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The Weekend Vote weekend vote: Did/does Mom make you practice?

May 11, 2008 at 6:24 PM

Today in the United States is Mother's Day. but I can wish this to everyone: Happy Mother's Day!

I thought I'd try a poll that has to do with mothers, who very often have quite a lot to so with fanning our musical aspirations. Did your mother, or does your mother, make you practice?

I must admit: my mother did not make me practice, not even once. I was just this little musical freakazoid who, for no reasons that my parents understood, was dying to play the violin. It was always my thing. My hypothesis is that this is not the norm; most people's parents make them practice.

And I'll include my children in that category. When they practice, it's because I make them practice, or Robert does. Since no one ever made me practice, it feels a bit funny for me to make them practice. It's mostly a matter of making sure they establish and then maintain the habit. Once they've practiced for 21 days, it's less of a fight and more just a reminder.

Did your mother make you practice? And if you are a mom (or parent), do you make your children practice? And if you don't fall into these categories (or maybe if you do!), please tell us below about your thoughts on parents and practice!

And if you are a parent with a child or children who play instruments:

From Lynne Krueger
Posted on May 11, 2008 at 7:13 PM
A long time ago I decided that I'd rather my kids spent a few hours a day learning piano and a stringed instrument. From then on I treated music like all their other homeschooling lessons - they were required to practice daily. I made it pleasant (some time on their lesson and some time playing whatever they wanted). I told them frequently that they'd enjoy music more, the better they could play. :) I've had very very few complaints in the near 20 years they've been practicing and all 10 of them enjoy their music to this day. The End! :)
From Cathy Gray
Posted on May 11, 2008 at 11:37 PM
When I was a child I didn't like to practice my violin. My dad, a junior high band director, sat down with me with his flute or clarinet and conned me by saying, "You don't have to practice. Let's just play." We would sightread duets for an hour or more. What a great thing that was for me then. I could sightread better than anyone in the youth symphony!

I never made my kids practice. Since my husband and I are musicians and there was always music going in the household, our kids just felt it was the natural thing to do to play their instruments

From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on May 11, 2008 at 11:46 PM
My background is a lot like yours, Laurie. My parents are non-musicians who drove me to lessons and came to concerts, but never made me practice. My father's parents made him practice the clarinet and he hated it and quit as soon as he could. So he might have thought he was doing me a favor by being more laissez-faire than his parents.

But, now I'm going back the other way again, and I make my daughter practice. She's 8 and she wants a new violin (a 3/4 size) and now I think she has to earn it by practicing more regularly than she has in the past. It's been actually gratifying because she's been doing it a lot more readily than she used to, and I think she's seeing the results.

From Anne Horvath
Posted on May 11, 2008 at 11:53 PM
I started on piano, and there was never any question of practicing. I just did it. That is why I voted "My Mom made me practice", because if piano was going to be learned, it was going to be practiced. Every evening, after dinner. I was an OK student. I had a great teacher. I progressed.

I remember piano days well, and I liked it well enough, but it felt a bit dutiful.

When I later switched to violin, I never had to be made to practice. Not dutiful at all! I was one of the happy violin nerds. And not much has changed...

From Emily Grossman
Posted on May 12, 2008 at 12:05 AM
My parents didn't make me practice. I practiced any time I didn't think it would bother anyone. The best thing my parents did was to never be bothered by my practicing.

Sometimes my mom would tell me to fix things, though. And my dad was always good at telling me I sounded like a recording. Both types of feedback were equally valuable.

From Mendy Smith
Posted on May 12, 2008 at 3:54 AM
My father made me practice. First we tuned my viola using his ossiloscope, then he would play along with me on his accordian. I learned Hungarian Dance #5 at a very young age :)
From Amy Nemecek
Posted on May 12, 2008 at 1:57 PM
Like Laurie, my mom never had to push me to practice my violin. From the time I was five, that's all I wanted to do, and once I started learning I seldom wanted to put it down. However, she made me learn piano first (a good thing, in retrospect). So at age 6 I started piano lessons and she had to really nag me to practice. I never could get my two hands to work well together on the keyboard. Funny...why did it come so naturally on the fiddle?
From Alayna Faulkenberg
Posted on May 12, 2008 at 4:53 PM
mum always told me to 'Please stop practicing, it's time to go to bed!'
From Dottie Goldfarb
Posted on May 12, 2008 at 5:24 PM
3:00 every day. Came home from school, had milk and cookies, then, practice. If we went to visit someone at that time I took my violin with me to practice. My mother was always with me keeping time and correcting my posture and playing piano with me. If not for her I wouldn't be a violinist today. Thanks mom.
From Debra Wade
Posted on May 12, 2008 at 6:33 PM
My Mom didn't make me practice - I had a lot of motivation of my own. But my Mom did make me practice correctly. I was very "creative" when I was younger and I often got off on musical rabbit trails. She was very consistent in helping me get back on track with what I was supposed to be practicing.

Even now when I practice, I can still hear in my head her saying to me, "that was still flat Honey try playing it again". :-)

From Pauline Lerner
Posted on May 13, 2008 at 1:39 AM
...and now for something different. I have a student who is very talented and loves playing music on his violin, but he does not practice. I asked his parents to make him practice. They don't do it. The student says that if he had a schedule for practicing violin, he would follow it. I asked his parents to write out a schedule for him. They didn't do it. However, the boy's mother is having her son teach her how to play violin, and she insists that he give her a lesson every night, so he does. Has anyone else encountered a similar experience?
From Laurie Niles
Posted on May 14, 2008 at 5:17 AM
So should the next vote be, do you make your parents practice? !!!

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