This was the year of 1979 when a boy came home and found a box on the couch. Wondering what was inside he opened the box and jumped in the air with a glee. There was a brand new acoustic guitar with bright shiny steel strings on it. He grubbed the instrument and pretended he could play, spent a good 2 hours of what he called back then playing guitar. Let me introduce you to the 9-year-old boy who loved playing guitar so much he could practice all day alone. Me, Vadim Koltsov
I was born in a small Town in Eastern Europe and grew up in with a single mom’. My mom was a singer and traveled a lot. So, I spent a lot of time with my grandma yet missing my mom. I was a small tiny boy who was bullied, pushed around and called names and was growing painfully shy and closed not wanting to expose myself to my peers. The day my mom bought me my first guitar, my life changed forever. I liked it so much I could practice all day alone and soon I could play a good number of instrumental pieces and songs. I became a star among peers. I realized I could talk to people through my playing and they would listen to me, they would believe me and they would follow and trust me. I overcame my shyness and poor self-esteem through playing guitar and built a confidence of the person who could go out and speak. Asking questions wasn’t a problem for me anymore.
So why do I tell you this story? I know that a lot of you are asking yourself
“Is My Child Practicing Enough?”, “I’m Paying For Lessons So They Should Be Practicing An Hour A Day So That I Can Get Money’s Worth!
I realize that my view in this article will conflict with a lot of you, but I would ask that you look at my musical achievements before passing judgement on my take regarding students and practicing: 1998 Master Degree in Double Bass from Moscow Conservatory of Music 1994 Bachelor Degree in Double Bass and Pedagogy with distinction from the Tiraspol Musical Collage in Moldova · 1993 the winner 1st price of the International musical competition among Double Bassists in Moldova · 1990 Diploma in Guitar performance Tiraspol Conservatory of Music.
After teaching for over 15 years and working with over 500 students, I realize that every student is different. That’s the attitude we live by at the School and it’s part of the reason why we’re able to help so many students. As a result, some students will practice an hour a day or more, but many won’t and they should not be given up on.
What if my mother had given up on me? My mom enrolled me in guitar at the age of 10 and it turned my life around. I said to myself “That is what I want to do” ,and now with confidence I can state that music helped me in overcoming a lot of life obstacles and it still does.
The early years of guitar allowed me to have a head start in Double Bass. When I became serious this greatly benefited my progress. In other words: every lesson is an investment in your child’s musical future. Every recital is monumental achievement that they may not appreciate for years. It’s like vegetables. You might still not like to eat broccoli, but your parents don’t make cookies every day.
I know that a lot of your children refuse to practice, so I ask you to consider the following:
Don’t Measure Practice In Hours, Measure It In “What” They Will Play For You
Go For Quality Not Quantity.
If they will play one 60 second piece every week or so, to show you that they’re learning, you’re doing the right thing. Just because your child isn’t practicing today, doesn’t mean they will not practice someday. We have seen remarkable transformations with students who go from 0 to 60 because they get inspired by a concert or movie.
Pictured above is my son Sasha and he is 9 and loves playing guitar with me. I was asking him if he wants to perform. He was reluctant and hesitant to answer. Then he asked me “Do I have to?” I said “Well, you are encouraged but you don’t have to. Are you afraid of going on the stage?” He said “yes, I am too shy to perform in front of people.” This reminds me of somebody. Then he told me something that I will never forget. “Daddy I am still a little boy give me another year, when I become more mature I’ll be more confident then”. I know one day music will help him to overcome his shyness just like it did when I was his age. This is the formula to success, so when he is mature enough, he will have all the right early training in place. But no matter the level of your child’s practice, if they’re not breaking their instruments and running out of the lessons, I assure you, they’re doing ok!