Tiny Troubles

I'm so frustrated.

Lil' Miss is in a Suzuki program. They use tiny instruments to teach tiny children how to make beautiful music. We had a rough first year - with Lil' Miss being disagreeable in her private lessons, uncooperative in her group lessons, and downright defiant in our practices at home. We did not want to throw in the towel, thus teaching her to quit, but by the end of the year we had definitely decided that we would NOT register for another year of torture.

Well.... over the summer, her private teacher assured us that Lil' Miss was on the brink of excellence. She apparently has a "natural talent" that is going to "take off at the speed of light" once she gets the attitude stuff under control. I certainly could not see this talent, but then again, I never played the violin. Clarinet from grade school through high school - but never touched a string instrument in my life.

We had a real heart to heart with Lil' Miss - as much as one can have with a five year old. She chose to continue and changed her behavior to show that she was serious. One of her little group classmates even said, "Last year she didn't do anything and now she's doing everything!" He received quite the formidable glare from Lil' Miss.

Today, however, she did not want to practice. She really doesn't want to any day, but will usually comply and then feel good about it in the end. Today she dug her heels in and refused. At every request there was a whine, groan or complaint. "Please fix your bow position." "Whhhhyyyyyy????" "Get your first finger on the A string please." "It iiiiissssss!" "How is your pinky supposed to be on your bow?" "I dooon't knooooow." Most certainly not like it is in the shot I took of her above.

After half an hour of this, I gave up. Asked her to put everything away and I left the room to wash dishes. She happily skippped away, read through a bag of library books and then began playing with her baby sister. I wasn't really mad before, but now I am fuming. She thinks she can get away with not practicing and just go play? But what am I supposed to do? Trudge through the practice while she whines and draws it out for over an hour? Should I forget the whole thing and try tomorrow? Should I save my sanity and just quit altogether?

I finally calmed down, called her back in, and got her to finish the practice. It ended on a good note...but seriously, did it have to be so difficult? I pray daily for guidance with the kids, but maybe I need to begin praying before each practice. Maybe we should start each practice out by praying together! That would not only teach her a valuable lesson about prayer, but also hopefully put us in the right spirit to get through it successfully. took me having to write this long post to figure that out!


  1. Awh, I pray things get better for you and Lil Miss!

    I must say, that is quite impressive that your 5 year old is playing the violin, even if it is not by her choice! (smile)

    I used to play the clarinet, violin, and piano. One day...someday, I hope to attempt to pick the violin back up. I just think it is such a beautiful instrument.

  2. My daughter is also taking violin lessons and many days she reluctantly practices and some days it's so painful to listen to. But then there are days where she plays so beautifully and it truly is music to our ears.

    I'd suggest shortening your daughter's practice time to 15 minutes since she is so young and when she becomes more proficient she'll eventually want to practice longer of her own accord.


  3. I know that it can get frustrating at times to get your little one to practice, but I think that you have hit onto something with "praying before practice". Believe me, prayer works! Not only will it give her confidence, but it will give you calmness.
    A funny little story about me. When I was young I used to play the violin and I was supposed to practice every day. One day I just was not going to and I plopped myself down into a chair and threw my legs over the side and my mother said to me, "Well, I'll just take the violin back or I'll sell it since you aren't going to practice." Don't you know I flew out of that chair and ran upstairs to start practicing! She never had to threaten me again. (But I was a little older than your little one, so this probably will not work on her).