Article about education for the gifted

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Registered: 05-18-2005
Article about education for the gifted
38
Tue, 09-25-2012 - 7:28am

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Registered: 04-09-2006
Sun, 09-30-2012 - 5:56pm

'We know too many kids in these schools that give up on the quirly little things they are passionate about so they can add their resume to the pile of "4.5 GPA, violin playing, president of the Key club." It's our quirky differences and how we develop them than make us interesting isn't it?'

Hmmm....I wish my students had heard that playing violin makes them academically desirable in an ordinary sort of way...I can't say how many I have lost (just as they were getting to the point where they were getting pretty competent) to "rigorous academics" in the 8th or 9tyh grade.  Math Olympiad, Odyssey of the Mind, and the like are the bane of my existence!  :smileywink: ("I can't practice on school nights.  I have to do do my homework and build my robot.") 

Deborah

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Registered: 05-13-1998
Sun, 09-30-2012 - 7:26pm

In our community, the pressure cooker schools push violin from an early age. These schools fill the uber-competitive junior symphony and the supposedly more community oriented civic youth orchestra. These schools dominate the honor orchestra every year too. They have parents who want the to achieve high in music but actively discourage them from being musicians for a living. No, around here, violin is considered an acceptable "extra-curricular" to pad out the college application.

But yes, I'm used that as an example of what seems widely considered an acceptable extra-curricular for a college transcript wheras something like being involved in the model railroad club from an early age and eventually volunteering hours at the model train museum is looked down upon in the elite high schools in our area.

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Registered: 04-09-2006
Sun, 09-30-2012 - 10:04pm

My response was a bit tongue in cheek as well...

No, (where I used to live) I don't think I had any students quit lessons because they weren't going to be concert violinists.  In fact, some students quit lessons even though their parents encouraged them to continue (in fact, one had just bought the kid a $1,400 violin package...the local violin shop had perfectly acceptable instruments for a lot less)...it really did seem that there wasn't much time left over for music.  My violin students were almost all involved in one or more academically oriented clubs, in the orchestra for the musical (or performing in the musical), learning to drive, going to sports events and dances, dual enrolled in college...and some had jobs. 

Deborah 

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Registered: 12-06-2010
Mon, 10-01-2012 - 12:16am
I have to agree with Deborah. I was surprised that violin is so huge where turtletime lives that it has become a standard instrument. Here my kids are almost freaks for being as interested as they are in their instruments. And I live in a country where the violin is iconic.
That said, after all this talk I wonder how much my family is being judged behind closed doors. My kids do BOTH violin AND Odyssey of the Mind. :smileywink:
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Registered: 05-13-1998
Mon, 10-01-2012 - 10:38am
It's my constant complaint... activities these days just require so much time. Every instructor wants to be the sole focus. You are either in a rec program for beginners going once a week or you are in a competitive, advanced program that wants you 5 days a week. It's probably just my area but it's why my DD didn't continue with violin. I mean, she does continue to play fiddle with her grandpa here and there for fun. She play holiday music with us at Christmas. She just can't possibly fit in any sort of orchestra because they all want her 3 days a week. We don't really support the "renaissance man" these days. But I'm a broken record....
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Registered: 05-13-1998
Mon, 10-01-2012 - 11:02am
Out of curiosity, for those where violin isn't a big instrument, what is your asian community like? In our area, the youth orchestra scene is dominated by asian children as are our more elite schools. We have some large bio-tech communities and it's no surprise that they are the only schools outside our local district and the arts magnet that have orchestras. I'll add these kids do all the academic league stuff too. I have no idea how they find the time!
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Registered: 12-06-2010
Mon, 10-01-2012 - 1:09pm
I live abroad so the ethnic and cultural setup are totally different from the US. There is a sizeable expat/diplomat community here. The prevailing culture is gigantic in classical music. Both of these factors probably factor in.
Here it's not so much that violin isn't big as that all instruments are. Kids play flute, sax, drums, clarinet, guitar, cello...
From the posts I read here, people sound frustrated with the focus on high achievement where they live. I don't think that'll be an issue for us. Maybe what pushes families so hard in the States is the huge cost factor involved in getting a college education. University is still free where we live, as long as your grades are good enough. My kids aren't focused on grabbing an Ivy League scholarship, though they do have friends who are.
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Registered: 05-13-1998
Mon, 10-01-2012 - 2:50pm
I totally agree. It's not high achievement in itself. My kids are very high achievers and so that would be rather hypocritical of me. No, it's manufactured high achievement in arenas that only exist to be a platform for youth high achievement that bother me. It's when kids are encouraged to collect positions and accolades outside where their own passions and interests lay just to have them.
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Registered: 12-06-2010
Mon, 10-01-2012 - 4:21pm
Maybe I'm just not seeing it because my kids are still too young. Or maybe it's because I'm in a community of expats where conformity is impossible because the "norm" is too diverse. But I just don't see it. The kids I know who are high achievers are, despite the occasional tiger parent, just stellar kids who have their own passions. I have met the occasional tiger parent who wants to force-feed a grade skip, and experienced the stereotypical "manufactured" violin kid in the Suzuki community. But they remain the exception to the rule, imo. I'm not ready to feel jaded just yet - up to now, the kids I see who research stem cells and build robots in their spare time do it because they love science and building robots and, thank God, not for any other reason.
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Registered: 05-13-1998
Mon, 10-01-2012 - 5:30pm
Haha, yes, it's much easier to be idealist when your in the beginning of any journey. There are still plenty of wonderful kids who reach high level of achievement because they are driven to do so by passion and joy. Those tend to be the ones you meet at the younger years when you have exceptional children yourself. It's not until high school when the realization that the local state university didn't take anyone under a 3.7 GPA and 97 percent of those accepted were 4.0 and higher that the freak out occurs in the general public. That's when you get kids doing community service that doesn't matter to them, joining clubs they don't like but can be racked up at lunch period and look good on paper and push for titles and merits. Not pretty.