Monday, April 30, 2012

Drill Sergeant Dad

I feel like a drill sergeant at times, but someone’s got to push the kids to practice certain things. I’m talking mainly about music, particularly A with guitar and N with drums. A is also doing piano, but that’s less pressing because her main interest lies in guitar. Now her teacher EE has mentioned on a few occasions that A is a natural on guitar, and I’ve noticed that she can learn things fairly quickly to where she can practice a lesson right before class and fake like she knows the material.

Not the best way to learn. Plus, even though things may come easily, she needs to learn about working hard and at least some level of diligence and dedication. Even the best work hard at something, if anything, that’s how they become the best. I don’t want the kids to embrace only what comes easy to them.

So I’ve had to force the issue and make her practice on a regular basis. The same goes with N on drums. His teacher, JB, has mentioned that he, as well, is clearly picking up the groove and is playing like it’s coming naturally to him. She’s the one who encouraged us to get him a real snare drum, and that he’s ready for a drum set (as if we’ll get any sleep at that point).

The thing is, they just don’t want to practice, even when they’re bored and having nothing else to do. I’ve found that you can’t force the issue with a lot of things in life, but one area where it does seem to work is in practicing music. All it takes is a moment of uninterrupted focus, and they get a lot out of it. The thing that kills me is that once they get started, they get into it and are clearly enjoying it, I think. That doesn’t matter at this point. The key is incremental steps of practice pay off in the big picture. This works well because I don’t have to force them to practice for hours on end, just a bit every day, and gradually their abilities will grow to the point where they’ll actually enjoy it. Then we can work on practicing for longer periods. I figure if we cram it down their throats before they can appreciate what they’re doing, they’ll just grow to hate it, not that they’re not at that point already. It’s definitely a balancing act.

As I mentioned, things are clicking with both of them, and dare I say, they can appreciate the value of playing an instrument, at the very least because there is a coolness factor that will become more significant as they get older. They just can’t appreciate it right now.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to rose93bloom for the pic.

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