson and, in the face of my dire predictions, pulled out a reasonably good effort.

Not this time. For starters, he insisted on wearing full piratical garb and attempted to play in his eye patch. That lasted all of three minutes. He couldn’t remember what the notes were, let alone where they were. (Being unable to see them with one eye, didn’t help.) I didn’t say anything. Just played through my pieces and then sat there quietly while he struggled through his. The Inspector Gadget theme, in particular, seemed to take days.

When he’d finally played the last note, our teacher, the lovely B, laughed at him (as only a gorgeous 17 year old could get away with) and said, “See what happens when you don’t practice? It’s just hard work.”

After we’d zipped our guitars back into their cases (we’re very rock star) and were walking back to the car, he turned to me. “I think we’d better schedule in some practice this week,” he said.

I was relieved. It could have gone the other way, with a refusal to ever return. I’m not ready to go solo just yet.

Do your kids play instruments? How do you deal with the practice problem?

It’s Flog Yo Blog Friday! Visit Lori at RRSAHM for your weekend reading list of fab blogs.


  1. anushka

    have been reading here and there and enjoyed this post. i am a pianist and loved practicing all the time growing up. it was never really practice – but play really. now i have a son, he’s only 4 and i’m planning on signing him up for lessons on some instrument soon. we’ll see if he’ll take to the violin like i would like or maybe he’ll be more interested in the piano. i have dreams of chamber music one day. i wonder how this will go. i think your mum has it right though. : )

  2. Wine Gifts

    Played Blackbird today by the Beatles. Always makes me get a little teary. Made the G Man a little sentimental…

  3. Heather

    I’d love to learn to play the guitar, I’d never thought of using the kids as an excuse before. Genius! not sure I could cope with the inspector gadget theme tune though, I’m already contemplating killing you for the ear worm as it is and it’s only been 30 seconds…

  4. momentsofwhimsy

    As an ex-highschool music teacher (doesn’t that sound impressive *cough, cough*) – I sort of just went with the flow with my own kids. When they were young, I sort of “scheduled” music practise as a regular part of their week day along with their spelling words and reading practice. I didn’t push on weekends though. As they grew and got more involved in sports and life, they made their own choices, resulting with one still playing, and part of an up and coming band, and the other not at all.
    Cate 🙂

  5. E.

    Boy child joined the school band last year. Unfrotuantely for us they wnet on size so because he was the biggest kid there they gave him the Tuba to play. Thankfully he doesn’t practice much. He did teach himself to play the part of the Europe sone the Final Countdown on it. That was impressive as he just worked it out by ear.

    I have tagged you in a meme. It’s here: http://whiningattheworld.blogspot.com/2010/10/i-was-tagged.html

  6. ClaireyH

    We play the spoons and the pots and pans!

  7. MultipleMum

    Do you recall my trumpet practice years? Your ears are probably still suffering a little, so probably didn’t need the reminding. I think I was more into Ty Pederson than the trumpet. Perhaps he needs a carrot?

  8. Kebeni

    that is just beautiful, aren’t consequences wonderful LOL

  9. Lucy

    Oh goddess, nothing here. Nada. Zip. No musical inclination at all. As a result, the kids are missing out.

    I was “envouraged” to play the cello at school. Hated. Every. Single. Last. Moment. Of. It.

    Lovely husband is musically inclined. (Guitar.) If he wants the kids to learn an instrument, he can organise and take them……and nag them.

  10. The Monstress

    I am very impressed that you find the time to practise to the point where you have reached Inspector Gadget status. Very impressive! I tried guitar for a few months but between work, kids, housework and writing, I could not get past Waltzing Matilda (executed slowly and painfully) and had to give it up to spare my tutor’s aural suffering. Congratulations!

  11. Mrs Woog

    Small Woogette dances with the Sydney Youth Ballet and wants to go on the X Factor. Bigger Woogette wants to learn the drums. I would just like them both to stop vomitting. xo

  12. x0xJ

    Haha, i love that he’s now committed to practicing himself!

    Master B has quite the ear for music, and taught himself a couple of songs on a little play piano my mother brought the boys.
    I actually taught myself the piano at 17, so i need to dig my keyboard out and start teaching him the actual keys and what not.

    We are looking into possibly putting him into some music lessons. I’m thinking the violin as he has expressed consistant intrest in it, and it does seem fitting to his personality. However as he starts school next year i want to wait that first year out and see how he goes first before adding another committment. If he goes well at school, about this time next year i’d like to look into it.

    Very different from his brother who seems to be of the “drummer” type personality. Lol.

  13. Maxabella

    Firstly, again let me say that the image of you both taking guitar lessons together is beyond cute.

    Secondly, don’t push the practise or he will grow to loathe both the guitar and (momentarily) yourself.

    Finally, a half blind pirate plucking away at Inspector Gadget is one for the book!

    Lokking forward to seeing him in his pirate finery tomorrow. x

  14. Bronnie and family

    My kids each had a term playing piano, which was easy enough as I have a piano. Miss 7 has continued on, but Mr 9 hated it. He know wants to play guitar, but his Dad won’t buy him one and I can’t afford it just at the moment. I’ve told him if he still wants it when my settlement comes through I will get him one (it’s not the cost of the guitar so much, I can get one quite cheaply secondhand, or even a junior one new. It’s the ongoing costs of lessons, strings et) and I have to know he will practise and also that he will take care of his instrument. (haha). He cried on the way home and I felt like the worst mother in the world.

  15. Bodaciousboomer

    A guitar playing pirate. How cute is that!

  16. MotorbikesLady

    My oldest daughter use to play the trombone but during school holidays there would be no trombone learning unless she wanted to do it.

    Kids need holidays from learning stuff even music just as much as they need holidays from school.

    I found by letting her have the school holidays off from music as well she loved it & wanted to learn the trombone more when the term restarted.

    (((( Hugs ))))

Pin It on Pinterest