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Dear Dylan #001
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Dear Dylan #001
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User image Dear Dylan #001
Posted by Dylan Christopher, 2 years ago
Tags: dear, dylan, agony, uncle

Dear Dylan #001

"Dear Dylan,

Do you have any blog posts about teenagers and practise?

I have been looking at google for examples, but, to cut a long story short, my child has had heavy rehearsals and a concert last week and now they are not practising.

Now its half term and their lesson is looming and they are not really putting much work in.  Later today their teacher is coming, and I am now doing the worried parent thing.

This holiday we gave into them not doing a chambre music course and feel bad regarding motivation seeing as the instrument stays in its case bar practising for an audition.

It has been tough adjusting to the new routine with increased school work at the start of the autumn term.

No rush, but any thoughts would help. 



*             *             *

Dear Anonymous, 

Thank you for getting in touch; motivation is a tough one for even the most focused of an individual, not considering a teenager in 2017.

It sounds as though they have had a busy week term.  Once we get older, we forget to appreciate how much time passes from one year to the next and how much things can change in this small period.  Changing school, or school year-group is a major upheaval in circumstance for a child.

Forgive the expression, but the carrot is always better than the stick. Motivation is something that is fostered from within and cannot be placed into an individual. 

From what you have expressed this individual could be considered highly-motivated, given their recent activities, which I would also assess not to be the problem.  I think they might be a little tired and in need of rest and recuperation.

I often say to my students that I do not expect them to practice over holiday breaks.  This is based on the philosophy that if after one week you forget everything you learned, you never truly knew it in the first place.

Though sometimes I fail to resist the thrall of the piano during breaks and end up ‘playing’, this is purely for fun, and not focused practice.

There is a famous saying, “absence makes the heart grow fonder”. By not rehearsing for one week or so, we can help to reinforce parts of our long-term, hard-learned memory. 

Let them have time off, once regular activity resumes, I am almost certain that the ‘normal’ routine will return also.

Don't worry, they will be fine. 

All good wishes,



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Dylan completed his music training with honours at Colchester Institute, where he studied piano with Australian pianist Lesley Young, and composition with British composer Dr Mark Bellis. While studying, in 2009, Dylan won Colchester Institute’s Canon Jack Award for Solo Piano adjudicated by Andrew Ball.  A composer, promoter, and advocate of contemporary classical music, Dylan joined the membership of Colchester New Music in 2014.


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