Wednesday, 11 July 2012

The Right Instrument for Your Child by Douglas Boyd and Atarah Ben-Tovim

Lest you think that I've gone all Aquila magazine on you, you should be aware that C is currently in bed reading The Book of Bunny Suicides by Andy Riley, after I foolishly said "pick something from that shelf to read in bed if you're bored of all your books" - forgetting that "that shelf" was not exclusively filled with children's books.  We have agreed to him reading it, since he is not the kind of child to be upset by bunny deaths.  In fact, he seems to be finding it all pretty hilarious.  A is reading Great Lies to tell Small Kids by the same author, which is cheering her up after a rather fraught couple of days.  I would heartily recommend both books for anyone wanting a laugh, but I am unconvinced that they constitute perfect bedtime reading for the average primary school-aged child.  I am hoping A doesn't go to school tomorrow and inform her friends that "dead people are just being lazy " or that "it is bad luck not to name every ant that you see ... for your whole life".

Anyway, on to the book in question. A currently plays the piano (which she loves and regularly plays for fun as well as practice sessions) and the clarinet (which is much less loved).   I am looking to buy a new flute so that I can re-learn how to play, and so I was vaguely searching the superweb for the experiences of other adults in returning to music lessons.  Someone mentioned The Right Instrument for Your Child on a forum, and it sounded really interesting, so I downloaded it through the powers of said superweb to my kindle and read it yesterday evening (it is not a heavy tome).  It was very interesting, and certainly provided food for thought, but I was unconvinced by its basic premise.  Mainly, that an adult knows exactly what the personality of their child is like.  According to the method set out in the book for instrument choice, the clarinet should be absolutely perfect for A.  Apparently gregarious children are not natural piano players.  It would be hard to meet a more gregarious child than A, and yet she adores her piano, and seems to value the time spent at it. I think it's dangerous to assume that you can easily tell how introverted or extroverted your child really is, since you are not the one spending time in their head.

Anyway, it was quite an interesting read, and I now understand why I was terrible at the piano and violin (apparently you need good mental arithmetic skills) and a natural at the flute (must be a little dreamy and unhinged).  According to the system in the book a cornet would be a natural choice for C.  But of course, he wants to play the guitar, which requires "excellent manual dexterity".  Ah well.  There's always an exception to every rule...

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