Constant putdown and discouragement from your own mother.

February 15, 2012 at 10:35 PM ·

Replies (37)

February 16, 2012 at 12:20 AM · Hi Skylar,

I don't think your mom's intentions are to discourage you. I think she is trying to push you and make you more dedicated which isn't correct, but that's Vietnamese mothers for you. Im obviously making assumptions, but perhaps she's comparing you to other violinists because shes trying to explain to you that you need to catch up to the level of those who have started younger than you. If your intention is to not become professional or play for an orchestra and it is just for leisure then your mom shouldn't need to push you. However if you are, then you need to display self discipline and unfortunately your mom is trying to be that discipline. Did she pay for your violin as well? If that is the case maybe she wants to know it goes to good use because she worked to get you it.

As for practicing 3 hours a day I think that is pretty reasonable if you are serious about playing. I do 4-6 and it is no problem as long as I am not swamped with midterms. You say you have a vibrato already and one comparable to a student of three years? That does not seem musically challenged to me If you have done that in four months of playing. I am curious about that though because has your teacher begun you on vibrato or did you learn it by yourself. If you are trying to learn it by yourself I suggest you stop vibrato now and wait for your teacher to help you develop it so you do not encourage bad habits.

If you could elaborate on your current situation more I can give you better advice, but right now I just don't know enough about it.

Good luck,


February 16, 2012 at 12:33 AM · You don't need musical talent to practice X hours a day. Not that I think your mom's demand is reasonable (or unreasonable) without knowing the circumstances.

If you put in 1/2 hr every day on vibrato alone, and you have been practicing less than 3 hours a day, how much time do you spend practicing scales, etudes, pieces, etc.? Spending so much time on vibrato alone seems like a misplaced priority to me. Could it be that you are ignoring other aspects of your playing, which is perceived by your mom as lack of effort on your part?

February 16, 2012 at 01:03 AM · hey i know how you feel. im in the same situation but im the one applying to much pressure. i find myself comparing myself ot william primrose and it makes me disgusted at myself. add depression into the equation and life gets pretty crappy. u said u need to vent. if you want to message me, im a good listener

February 16, 2012 at 02:53 AM · -Joseph

Ha, the girl that I'm talking about is almost into college, she started at my age, 13. I actually took it upon myself to learn the vibrato, my teacher was also ok with that. She even said I should stop fretting about vibrato because it's already good.


I guess it would be true that I should practice more. But to be frank Joyce, I'm an 8th grader that's currently busing to the High School for advanced Biology, Physic and Chemistry. It would be pretty obvious that I'm Einstein-ish, Not Mozart the second. If you want Mozart the second, you go and find those 8 years old kid already in Julliard. With that much advanced in Science, I study up to 4 hrs. a day in 5 different textbook. Which is no problem to me, even if the same Sophomore I'm studying with consider it hell.

On about my mom pushing.


She doesn't even know who Bach is(really mom?)

I feel like she's watching those video on Youtube with 6 years old playing solo in an orchestra and expect me to be the same. Even if I only have 1/2 hr lesson once every week, and sometime she misses that. So yeah, no etude y scales from teacher for me. I pretty swim by myself on learning technique from the great master by watching their video and discuss with you awesome violinist/violist bunch(Thanks Laurie).

I've miss a whole month of lesson due to our arguing back and fort that doesn't seem to cease.

I finally have a beginner etude book thanks to the awesome choir (as mention above) girl that give it to me. Now chopping it apart by myself.(It's slow, but getting there).

February 16, 2012 at 03:28 AM · You can tell your mom that you can guarantee that you won't play 3 hours a day if she takes your violin away.

You can threaten to teach your future daughter to forever hate her grandmother if she takes your violin away.

You can also threaten not to invite your mother to your wedding when you get married.

Of course, you don't actually have to be serious about any of this. But stupid comments like the one your mom is making sometime deserve stupid responses. At least that's the way I used to take it.

My mother used to insist that I tape (record) my playing so she could make sure I practiced at least 1/2 an hour. I had a horrible violin teacher, who was actually a really nice lady. But it was more of a challenge to not practice and see if she would compliment me at my lessons than to practice. But that made no difference to my mother.

I used to skip portions in the tape because my mother used to skip portions of the tape and just sample it. But one day she discovered that I had left huge gaps in my tapes. She got really mad.

So take that geezer wisdom with a grain of salt. You're sort of stuck with your mom - there's not always something you can do about it. Mom's all have faults too, just like daughters or sons. We are all fallible.

February 16, 2012 at 03:40 AM · Skylar,

Your relationship with your mother is way beyond the scope of this forum. If she is a single mother as you say, then it is the most important relationship in your life right now.

The internet is NOT the place to air problems with a parent or spouse, especially when you are not posting anonymously. This is a serious problem that young people are failing to recognize--that the whole world is privy to their personal problems. People have lost the ability to filter themselves and can no longer distinguish between their personal and public identities.

What do think she would think if she read this? Would it help your relationship or make it worse?

You've doubtless heard about the jackass that shot his daughter's laptop because she had complained about him online? Not only did she pick the wrong forum, but he obviously has no idea how to fix his relationship. I don't blame him for feeling betrayed, though. Colleges and employers now have people whose sole job it is to search for stuff just like this and use it to filter you out. And unless you erase it now, it will last FOREVER. I suggest you delete this thread entirely.

None of us has any clue as to the dynamics of your relationship with your mother, or whether she is justified to lean on you to practice. She may be, she may not--we have not heard her side of the story. There is one person, however, who knows both of you, and that is the only person who can solve it:

Your teacher.

February 16, 2012 at 04:05 AM · -Scott

How can I delete a post? I've never done it before.

On single parenting. I don't know what my mom consider herself actually. She'd re-married and I'm now living with a step dad and a new family and all. I feel like the single parent thing still pop on her mind once in a while.

As for my teacher, she said upfront that I advanced quicker than most of her student. But I still feel like my mom insisted that I'm stupid and isn't all that good. She always expect the perfect tone out of my violin even if it a new piece. It's like she can't analyze that with the violin, a 1/2 shift in the string cause a big difference, unlike the piano. Which is why I constantly(failing) to convince her that my appropriate violin size would be 7/8. Not 4/4 or 3/4, since 4/4 is too big and 3/4 is too small(go ahead and try t figure out my body stature.)

I admit this.

Playing the violin make me feel sleepy. I would be able to practice for 1/2 an hour and my eyelids would be drooping(this is where the Science Genius need to come out and use my amazing ability to pore through a Biology textbook in a night.)


Excellent advice (^x^)

February 16, 2012 at 04:14 AM · Three hours a day is not that much.

February 16, 2012 at 04:21 AM · Well, without knowing the complete situation, I'd say that 3 hours for someone who has played for only 4 months is excessive unless they really understand the art and science of practicing.

February 16, 2012 at 04:24 AM · "Being a single mother and all, I get that"

Skylar, this is what you said. It's a little confusing, and actually sounds like you're the single mother. You didn't say anything about a step-dad. That's what I'm saying: we don't really know your situation.

Just click on "edit" then select all and delete.

Just to drive home the point: my wife just told me that at her work, they regularly Google the names of people applying for internships/jobs.

February 16, 2012 at 04:38 AM ·

February 16, 2012 at 07:31 AM · I like your comment Michael! Hahahaha. Speaking of practice, I got another hour I need to clock in before I sleep..

Good night!


February 16, 2012 at 09:44 AM · Just lock her in the cellar and only give her bread and water ... (wink) Don't do it, I'm only (half) joking ...

February 16, 2012 at 10:45 AM · Do you really need to practice 4 to 6 hours per day on the Violin?

I think I'm going to ditch it and find an instrument that isn't so demanding!

February 16, 2012 at 12:41 PM · Michael

You only need to do an hour a day to become quite good. Two hours will get you a long way and three will be enough for anybody.

This of course takes into account good practise with goals, and not time wasting to fill in the time.

Most of the people that practise 4 hours + a day are probably (in most cases) wasting much of it by just going through the motions.

You have to practise for results. If you gain no results it is a waste of time.

February 16, 2012 at 01:12 PM · Scott,

I doubt that Skylar's teacher (of 4 months) knows her and her mother so well that she/he's going to adequately navigate a complicated asian mother/daughter relationship.

Input from the teacher yes, but solve the problem? That's another level entirely IMHO.

You might want to delete a few posts. ;) (kidding)


February 16, 2012 at 01:20 PM · I know that Peter. Mine was a rather flippant comment regarding this obsession to practice 6 hours per day. I'm an ancient beginner. I practice 2 to 3 hours spread over the entire day. Odd day or two off. I seriously think that I would regress if I did anywhere near 6 hours. This ancient body wouldn't be able to cope! Nor would I enjoy it - which really is the whole point is it not? Which is also what the OP (or the Mother) should take note of. Enjoy it, enjoy the learning experience. If you don't become the greatest Violinist the world has ever known, big deal.

February 16, 2012 at 01:25 PM · Skylar, I understand about venting, the problems of being 13 and feeling disconnected from the significant adults in your life, feeling pressure of all kinds. I'm pretty sure this forum isn't a good place to air all that. Among other things, your mother would be embarrassed, if not outright angry, to know you were writing rants to a large unknown audience. Many parents pay attention to their kids' Net usage. You don't sound troubled to me, you sound pretty normal for a 13-year-old girl. Even so, you could consider seeking out the counselors in your school or a trusted teacher to discuss your worries. Sue (40 years' teaching middle-school & teens.) PS For a girl who professes to the academic advancement you do, your written grammar is atrocious. Yes, I know kids "skip" that in texting to each other, but here you are not writing to a crowd of teens. You're writing to mostly adults, who will assess your credibility, to some extent, based on your literacy.

February 16, 2012 at 01:41 PM · Sue

I find it rather offensive that you would consider my grammar atrocious(ok,so maybe it is). But in my defense, I've only been studying English for 4 years-ish. Grammar was never my strong point, not to consider Vietnamese grammar and English are completely different.

I don't seem like I'm trouble you say? Yeah, I get that a lot. I've been known to control my composure and act quite well.

The reason I'm typing openly on the internet is because I want to see wether or not I'm a complete bonker for not practicing 3hrs/day.

Cheer :D

February 16, 2012 at 02:01 PM · Skylar, there is a book I heard about that might describe how your mom views the world and allow you some insight as well as, perhaps, a way to cope. It's called "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother". It's about a Chinese American mother but I think the basic ideas would be similar to your situation. Perhaps it could be a bridge between you two.

February 16, 2012 at 04:38 PM · Skylar:

It is clear that science is your first priority. In addition to your time at school, you are studying three sciences for five hours each day. That is beyond fantastic!

Your interest in the violin is to open other parts of the mind that will enhance your ability to use the science in the work place in the future. The violin should be a rest, or diversion from your unbelievable study habits. In that light one half to one hour on the violin is excellent. The goal is not performance but rounding out of your character.

I worked with many Vietnamese and could place that ancestry from just reading what you write. One is a young lady, a brilliant and hard working engineer. But her English is just that from her community. Engineering pays more than English.

What I want to suggest to you is to find school projects that include the physics of the violin. On the net look up the University of New South Wales. The Catgut Acoustical Society Is now merged into the Violin Society of America where you can study scientific advances of the violin. All interesting.

Count me as one of the old geezers that admire what you are doing.


February 16, 2012 at 05:05 PM · Skylar,

I wonder if your mom is showing attention to you the only way she (emotionally) knows how. This may also be the way she was given attention when she was young; that is a powerful force in teaching someone how to interact. If so, then she may not know any better way to do.

All I can suggest is to try and minimize the points of conflict as well as you can. I know it's not much help.

Best of luck!

February 16, 2012 at 08:37 PM · Hey Skylar,

Taking a look at your profile, you write that you are only studying music to make you better at science. I think that is your problem right there. Why would you want to practice if you don't really like what you are doing? My advice is to think about why you do this. I could be wrong, and you could really love music, but it seems like a waste of your time if you have so little of it, to be playing music for such an abstract goal. Why subject yourself to such pressure? Maybe you need to listen to more music, and you might discover that violin is a worthy pursuit in and of itself.

February 16, 2012 at 11:33 PM ·

February 17, 2012 at 01:53 AM · -Christian

I actually just re-update my acc. profile. In case you don't want to go to the long way, here's what I've updated.

I 1st started the violin at the age of 7, but sadly, I didn't last long due to the fact that my attention span then is strictly reserved to science. Now more mature and armed with a wider attention span, I once again pick up the violin and be an acquaintance of it.

And also, you hurt me here ->*heart shape*<- when you said I don't listen to enough music. My iPod contain 323 songs in total, 154 of it is classical. Even then, I pride myself in having a well refined taste in music. All the song I've select is song with great lyric that have deep meaning. You won't ever find "Sexy and I know it" on my iPod. I do have techno also, but more of instrumental techno that allow me to dance like a crazy b***h in the dark.


I felt soooo jealous that your calling was the violin. Then again, my calling is to create cancer cure and a way to save the Earth, so I guess we're even :)


February 17, 2012 at 01:58 AM · "There is nothing wrong about people getting help on threads"

Yes, anonymously.

February 17, 2012 at 04:05 AM · -Scott

Isn't what I'm doing would be consider "Anonymously"?. You don't even know whether or not this is my real name, nor do you know my face.

February 17, 2012 at 07:30 AM · Skylar, I don't mean to second guess your dedication. I just think that music can be such an undertaking that it's important to be aware of the reasons you have for doing it (Not that it isn't great to look at it as a less serious hobby), because the violin does take a huge amount of work. Your teacher should know your personal needs the best, so this really is something that you will need to work out between yourselves. I also wouldn't worry about reaching some musical quota. Diverse musical interests are good, and in my opinion, it makes no sense to either be ashamed of or proud of your musical tastes. They're for you. As long as you always keep your ears and mind open, you are on the right track.

Scott - I take it back. After reading the other thread, you were 100 percent right on this one. My instincts must need some sharpening.

February 17, 2012 at 10:08 AM · Katrina, take a little time to focus on your spelling and grammar so that the general population will feel more trusting of your comments.

(I'm sure your brilliance is genuine, but I can't tell from here.)

February 17, 2012 at 01:59 PM ·

February 17, 2012 at 06:02 PM ·


I'm old enough to consider the consequences of the stuff I post.


February 17, 2012 at 11:59 PM · Hi Skylar,

English is my 2nd laungage... Im not actually a stupid trol. I read your bio thing and it seems like you focus alot on science and believe that you can make a difference. Thats great, but have you ever thought that the amount of work you do for gr. 9 courses a little to odd? Maybe your mom just wants you to be more well rounded and happy. Did you know that the Einstein that you love so much was actually a violin virtuoso... He apparently had this delicate, sublime tone and actually played mozart sometimes, while his wife transcribed the theory of relaivity for him?

Do you have the wohlfahrt, kayser, mazas and sitt etudes? I would memorize them all.

There are lots of methods on a site called petrucci, so even if you can't get to a music store there is lots of cool rep.

if you know shifting you could try some of the easier things like mozart sonatas or some telemann... aaaaa, maybe an easy vivaldi concerto or some bach suites transposed for violin!!

cheers, kat

February 18, 2012 at 12:21 AM · Skylar, I hope you take the time to read this. I had this same problem once before. To be honest and not to be mean in anyway, the internet is not the place to put your problems out. I mean medical problems are okay, anyway I had to learn that the hard way. It's good that you take advanced classes but do you do good in them ( rhetorical question ) I had the same problem bickering with my mother. You should concentrate on some school work, and not worry about private lessons. To be honest I have joined about 9 orchestra's and a private teacher, I dropped out of one because I need to study for Mid-terms. Out of the 9 only 1 had teached me something. You should find problem resolution. I was like that when I was younger, having perfectionist and successful people in my family I had often gotten mad and broke down for them not understanding about music. You should have good grades as in A's and start thinking about college. I have high hopes, and down let your mom crush you down. Remember there are 7 billion people in the world. You're going to let 1 ruin your day? DO NOT LET OTHERS INFLUENCE YOUR THOUGHTS. You should ask your mom for a nice violin if you have been playing very well. I find that Music & Arts is fine, actually better than quality than where I bought my violin from. But of course my violin is unique and I find it to be very well made. A nice Otto Benjamin for the advancing student. You should take to your step-dad and tell him your problems. Another good advice. " Men like what they see, so women wear make-up. Women like what they want to hear, so men lie" If all else fails talk to your counsler at school. I promise it will help, you can't expect anything to change if you don't take a risk. One alliterative is the Suzuki method. Suzuki involves both the parent and student to play the violin, don't worry if your mom is embarrassing you. Be sure to have fun. It will make her appreciate the hard work you do, it sure beats private lessons. Out of the 4 children in my family I used to argue that I was the only child ( And youngest ) that had problems, but all my siblings were optimistic and took up different interest. Talk to a sibling if you have one. Don't worry your mother will get over this IF YOU make a change. Appreciate your mother, because people that are angry often have something that triggered it early in their life, maybe it was your mother's divorce. If all fails, keep taking a risk to change.

February 18, 2012 at 11:33 PM · "Appreciate your mother, because people that are angry often have something that triggered it early in their life, maybe it was your mother's divorce."

Love the psychoanalysis. But of course, you get the help you pay for here...

February 20, 2012 at 06:48 PM · Oh dear, could everyone cool off a bit!

Skylar, I think human genes are such that mothers and 13-14 year olds are supposed to misundertand each other. Especially mothers and daughters! How else can you become "grown up"? (I have no idea, as I am a 63 year old male teenager!) And why not tell us on this forum, if no-one closer will listen?

Criticism of your playing or of your personality is there to be ignored! Only accept the helpful and sensitive advice in these posts and treat the rest as junk mail. Asking for help in public shows some courage, I think.

You sound as if you should go far..


February 20, 2012 at 09:33 PM · displays of angst and mawking takes self centredness. Its what teenagers are best at, we all have to go through it. Courage, no, that is when you are fearful of a situation and go in anyway despite the risk and your fear.

February 20, 2012 at 10:01 PM · "..the ceremony of innocence is drowned" (Yeats, used by Britten in the Turn of the Screw).

I think Sharrelle's post proves my point.

Adolescence is perhaps the only time when we can have genuine, sincere new feelings, before they are damaged or corrupted by us "grown-ups"...

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