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Question for the musicians on the forum

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Ironbar, Jul 28, 2013.

  1. Ironbar

    Ironbar Tigard, OR Well-Known Member

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    As some of you know, I took up the bass a little while ago. This was in major part due to my longtime desire to play. In small part, it was due to seeing my 11 year old daughter begin guitar lessons, and actually feeling a pang of jealousy! :devil:

    Anyway, my daughter began her lessons months ago, and I have yet to see any significant improvement in her playing. I don't THINK it's attributable to the teacher. The guy is great. I attribute it to a serious lack of effort on her part. She rarely practices, and when she does it's more of a random plucking session, playing bits & pieces of tunes she's sort of learned. I don't think she's played an entire song from start to finish even once. She makes no attempt to play along to songs the teacher gives her, saying that the music confuses her, she loses her place, and can't get back on track. I say she's not even trying.

    At this point I'm disinclined to keep sending her to lessons when she's not putting any effort into it. Am I being unrealistic or do I need to give her more time/benefit of the doubt? Do I need to maybe switch teachers to see if there's someone who can give her more- je ne sais quoi?

  2. billyinfinity

    billyinfinity Portland All pie, all the time. 2015 Volunteer

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    She's a preteen.. the priority is to be well liked in an attempt to build self esteem. She probably wanted to learn the guitar in the first place because she thought it would be cool and would make her somehow more popular ....or there's some boy she has her eye on that she thought it would impress. She probably couldn't give a darn about actually playing the guitar, which is why she's not really trying. It's a phase that we almost all went through, whether we'll admit to it or not.

    I'd keep indulging her interests until something actually sticks but trust your parental intuition to know when you're spinning your wheels.
  3. GOG

    GOG State of Jefferson Well-Known Member

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    Ask her if she's really interested or not.
  4. accessbob

    accessbob Molalla, OR 2A Supporter

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    ^^^^^^^^^ + 1 ^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    If she isn't interested, then don't do it. If she is, she needs to change and practice.
  5. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

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    I'm not a musician at all but youngsters can lose interest in anything very quickly if the instructor/instruction doesn't appeal to them in some way.
    However, once started down the path of most anything, supreme focus and dedication can often result.
    I was just checking out utoob for young guitar instructors and found one that might be viable for her. Say, "check this out" to her and if she has no interest, little is lost.
    I searched for "young guitar instructor" and found justinsandercoe .. he goes from beginner on up and has like hundreds of free lessons there.. seems like worth a try.
    Here's a random one on "One minute changes"..

    One Minute Changes (Guitar Lesson BC-115) Guitar for beginners Stage 1 - YouTube

    Good luck.
  6. jbett98

    jbett98 NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    When my daughter was 10 years old, I signed her up in a Tae Kwon Do martial arts studio. I told her that the first time she balked at going there, I would cancel the lessons. She had already tried ballet, gymnastics and soccer.
    Thankfully, she enjoyed it, and 11 years later she earned her 4th degree black belt.
    The owner promised that if she stuck with it, her grades would go up and she would be a more responsible young adult. He was right on all accounts.
    Find something that really interests her, whatever it is, because it sounds like you are the one that is musically inclined.
  7. teflon97239

    teflon97239 Portland, OR Well-Known Member

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    It can be a rude awakening for youngsters to imagine something they'd like to do well, and then discover the work part of it. Especially if the work part doesn't relate directly to the perceived goal...

    Little Johnny hears a crazy Rage Against the Machine guitar solo and wants to do that. Mom and Pop buy Johnny a nylon-string acoustic guitar and invest in lessons revolving around "cowboy" chords (G, C, D, F), scales and tunes that Johnny never heard before/doesn't care about (which sadly might be your very own favorites). Heap mandatory practice on that, especially during a short Oregon summer, and chances are you won't see a lot of effort from Johnny. He's still looking for a machine to rage against.

    Top that off with a bargain guitar with crappy tuners, and it's like trying to learn math on a calculator that makes random mistakes. Take a quick spin through Craigslist and see all the dusty cheapo guitars for sale.

    I'm not saying that's your scenario. But as a hobby musician with performing garage bands in every decade since 75, that's an extremely common situation. Classic.

    Kids with musical friends who play stuff they like tend to pick up things very quickly from the friends. Recognizable fragments of simple melodies that Johnny can actually hum along with in your car begin stacking up. Any teacher not focused on those little achievable mini-goals is missing out on the natural enthusiasm kids thrive on. But find that balance, and soon Johnny's shredding with his band at the school talent show and somewhat more popular than he might have been sans guitar.

    Suggestion: If you haven't done this, ask your girl to list 10-12 tunes she'd like to learn. Find a teacher who will commit to imparting the basics of half that list, so she can plunk along with her iPod, and I'm betting you'll see much faster results. Whatever you do, resist the temptation to force anything (which is easy to do given that lessons cost money, which no one wants to waste). Once the work that goes into learning music becomes a dreaded chore, you might as well sell the guitar. If you and a teacher can keep joy in the mix, you'll see effort.

    Hope this helps.