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Passions - time limits?


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My son (10) is accomplished musician (composes, plays different instruments) and his career's plans all revolve around music.

He writes his composition blog: http://www.youngtunesmith.com/roller-coaster/ and has private lessons with piano, guitar and violin (violin lessons every day!!!)

He has musical talent but he is also profoundly gifted and has excellent memory and I believe he could be successful in almost everything if we as parents steer him into that particular directions - ex. he could become a doctor ;). But he loves music and this is his passion.

His music consumes all of his time right now and there is no much time for anything else. He does physical activities (swimming, taekwondo, biking) and Polish school on Sat (I am Polish) and he reads a lot. But other than this, he does not do anything "curriculum based".

I wonder sometimes if I should limit time he spends on music or  let him do what he loves without time limits?

Any wise parents there? What would you suggest?

 

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It sounds like he has a future in music! If you can afford the lessons and he is able to get his regular schoolwork done, then I would let him pursue his passion.

 

Other than cost, I would cut back if his activities are affecting other members of the family. Does he have any siblings? If one child's activities are keeping other children from having extracurricular activities, then a balance needs to be found.

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We have 5 children (10, 8, 6, 3 and 1), but my husband work from home, so I often leave my son with him (he is very independent and requires minimal supervision).

My son's violin lessons are late evening and it is time when I have goodnight reading with younger children.

His music affects younger children, as my oldest one has also different competitions and recitals and we build our schedule around him. I believe it will be even worse in future.

Younger children have their own activities and we try to encourage and nurture their interests as well.

The oldest one does almost no regular schoolwork (we homeschool our children), but he reads a lot and has very broad knowledge.

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I would just make sure your younger children are given the opportunity to pursue their interests as well. This might mean cutting back for the oldest eventually. For example, we want our younger dc to be able to play T-Ball and Rookie baseball. This might mean having our older dc stop playing baseball at a certain age so we have time. (The oldest already decided to stop playing softball on her own, though.) Mine are playing piano, but I am their teacher, and we have no recitals or outside lessons, so everyone can play.

 

And even though your oldest is doing almost no regular schoolwork, is he keeping up with math? And can he write well? Just in case he ends up not going into music, he needs a good foundation in the 3Rs.

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The answer to your question is very complex.  I am in your shoes with a son who has a chance of medaling internationally in mathematics but who has many other talents (including music).  There are some very wise women (and men) on this board who have helped me to see all the different angles.  I ran this thread a few months ago  how do you cater for the specialist?. And there is a current thread on the accelerated board the-specialist/. Both threads are long but worth reading in their entirety.

 

Ruth in NZ

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I recently read this article you might find interesting. When you say your ds does no academic work, you mean no math, writing, science, etc…? In the article, they mention it is important for children with musical talent to have a broad range of knowledge and experience to draw from for their music. 

 

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I recently read this article you might find interesting. When you say your ds does no academic work, you mean no math, writing, science, etc…? In the article, they mention it is important for children with musical talent to have a broad range of knowledge and experience to draw from for their music. 

 

Thank you Donna. Great article!

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The answer to your question is very complex.  I am in your shoes with a son who has a chance of medaling internationally in mathematics but who has many other talents (including music).  There are some very wise women (and men) on this board who have helped me to see all the different angles.  I ran this thread a few months ago  how do you cater for the specialist?. And there is a current thread on the accelerated board the-specialist/. Both threads are long but worth reading in their entirety.

 

Ruth in NZ

 

Wow, thank you so much.

 

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We do no formal math with my oldest. When he was 6 and 7 he zoomed through TT - Algebra and Geometry and then he kept reading  Life of Fred - he finished now High School set.

When I was doing History of the World with younger kids, he was listening to CD's in a car and read the books. Just from the curiosity I let him do a few tests and ALL the answer were correct - (me - doing preparation, maps etc - still have 1 mistake here and there ;))) We have SuperScience online and he comes from time to time when he is interested, but no formal science. Saying that, if I am not sure myself, I always ask my 10 year and he has the answers.

He is in a critical thinking group for gifted children once a week and he loves those classes.

He does some writing: he is responsible for his posts on his blogs, he has 2 pen pals he writes on regular basis, and we started poetry (as he wants to write his own lyrics to some of his songs). This is an example of his writing:

Back in the 1970′s and 1980′s, there was a series of fictional movies about Jaws – a huge man-eating great white shark that aggressively attacked everything in sight. Each attack was proceeded by an ominous (and now famous) melody composed by the great contemporary composer, John Williams. I thought it would be fun to write my own shark attack melody. With that thought in mind, I set out to write a song that was completely different from the original, yet still conveyed the frightening sense that a shark was about to attack. I call this song Jaws and I wrote it when I was 9 years old.

We have a very big library at home and he reads at least 1-2 hr a day, mostly during a night time.

I can not do formally other subjects without sacrificing his passion for music. He likes biking and hiking and there is no time to do everything. When I asked him to prioritizing, music always comes first.

With his great memory, I believe he will be able to catch up with other subjects if he chooses so. I am not sure what we should do ;) There is not much pressure coming from us as parents and myself I sometimes doubt if that is the right path for him..

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Wow. Never mind about what I said before. It sounds like he's fine in the 3Rs department. Let him keep doing what he's doing. The only advice I would give is to make sure the outside-the-house lessons/recitals/etc aren't negatively affecting the younger dc. But at home, I wouldn't change a thing. :)

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Do you know about the Teaching Company? Most of their courses are college-level-for-nonmajors although some are more advanced, but most are accessible to an interested younger child. My DS has been watching them since 6th grade, and they're a significant part of our homeschool. They're a great way for gifted kids to access advanced content, and a particularly convenient way to make educational use of all that travel time to and from activities. For courses where the visual component is unnecessary (most history & literature courses), you can get audio downloads very cheaply on Audible.com — generally about $10-15 per course, depending on the subscription plan. And of course audio books are also a great way to pass the time while commuting to activities!

 

The Teaching Company also has some advanced math (Calculus, Number Theory, Differential Equations) and science classes, which might be a good way for a gifted kid with limited time to gain familiarity with those subjects.

 

(ETA: you can always get the Teaching Co courses for at least 70% off the "retail" price they list on the site, and often for less. You may also be able to borrow them from the library, or buy them used.)

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Do you know about the Teaching Company? Most of their courses are college-level-for-nonmajors although some are more advanced, but most are accessible to an interested younger child. My DS has been watching them since 6th grade, and they're a significant part of our homeschool. They're a great way for gifted kids to access advanced content, and a particularly convenient way to make educational use of all that travel time to and from activities. For courses where the visual component is unnecessary (most history & literature courses), you can get audio downloads very cheaply on Audible.com — generally about $10-15 per course, depending on the subscription plan. And of course audio books are also a great way to pass the time while commuting to activities!

 

The Teaching Company also has some advanced math (Calculus, Number Theory, Differential Equations) and science classes, which might be a good way for a gifted kid with limited time to gain familiarity with those subjects.

 

(ETA: you can always get the Teaching Co courses for at least 70% off the "retail" price they list on the site, and often for less. You may also be able to borrow them from the library, or buy them used.)

 

Thank you for your suggestions. Yes, we know Teaching Company well ;) especially music, science and math courses. My son even wrote about his favourite music lecturer Robert Greenberg:

http://www.youngtunesmith.com/professor-robert-greenberg/

 

My concerns are not really that son will fall behind, as he soaks the knowledge everywhere he goes, but rather to keep a healthy balance in his life. He would forget to eat/sleep while working on his music ;))

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Have you read the threads I linked to?  8filltheheart has a lot of very good philosophical thoughts on what actually constitutes an education. 

 

Also, you should post on the accelerated board if you want advice about a PG kid.  There are a number of families in a similar situation that could advise you.

 

Ruth in NZ

 

ETA: I see you just did!

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Have you read the threads I linked to?  8filltheheart has a lot of very good philosophical thoughts on what actually constitutes an education. 

 

Also, you should post on the accelerated board if you want advice about a PG kid.  There are a number of families in a similar situation that could advise you.

 

Ruth in NZ

 

ETA: I see you just did!

 

Hi Ruth, I read the links. Thank you for your thoughts. I posted there as well.

My philosophy to education was always: follow your child, what he/she is interested in. I believe that the kids should be interested and passionate about their learning. But once passion becomes obsession - hard to say when to step in...

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Well I have a child with a strong obsession/gift/talent.  He is proficient in about 8 computer programming languages, as well as everything else with computers.  In fact, he could easily get hired as a Jr. Programmer if he wanted to (except that he just turned 12!)....so I TOTALLY understand your situation.

 

I do think it's a little scary that you are saying that your son does no formal school work outside of music.  If he doesn't "Make it" as a musician he will most likely need to be a music teacher of some sort and for that he will need a degree.  

 

So IMO I would see if you could find a way to at least do writing, grammar and math!  Then he can get his GED, take college courses at community college on the side and if he desires, advance to a BS in Music something or other later in life.  I mean, it depends on what your philosophy is.  If you are a serious unschooler you may think I'm wrong and that's OK.  With his passion, it sounds likely that he will always be able to do something with music. 

 

 

 

 

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Has he gone to any of the arts camps, like Interlochen or Blue Lake? He sounds like a great fit for a conservatory program, and that would be a way to try the life before committing to Julliard or Curtis. Julliard, especially, often takes students who are younger than college age. I'm guessing he could get scholarships, too. Interlochen has a boarding school, as well, that might be an option and allow him the immersion he wants (and may well end up being cheaper, too. I know I reached a point in high school where it honestly cost less to start enrolling at the local university than to study with the private teachers I needed-and I was a good musician, not a prodigious one). It's hard to consider at an early age, but music is also somewhat a time limited area, especially in performance. A 16 yr old soloist is something the media enjoys. A 26 yr old equally skilled soloist will not get near the attention.

 

In many respects, music is an easier field to specialize and focus in because there IS a professional school path available that still leads to quite respected jobs in the field. A Julliard-trained musician is unlikely to have trouble finding a teaching job if they choose to go that route, even though they've bypassed a good deal of the general education core. I'd also suggest that he do Suzuki training as soon as he's age eligible, since I don't think he'd have any trouble proving the performance core requirements. I think that's age 16, IIRC.

 

And do join us on the dark side (I mean, Accelerated Learners board). Quite a few of us are on the wild ride of raising/teaching highly specialized, PG kids. Mine is focused on snakes. At least violins don't escape and hide in closets....

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