I HATE Playing Violin!!!
Children Speak in Code - Learn How to Interpret
When a child declares they hate the violin (or practicing, or you for that matter) I caution you to interpret the meaning of such strong statements with great wisdom and care.
Children experience all the same emotions as adults, and this includes frustration, shame and disappointment.
Children speak in code because they do not yet have the maturity to word their feelings for the full explanation of their emotions to be articulated.
I knew a little girl who started playing the violin at the age of 4. She was full fire and like many violinists tended to be an intense child. She would frequently verbalize strong statements in the home practice sessions saying things such as:
This little girl had a wise mother who knew these statements were code with a meaning different from the words spoken. What this little girl really meant was:
"I hate playing VIOLIN!!!" = I really just hate this terrible feeling of defeat and inadequacy inside of me.
Your child may also be saying to you:
"Please do not give up on me, I need your support and your years of wisdom to guide me through this challenge in a healthy way. I am counting on you to shine a light to a higher path for the challenge at hand. My strong reaction right now even illustrates my need for a healthy emotional expression in life and music is a perfect fit for me and this necessary release. Please do not quit before I do. Please look 20 years into the future and help me through this challenge. I am counting on you."
"I hate YOU!!!" = "I hate disappointing you and feeling like a failure in front of you.
"I hate PRACTICING!!!" = "I hate feeling left out and frankly it does not feel fair.
There is more to this story and a happy ending. Somewhere around the age of 12 or 13 music became an incredibly compelling experience for this little girl and there was a shift with her relationship to practicing. She was starting to connect the dots now how practicing was a path to making her dreams come true. All of a sudden there were String Quartets to play in at summer institutes and sophisticated Concertos by J.S. Bach and A. Vivaldi. It was indeed exciting to be a musician and she finally took full ownership of home practicing so her mother no longer needed to come to lessons or help with home practice.
This girl became so focused and fulfilled with her music that she went onto major in violin performance in her undergraduate. She continued to fall in love with music and even pursued a graduate degree in violin performance with an emphasis in Suzuki Pedagogy. She has been teaching for 15 years now and is extremely grateful that her mother was so devoted to a higher vision when times got emotionally rough growing up.
This little girl with such a strong willed constitution presented great challenges to her mother while growing up but her mother continued to believe in the higher purpose of music education and was willing to weather the storm of these verbal outburts and occasions such as the little girl's violin becoming a projectile object (that is a nice way to say the violin was thrown across the room.)
The moral of the story is to please interpret strong statements towards playing the violin and practicing with extreme caution.
I know that little girl who used to shout out in home practice very well because that little girl was me. Thank you mom for believing in me at such a young age and for staying focused on the higher purpose of this work. I am so grateful for your endearing support all of these years.
11/8/2014 01:25:21 pm
A very good read Heather. Thank you!
1/8/2016 05:07:58 pm
i don't think that the statement "I hate you" means "I hate disappointing you" its more of "I hate you because you make me practice " Trust me, I'm a child.
Child of 0-18
8/30/2019 06:08:49 am
I am a child too and I agree with this 100%. Sometimes when I used to say I hate the violin, I ACTUALLY hate practising and learning the violin. Don't attack me because this is my opinion, please, but ever since I was little, I was pushed into doing violin with my siblings. When they quit, I've lost interest and started feeling all alone since I was the oldest and I chose to continue to impress my mom or something that I could do so many other classes and maintain violin in just a week's time. Even though I play a lot more intruments, I still hated practicing the violin. I don't know why; maybe it was the sound of whatever. Even though I kept going for 3/4 years, I felt that it was a waste of time because of my schedule. Monday I would have swimming, Tuesday art class and right after karate, and so on for the entire week. I've tried to give in most of my time practicing, but none came from it. I hated myself when I couldn't perform the right notes, intonations, and skills. When I finally came to my senses after so many years, I asked to quit. Quitting made me so relieved, because I wouldn't have to be nervous for every class anymore for not practicing. I also quit because I've even gone through it for many years, and I still don't magically like it. But something else to note, I quit not because so I could be lazy and get away with an extracurricular, but I quit so I could do and learn something I love, sports. I've always loved to play sports, so my extra time on my schedule was changed and dedicated to volleyball. I don't regret a thing. So, I get all of your opinions. Continue giving your child lessons, but after a few year and if they still keep complain, change it into something they love to do. If it turns out they love violin, then I'm absolutely happy for you and them. Do what you love and it's the only way to improve. Thank you for listening to my ted talk :)
9/2/2019 07:32:14 am
Thank you so much for adding some balance to this concept. I appreciate your story and ideas! Best wishes, Heather
9/29/2016 02:54:19 pm
I started practising when I was 5, and since my mom beat me every time I got wrong, I quit it, and I crashed my first violin (literally!)
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Hi! It's me, Heather. I absolutely love working on the Music for Young Violinists project and all the many facets: blogging, website, music, teaching materials, freebies, videos, newsletter and giveaway contests. The best part is connecting with you so feel free to drop me a line. You can learn more about me on the "ABOUT" page. Thanks!