Facing the music in the school holidays

Posted on April 15, 2013

It’s the first day of the school holidays and, as I sit here trying to write an article about infant reflux, Mr6 is singing pop songs on the pretend microphone his kindy teachers gave him as a prize last year (because he really needs a louder voice) and Mr9 is practising the piano. Phantom of the Opera. Over and over and over again.

Let’s just say my thoughts aren’t flowing clearly.

I should be rejoicing, really. Mr9 will sit down and practise the piano here and there all day. Ten minutes of scales. Wander away. Five minutes of trying to work out how to play the Ninjago theme by ear. Play Lego. Three minutes picking out the Transformers theme melody. Mooch off in search of food.

There is no consistent 30 minutes of practice a day. He wedges scales in when he feels like it (and not as often as his teacher would like it). But he floats and faffs and is happy. I think the key is that last word. At this stage of his ‘music career’, I’m just happy that he wants to keep going. He’s been ‘doing’ piano for about 18 months now, following on from about 18 months of guitar lessons. He reads music, plays in the school band and plays Phantom of the Opera really, really well (over and over and over again).

He doesn’t want to do a piano exam, despite his teacher’s best efforts to persuade him. And I’m okay with that.

It’s not very Tiger Mother of me, but I just want him to learn to play.

Hopefully, one day very soon, he’ll move on to something that is not Phantom of the Opera.

Do your kids do music lessons? Do they have a set routine for practice?



  1. Nicole Madigan

    I hope mine do and I wish I had stuck with music when I was a child. I’ve just taken up piano lessons last month at the ripe old age of 31!

  2. smellsgoodfeelsgood.com

    My nearly 5 year old daughter has started doing piano lessons. She loves the teenage girl who teaches her, and enjoys the lessons, but will not practice at home. I want her to love it, so i don’t force her to practice. And I wonder too, if it is just me forcing my own unrequited desire to learn piano when I was a kid (I hate parents who do that!). Anyway, she’s just a baby, so I’ll let things go on as they are for the moment.

    • allison tait

      Mr9 chose the piano. We used to do guitar lessons together (he was better than I was) with a gorgeous young teenager we knew. But then he discovered a piano at a party we went to and that was it – love at first play. I think letting things go along is the way forward. 🙂

  3. Seana- Sydney, Kids, Food + Travel

    Well, I’ve probably chatted to you about the whole bagpipe situation… last night Mr16 went to a marching band practice for the first time so that was good. He’s good at it now so the cat-screeching years of learning are far behind us, thank goodness. And it does make my eyes mist over when he plays. Ah Caledonia!

    The two big boys play guitar and the drums of Mr16 are going full force. The twins don’t play and that’s just dandy as there’s already enough musical running around in this house. But I do hope they’ll learn when older like their brothers. I play nothing at all and it’s a regret. But I did take singing lessons once in Glasgow….

    Anyway, so glad it’s holiday time here, may we all have a tuneful one.

    • allison tait

      I sincerely love your bagpipe stories – but I am also very glad that Mr9 has not taken them up. 🙂

  4. The Wholefood Mama

    That all sounds perfect to me Allison. Our Mr 6 has just started learning guitar from a local teenager who is in a band, this was my clever husband’s idea to seek out a teenager after we learned the guitar lessons the school offered were the Suzuki method at $37 per half hour and mandatory parental involvement for the whole lesson plus additional classes for the parents. Not the method for us. I encourage Mr 6 to pick up the guitar every day even if it is only to play each chord he has learnt a couple of times. I am a big believer in encouraging children to see things through for at the very least a term and at best a whole year rather than dabbling in every single extra curricular activity that takes their fancy. btw Love your newsletter in my inbox. Good luck with the infant reflux story an important one I feel for the babies and mother’s affected by this.

    • allison tait

      Our teenager lessons on the guitar were also very good – I must go back to that one day… Thank you so much for the newsletter feedback!

  5. Sam Stone

    My daughter wants to take piano lessons. I just need to get active to organise them!

    • allison tait

      Mr9 does his straight after school with the school music teacher – which makes it all very easy!

  6. Lee-Anne Walker

    I’m glad I was forced to learn the piano when I was a child, as learning to read music is a valuable life skill, but I think I’m a bit of a failure as a music-mother. Both my son and daughter learnt the piano but neither displayed much enthusiasm or inclination to practise, and abandoned it as soon as possible! Mr9’s approach to the piano and to music in general, seems pretty cool to me 🙂

    • allison tait

      I often wonder what I might have been like if I’d continued… but probably much the same as I am now, only with an ability to play ‘roll out the barrel’ at parties…

  7. Jodi Gibson

    Our house is consumed by music! Miss 15 sings and plays the guitar, Miss 12 sings and used to play the guitar, Miss 7 is learning piano and desperately wants singing lessons (has been told she had to wait until she’s 10) and Miss 4 just plays along with any old thing. And they all dance. I love it. A house full of music and dancing makes me feel alive! But we’re also pretty easy going, no pressure to practice.

    • allison tait

      You make it sound like such fun Jodi!

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