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DS (8yo) plays the violin.  He's been playing about a year and a half, so not very long.   He's okay at it.  He sees a teacher for half an hour a week and makes progress.  Cool.  He's still a very bouncy 8yo boy who alternates between being a perfectionist and preferring to play swords with sticks in the backyard.

 

This week at the end of his lesson he was more bouncy than usual.  His teacher is very patient with him and sweet and let him bounce over to the keyboard to bang on it....and that's where he played all three of his violin songs with the right notes (including the sharps) and tempo, using multiple fingers instead of pecking it out.  Um... 

 

So now, what?  We'd like him to stay with violin.  And I'm not sure I want him to take on lessons for both and invest in another instrument.  My sister is very similar in musical ability so I feel almost guilty in not fostering the gift more.  But I'm not sure it would be detrimental in the long run if we didn't allow him to play.  He could be good and he definitely takes to it easily, but how much music is too much?  Or should we let him switch?  He's been after the keyboard for years, but he was really wanting a violin, too, before he started lessons.

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Do you have a keyboard? I’d be inclined, for now, to let him play his violin songs, and maybe a subscription to Piano Maestro on the iPad or Hoffman Academy so he can noodle around as he wishes. If he’s practicing regularly and trying to improve, maybe consider lessons in 6-12 months or so. That would also give him enough time on violin to really see significant progress. Piano probably seems easier right now.

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That's the thing - we have no keyboard.  We got rid of ours when he was a baby/toddler.  He's never played a keyboard before this week. 
 

I have thought about Hoffman Academy.  I wonder if that would satisfy him if we could get a keyboard cheap.

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I am not at all musical. at all. My nephew just turned 10 and he does both violin and piano.  He also started out with violin, but then got interested in piano.  He has a great teacher and does lessons one right after the other at the same location.  I think if his mom (a busy NICU doctor) had to drive to multiple locations at different times it would not work, but this arrangement has been great for him.  Would he be able to do something like that? 

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I’m not sure if this would be feasible for you In the space you have, but where I live it’s not too hard to snag a free piano so long as you keep your eyes open on craigslist and Freecycle sorts of websites. Most people don’t want to move their piano, and you see pianos popping up at least once a month usually.

 

I second Hoffman. But we do the free videos, and the paid complete materials, because I don’t want to waste money to make it decides to take a three week break instead of playing all day every day. We have found it to be a great investment. For less than $200, We have had one child take Piano for 2 1/2 years and another child for six months. We had made it past with just $150 for a long time, but then my oldest child finish the first six units and started moving on to later ones that weren’t included in our initial purchase.

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I don’t have it in me to be driving around to multiple music lessons, on top of all the other things that we do. So piano at home, and strings lessons with someone else works for us here at home. My oldest is 8 1/2 and he loves both piano and the viola, And very much works hard at both.

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I am not at all musical. at all. My nephew just turned 10 and he does both violin and piano.  He also started out with violin, but then got interested in piano.  He has a great teacher and does lessons one right after the other at the same location.  I think if his mom (a busy NICU doctor) had to drive to multiple locations at different times it would not work, but this arrangement has been great for him.  Would he be able to do something like that? 

 

He would be able to, but I'm not sure I *want* to.  It's an extra study each week, so another half hour each day plus lessons in the early evening when he's already tired.  To put it in perspective, he's learning 4 languages this year, plus regular 8yo subjects, plus violin.  I want him to play swords in the backyard with sticks or have the time to play them at least.  If he dropped something, fine.  But I'm starting to feel Accidental Tiger Mom-ish.  But I watched my sister lose out on having her marvelous musical ability fostered because of lack of time, money, and other things as we were kids.  I don't want to feel regret on keeping ds from it (like the guilt that's starting to eat me), but I'm unsure about devoting the 3.5-4 hours a week necessary to it right now.

 

Just tell me he will grow up just fine if we don't let him pursue this 100% right now. :lol: Tell me we won't put him in therapy over it or have him miss out on a life playing at the London Philharmonic and composing his own symphonies if we back away slightly.  Or insist that he absolutely should do jump in and do what he can because...I don't know.  :laugh:

 

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Instead of dropping something for music or feeling tiger mom-ish, could you just give him the opportunity if you wanted? Get a keyboard or piano, get access to the Hoffman lessons, show him what to do and give him completely free reign to do as much as he wants or as little as he wants? When he’s tired, he could choose not to. Or when he’s worn down, maybe it’s therapeutic for him. But can you give him the tools and then step back completely so you’re not pushing one more thing, but if he loves it and it’s meaningful for him, he can choose to do it?

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He will grow up just fine if you don’t pursue this right now. There are only so many hours in the day.

 

Things like this are why we came up with what amounts to a budgeting system for time for DD. She knows she is busy. For anything she wants to add, we specifically figure out where the time will come from and discuss whether the loss of time to some other endeavor (including free time) is truly worth it. When she wants to add something like a one hour weekly ceramics class, it’s pretty doable with a little give somewhere else, because there’s no commitment of time outside the class and transport. Adding a language, an instrument, or a competitive team is a whole other matter, as the commitment includes not only the instruction time, but also all the work outside the instruction time.

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He could be good and he definitely takes to it easily, but how much music is too much? Or should we let him switch? He's been after the keyboard for years, but he was really wanting a violin, too, before he started lessons.

He is 8. I would be tempted to get a good but affordable keyboard and let him self study but it is okay to wait too as my husband learned piano as an adult.

 

It’s hard to say how much is too much. My husband did one instrument at a time so clarinet in 7th-12th grade, saxophone and clarinet (it gets counted as one as all clarinetists had to play saxophone as well) in navy band, piano after college. For me, it was piano/accordion, horn, angklung (folk instrument), harmonica, choir all at the same time in elementary school. I was picking up instruments the way your son is picking up languages. I added violin and flute in college. I’m hoping to learn to play the harp. For me playing music or singing is emotionally soothing so the time spent is more of relaxation time. My husband plays piano to relax too.

 

My kids prefer to self study for piano and go for lessons for one instrument. It’s a time management issue for them and also they haven’t found an instrument that absorb them. They enjoy creating/composing music more than playing music.

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So, what is the problem in letting him take piano classes as well. Why not take lessons from now until the end of summer to see if he is doing well and if the interest is sustained? You can rent pianos, get a used keyboard, buy a cheap keyboard at costco or some such thing and get him some lessons from a teacher close to your home so that there is no hassle in commuting. In a year, you might want to consider buying an acoustic piano if he is progressing and interested. I am sure that he would be fine with just one instrument, but, since you seem to think that he could be good, I think it is worth trying.

 

My son learns 2 instruments and plays in an orchestra as well. It is a big commitment for the parent and the child. But, it is what he wants and he is diligent about practice (his teachers make him accountable for his preparedness every week). So, I drive everywhere he needs to go :)

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My DS began violin at 6.5, and added piano at 7.5. He was very bouncy, and not a great technician (he has ADHD), but he’s also musically gifted, has perfect pitch, and likes to take things at 100 mph. After a year of both instruments he dropped violin. Between being held up/corrected frequently for technique issues on violin and having so much more positive stimulation on piano (polyphony, polyrhythms, range, volume, increased tactil stimulation, etc) as well as available literature that interested in him more, violin had become a chore and piano was fun. He excelled at piano, for 5 years of study. This instrument allowed him to advance more quickly in all areas of music (even technique). It wasn’t his love for the instrument but his love for music generally and his gifted need for “more,†and more quickly, of that thing which he has capacity for, that made the piano the best choice.

 

He has the foundational gifts to be quite accomplished on many instruments, but alas he does not have the drive to be a classical musician. Music makes him happy and is ever present with him, but the adhd makes connecting self-discipline in the very tedious and boring aspects NOW with success in the FUTURE very difficult. He still is an amazing musician, only I imagine he could be even more so if he could knuckle down more. He is still always looking to try new instruments because with adhd new is more stimulating. His self-discipline is improving as he gets older, and will split his practice times into small chunks (eg this time for scales and technique, this time for pieces, and this time for playing whatever I feel like) to include some of the tedium. He landed on saxophone two years ago, after discussion about having a “main†instrument that is unchanging - for him that is sax - and having others he can explore and pick up when he likes. He no longer takes piano lessons, but plays at his leisure. He also explores and self teaches on guitar and clarinet, had some brief time with double bass, and is always searching for new and less common instruments he’d like to try (cimbasso anyone? Carnyx?).

 

Sorry I digressed. My point was to say multiple instruments is definitely doable, though I suggest eventually establishing a focus instrument. Piano, being both tonal and percussive and capable of polyphony, is an excellent instrument to learn music from, even if in the end you do not become a pianist. Also, be flexible and don’t commit to anything long term while he’s still young and “bouncy†- it is the rarer child that finds his passion for a single instrument early on.

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My personal opinion is that if you have space and money for a used piano, that would be a super investment.  Your son might be able to teach himself a lot, and being able to play piano is a great thing on many levels.

 

I started violin at 8 and soon taught myself to play piano.  (We had an old one my dad had inherited.)  It gave me so many hours of pleasure over the years.  I would not deny it to a kid who has an ear for music.

 

My kids learned multiple instruments simultaneously for some time.  I do not think it makes it more difficult or anything like that.

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Well, we've decided to wait a bit until December.  Between summer being a time for outdoors and travel, we don't want to have him start something and then drop it for a few months.  The violin travels with us.  So we'll reassess his interest in the winter and go from there.

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Just tell me he will grow up just fine if we don't let him pursue this 100% right now. :lol: Tell me we won't put him in therapy over it or have him miss out on a life playing at the London Philharmonic and composing his own symphonies if we back away slightly. Or insist that he absolutely should do jump in and do what he can because...I don't know. :laugh:

 

 

Of course he will be fine. Don't let yourself stress about it. There's no magic window of time in which he must begin formal lessons or he'll somehow lose his innate talent. It will still be there down the road if you and he decide to pursue it then.

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