Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I'm having a son crisis and would appreciate any input/suggestions.

After three years of band, son has informed us he "doesn't want to do it" anymore after this year. I've talked to him about it, tried reason and logic and all that but I don't feel like I'm getting anywhere. My feeling is that if he leaves band, not only will he not be able to return, but that he will regret not sticking it out.

He loves music. He sees himself more as Angus Young than Herb Alpert, however. And I suspect this is a "cool" vs. "not cool" thing in part and I'm totally flummoxed as to how to address that. Son is very athletic (football, Tae kwon do, skating, snowboarding) and I think he's paranoid over being called a nerd or something. (BTW he's in 7th grade, puberty is imminent, etc...)

I don't want to make him continue something if he truly hates it, but I don't want to stand by and not do anything either. I realize in the end it will be his decision, and I've urged him to think long and hard about it.

Any ideas? Thoughts? Sympathies? Cookies?


spyscribbler said...

Uh-oh! You asked this, and you know I'm around?

Boys are pretty easy to motivate in music. As long as they feel like they're good at it, they'll continue. If they get many opportunities to show off, that helps, big-time! Every time he practices, be sure to send some compliment his way, about how good he sounds.

Something must be up, though, and it's usually not what they say it is, LOL.

You could also approach your music director, telling her/him that your son is making noises about quitting, and that you don't want him to quit. Ask the director if he/she has any ideas about how to inspire motivation at this age.

That way, you place all the responsibility on yourself without the teacher feeling criticized, and she/he will probably end up trying to give him some extra encouragement throughout the year. That may help.

Or maybe you can make some sort of deal, like if he quits band (but he can't quit until the end of the year, right?) then he has to take private lessons or choir or something musical.

Honey said...

I was thinking maybe he was burnt out, but if it's a cool vs. not cool thing, that's probably not the case. No kids yet, but I remember being one and wanting to quit basketball in junior high.

Sounds like he's really involved even without the music - that's a good thing! I hope he doesn't just cave in to peer pressure, since he has to live with his decisions, not his friends, but I hope you're able to find some balance for him too. Being a teenager/pre-teen sucks.

Good luck!!

Robyn said...

Maybe it's the instrument. If he switches to a "cooler" one he may be motivated to stay in. For example, drum corps always has a certain cool cache. Or guitar or bass; rock star instruments that impress the girls. Sometimes it's the music that leads a kid to snoozeville- if the school offers a jazz band see if he can switch over. Or community or church bands can give great experiences, too.

I'm a musician myself, and I can tell you that staying in music in any capacity will keep his skills up just as much as the traditional school band.