#1
I have two sons. Both begged for guitar lessons. One is interested and loves to practice. The other loves going to the lessons but never practices and is showing no improvement. They both lie to me about practicing. One is putting in about 20 minutes a week, the other, 0. The one who isn't practicing keeps waffling, I want to get a new guitar and I want to be the best, then two days later, he tells me he wants to quit. Any thoughts? I was thinking of just keeping him in and forcing him to do it, but I don't know. Otherwise, all he does is play video games all day and all night, X-BOX or world of warcraft. I have forced them to practice in the past and that is when he wants to quit. He practices for about three minutes and then will suddenly remember he was supposed to do something and run off. But remember, he begged.

I am adding this information because it keeps getting mentioned...

The 15 YO has already said he doesn't care if I sell the guitar. He told me two days ago, he wanted to kick things up a notch, but last night told me that he wants to quit so that he can concentrate on high school football and band (he is playing the clarinet, which he has been playing for four years). I guess my 12 YO I am going to keep pushing because he really has the desire, but needs to kick start on practicing, but the 15 YO, he has three more lessons paid for in advance. If he still wants to quit, I will let him drop it after the lessons are over. Just wondering if anyone disagrees with that?
Last edited by samtastic6 at Aug 20, 2008,
#2
I wouldn't force your kids into doing it... If they don't want to, they arn't going to like it.


Just make fun of them, or say "your never gonna get hot chicks if you don't play guitar".
#3
sounds to me he wanted to play guitar because he saw cool kids doing it and now he's found its harder than it looks.

i'd say let him quit but keep the guitar for a while. he might start just playing around with it and decide he wants to take lessons again.

if he doesnt, sell it on ebay.
#4
Force them! Depends on how old they are. But if he`s older then 11/12 he should know what he wants and not. If he`s really sure then let him make up his mistakes. Let him sell his guitar and give you the money and pay the lessons. Then he`ll learn that you can`t make decisions in a minute.
#5
Well forcing them obviously didn't work since your son felt like quitting. I'd suggest making a bargain with them. Something along the lines of:

"If you practise for [prefered time period] every week" then I'll let you/I'll give you [treat].

I don't know if you give them pocket money or an allowance but maybe up the amount by £5/$5 in exchange for them doing practise. And let them have one day a week of no guitar, just video games and such so they don't feel they're doing non-stop guitar.

I found incentives work better than being forced. If you don't want to give them extra money then find a suitable alternative.

EDIT: Also if you don't feel you need to give them incentives since they begged then take away their guitars. If they don't get over it in a week or two then give it them back and say "If you don't keep practising I'll get rid of your guitars for good." That would've made me practise.
Last edited by G-Dog_666 at Aug 20, 2008,
#6
How old are your sons? They sound reasonably young and if this is the case I would let them choose what they want to do for now and encourage them to take lessons again in a few years when they are hopefully more motivated and responsible. Forcing them will most likely drive them away from the guitar because it will be something they have to do, like a chore, rather than something they choose.
#7
Tell them the truth. WHY do they want a new guitar if they don't practise? Maybe reward them after they have done some good practising, by taking them to a music store and letting them try some good guitars? Also, tell him he CANT be the best if he doesnt practise. 20 minutes a week is too little toget good, I myself(14 years old, have been playing for about one year) practise for up to 4 hours a DAY.
#8
Yeah, you know, if I don't make the one practice, he goes from one practice to another without so much as even picking up the guitar once. He is 15.
#9
Dont force them, id bet that in a few years they will pick up te axe again and take it seriously.

( im assuming they are pretty young, any older than 12/13 i would just let it be and elave them.)
#10
i think the best way to learn if they get bored of lessons is self teaching, i'm 14, self taught, in a fairly succesful local band, you jsut gotta have the drive to do it, if lessons aren't the right thing then self teaching should be the alternative, if they don't have the drive to learn how to teach themselves then they don't have the drive to play guitar, and i'm the same as your son, i just play video games and linger on the pc all day, it's just the way he chooses to be, like me.
#11
As a father myself I would say, don't force them. It will sour them on playing. I would talk to them about practice though and how it takes a long time to get good. But the more they practice, the faster they'll get good.
#12
If they learn now, they'll likely thank you for it later. I can't imagine them in twenty years saying, "I hate you for forcing me to learn music." If you know an instrument, you should integrate yourself into practice- go into the garage and jam with them.
#13
I'm suprised at 15 he wouldn't want to play guitar :O it seems with the popularity of rock and and guitar hero everyone and there mothers are playing guitar... Plus in most cases playing guitar = chicks so that might motivate him haha... Also maybe install guitar pro on your computer its a lot easier way to learn guitar and he might actually enjoy learning through that instead of the way hes learning now.
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#14
Pretty much what every other user has said, but make a deal. If they can play a certain song then they can have a certain amount of money towards a new guitar. (Keep the funds, but keep tab of them)

For instance...
$3 - Punk song (Power chords, but they MUST be able to say the name of each power chord)
$5 - Song (Riff driven)
$7 - Classic Rock song with solo
$1 - $10 Write a song, the more complacated and better it sounds gets more money.

And of course 20 minutes of practice a week is horrible. Tell them to practice at least 30 minutes everyday.

Spend time with them teaching them about rock. Different musicians, different styles, rent DVD's of concerts, and of course take them to gigs.

More importantly have fun, thats what music is about. Don't force them to do anything they don't want.
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#15
Kids never know what they want, they have the attention span of goldfish. I know they initially asked for lessons but at the moment it sounds like you want them to be able to play more than they themselves do. There's no point worrying about it, if they want to learn they will, if they don't they won't. There's no point threatening them or forcing them, just leave them to it. By all means call their bluff by telling them you're going to sell the guitars, if you get no reaction then you know they really aren't that into it.
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#16
Honestly, the I think the best thing to do is have you do nothing, but let them do what they want, but have them go through it themselves. When I first wanted to play guitar what my parents did really helped me get interested and want to practice. What they did was nothing, if I wanted to play electric guitar I had to get all the cash and buy all the gear myself, so 12 year old me got a job under the table laboring for my first guitar.

You work for that stuff, even if the idea of playing guitar doesn't mean as much to you does, the fact you did all that work does. If nothing else they'll be think, "I paid for the damn thing, I'm going to get my use out of it."

Four years of playing with the crap gear I had, 100% out of my pocket over the years, parents were more then willing to help me upgrade my gear after that first guitar suffered a fatal blow. Because I was serious about it (I practiced at least a couple hours a day, more on weekends)

I would say for the 15 y/o if he keeps going on and off and wants new guitars out of the blue, and doesn't practice, and when he wants to sell his guitar, let him do it. But, if he wants a new guitar, he should pay for it, 100%. If he wants to quit and sell his guitar, let him, but if you payed for the guitar, you get the money from it. If he begs for lessons and doesn't practice or try to improve, have him pay for his lessons if he wants them.

The 12 y/o is a little more complicated since it sounds like he likes the idea of playing guitar, but doesn't like to practice. 20 minutes a week practicing is absurd. If you don't push him, what does he do? Is he able to play any songs, or just boring lesson things? If he doesn't know any parts from songs, try getting him to learn a basic riff from some song he recognizes and get him into reading tabs. I didn't have any fun practicing until I was able to play something that sounded familiar from a song to me. If he can play songs... I don't know. Sounds complicated with him.
#17
I'd say try limiting the amount of time the kid spends on video games. He'll hate you for it at first, but while they are a fun past-time, in excess they detract from real-life skills he could be developing.

Make some kind of arrangment where for every 30 minutes a day he spends practicing, he gets 2 hours of video game time. He may someday regret choosing video games over the guitar, but I doubt he'll regret the opposite. I certainly understand that he wants to focus on his other activities, but aside from some short-term enjoyment there isn't much he can take away from videogames, while guitar could be somthing that he ends up loving for a lifetime (when he matures a little).

In the end, I woulden't force him if he absolutely doesn't want to play, but a small part of it sounds like laziness to me, like he'd rather pass up the guitar and spend that time on WoW. However you know the situation better then anyone else, so I'm certain you'll make the right decision for them.

Hope that helps.
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#18
Maybe the 15 year old's love is football? If so, let him do it but I think the poster above me hit it on the head...let HIM pay for his gear. If one of my children told me they were not interested in something, I let it go.

I think the same should be true of the 12 year old really. I would talk with the boy and tell him that if he doesn't keep up the practice schedule, I would quit paying for lessons.

I personally feel that done any other way is not going to teach a child responsibility and that it takes dedication for anything that is worth while. Without the dedication and feeling of responsibility, my kids would have never gone to college. Yes! I have college age kids at 43....that is a whole other story all together lol.

Just my .02

Chris
Last edited by RCShadow at Aug 20, 2008,
#19
Quote by LordPino
Tell them the truth. WHY do they want a new guitar if they don't practise? Maybe reward them after they have done some good practising, by taking them to a music store and letting them try some good guitars? Also, tell him he CANT be the best if he doesnt practise. 20 minutes a week is too little toget good, I myself(14 years old, have been playing for about one year) practise for up to 4 hours a DAY.


big deal and i noticed "up to 4 hours" rendering your boast useless as you could practice for 2 minutes and still write the same sentence
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#20
just let him do what he wants, i wanted a guitar SO bad when i was like 13, got one for christmas, took lessons for like 2 months, quit. didnt really ever pick up a guitar again till i was around 16 and havnt stopped since. you have to remember a 12 year old has the attention span of a hummingbird, they never stop moving-the 15 year old may just rother play the clarinet
#21
Man i picked up the guitar and quit playing video games COLD TURKEY.

on topic

I would definitely threaten them with selling the guitars. If they say ok or whatever take their guitars away but don't sell them. See if in a week or two they say "man i really wish i had my guitar" than you take it out and tell them if you don't practice than you will sell it for real. Kinda cruel but it might help you determine their priorities.
#22
Just stop the lessons. If they really want to get serious you'll know and you can start up lessons again. Until then they can continue to play whenever and teach themselves.

Maybe let them know how lucky they are to even have lessons, a lot of people can't afford them.
#23
I'll start by saying I'm 16, so I guess I kind of know what I'm talking about. I don't know your kids, but I'm sure if they felt that they were going to disappoint you, they would want to go to their lessons. I don't mean make them feel bad, just make sure they know you're paying for them to learn to play guitar because they want to. They should understand (the 15 yr. old at least). If it doesn't get through their heads, stop the lessons. Don't sell the guitar, but stop the lessons. Tell them they can learn on their own time. I'm assuming you play guitar yourself, so listen to what they turn on the radio in the car. I know you'll probably hate it, but spend 30 minutes a day (or even every other day, it's better than 20 minutes a week) teaching them each a song that they like. When they're done, they'll feel so good. Granted, you'll get reeeeaaallly tired of hearing that one damn song they can play, but you'll have them hooked. After a week or two, they'll want to learn more. I took lessons for a year, thinking I wasn't learning anything useful. Then I realized I could use the techniques those damn blues licks taught me to play Children of Bodom. Now I love metal, blues, classic rock, everything! Once you can get those two kids interested, they won't want to stop. Good luck!
#24
i liked that guy's incentive idea. tell them you'll put 10 bucks a week for x amount of hours they practice towards their next guitar of choice. that way you aren't handing them money directly and not risking any sort of big loss in your investment in case they quit prematurely or whatever. sure it sounds ridiculous to hand them more money on top of lessons but i suppose that'd be incentive enough for me.
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#25
Well, if you have the coin, I say continue the lessons for them, but thats it. Dont force them to practice. Dont sell the guitars. Keep them around.

Theres nothing wrong with a little enrichment that will be gained from the lessons. Maybe something will click and one or both will take it more seriously.

Years down the road if they dont continue, they only have themselves to blame as you gave them every opportunity.

Dont force them to practice though. That never goes over well.

And the "reward" system for practicing or learning songs is STUPID.

Do you play? If not, why dont you learn since you already have the guitars. That could be another way to get their interest up.

Good luck.
#26
Quote by Axe Murderer
And the "reward" system for practicing or learning songs is STUPID.


I have to say I would never reward my children for something they *should* be doing. If one of them goes beyond the call of duty and does something above what is expected, then I will reward that behavior.

Enabling (rewarding) mediocre behavior in a child, in my humble opinion, only creates a mediocre adult.

Again, just my .02

Chris
#27
my daughter is 13, and really wanted to take lessons, so we started, and after 2 months, she didn't practice much - until... something clicked, and her teacher gave her the intro to sweet home alabama. she practiced it for hours until she got it.

she is also stubborn, so if she says something is difficult, i just say "well, you might as well just quit", and she practices some more.

I also noticed that she has some friends that think its cool that she can play, and this motivates her to practice.

i say, keep paying for lessons, keep nagging them about practicing (maybe even make it manditory to practice for 15-30 minutes after school before any tv or video games), and eventually, they will catch the bug, and want it.

If they really want to quit, keep the guitars until they leave home, they may pick them up again at some time.

I am 40 and wish my parents had pushed me to learn an instrument when i was young, even if i didn't want to
Last edited by hedspase at Aug 21, 2008,
#28
you guys are underestimating the power of this incentive idea. if the guy gives them 5-10 bucks a week for x amount of practice hours per week, say at least 7 hours/week (which is more than what most people here do myself included) for the minimum, they will get 5-10 bucks a week towards their next guitar funds. he's not handing them money directly, instead when they get good, and they will since they have to put in 7 hours a week or whatever, they will know what they want in an instrument/amp and they will know they had something to fall back on.

better yet give them an progressive amount instead of a fixed amount. ie. start at 4 dollars a week for every successful week of practice and increase it 2 dollars a week up to 10 dollars a week. that way it takes a month for them to get up to 10 dollars a week. if they break a weeks worth of practice, start over at 4. studies show thats more effective anyway.

maybe not the guitar fund, but music fund or whatever.
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#29
Quote by about
you guys are underestimating the power of this incentive idea. if the guy gives them 5-10 bucks a week for x amount of practice hours per week, say at least 7 hours/week (which is more than what most people here do myself included) for the minimum, they will get 5-10 bucks a week towards their next guitar funds. he's not handing them money directly, instead when they get good, and they will since they have to put in 7 hours a week or whatever, they will know what they want in an instrument/amp and they will know they had something to fall back on.

better yet give them an progressive amount instead of a fixed amount. ie. start at 4 dollars a week for every successful week of practice and increase it 2 dollars a week up to 10 dollars a week. that way it takes a month for them to get up to 10 dollars a week. if they break a weeks worth of practice, start over at 4. studies show thats more effective anyway.

maybe not the guitar fund, but music fund or whatever.


But you're forgetting most adults have a budget. With two kids, insurance is probably going to cost a decent amount, and lessons can be expensive also. If they already kid an allowance then I don't see why they should get more money.
#30
Quote by about
you guys are underestimating the power of this incentive idea. if the guy gives them 5-10 bucks a week for x amount of practice hours per week, say at least 7 hours/week (which is more than what most people here do myself included) for the minimum, they will get 5-10 bucks a week towards their next guitar funds. he's not handing them money directly, instead when they get good, and they will since they have to put in 7 hours a week or whatever, they will know what they want in an instrument/amp and they will know they had something to fall back on.

better yet give them an progressive amount instead of a fixed amount. ie. start at 4 dollars a week for every successful week of practice and increase it 2 dollars a week up to 10 dollars a week. that way it takes a month for them to get up to 10 dollars a week. if they break a weeks worth of practice, start over at 4. studies show thats more effective anyway.

maybe not the guitar fund, but music fund or whatever.


Is learning/practicing the guitar their job? No, its for thier betterment and enrichment. Its to their benefit to learn, and they shouldnt have to be paid. Contrary to the popular belief, you cant put a price on EVERYTHING.

Continuing the lessons exposes them to culture. Whether or not they decide to do anything with it is on them, but again, at least the dad can say " I gave them the opportunity"

The 16 year old kid above had a pretty good way about handling the issue as well.

Im a father myself. I dont want to force my kids into anything, but I want to be able to give them every opportunity and let them decide their own path.
#31
Never force them to do anything they dont want to. Sit down with them and ask them if they want to continue and if they say yes then tell them they must practise an hour a day you can force them to do that :p
#32
I wouldn't pay them. They'll never learn to appreciate knowing music because they'll just associate it with being another chore that they can do to raise cash. Only students who hate to study get paid for grades and only kids who despise chores get paid for doing them, because they won't consider them a duty for being part of the household otherwise.

My parents tried that "paying me off to be good" thing when I was a kid. The only thing that got me to understand the importance of hard work was to see the payoff. Once your kids learn a cool solo or are able to jam out, then they'll get hooked. Just please don't turn guitar into a chore.
#33
Maybe I can help abit... Since I'm a teen myself.

When I was young, my mum was always getting me to do stuff, which I loved... Horse Lessons when I was really young, Keyboard Lessons, Guitar Lessons... My most recent was the Air Cadets. Now, it's great when you start off doing all the above, but after a while I got abit bored, and that was when I wanted to quit. But when you get to a certain age and REALLY want to get good at Guitar (as I did, after quitting lessons when I was younger) that's when you progress alot.

So, I would say if your son is interested, you should keep him going. So long as he's improving. Did you mention that he wants to focus more on football?
#34
keep the guitar let him quit... my parents let me quit and one day i just picked it up and started playing again.. and now im gonna get lessons again
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#35
When I started playing, at ... 13 I believe. I bought the guitar, all the equipment, lessons, and everything with the money I collected mowing lawns, snowblowing yard at like - 40 for hours straight, I played, because I loved to. My parents never had to push me, they would tell me to stop at 3 am, while i had started after school and still didn't have enough, 5 years later, It's still the same. I just have less time to play because of work, and the girlfriend being a priority in life. Even at night, I'd be listening to a song and a have the same fiery Passion for playing the instruments in the middle of the night, It kills me not to go ahead and play it since i know I'm gonna get killed for waking everyone up.
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#36
Try to make them go to lessons you've already paid.
Keep the guitars around.
I wouldn't advise on paying them to play, it would be a waste of money.
Maybe someday, one of them will seriously decide to learn to play and learn.