View Full Version : Discurraged Student

11-09-2010, 03:56 AM
There is a 13 year old boy in my small town that I have sort of adopted and taken under my wing. He is a "big" kid, that fights with image issues. He isn't "obeise", but he is pudgy, and has low self esteam. He is just a big guy. I have helped him some on that, making him realize just because he is a big guy, doesn't make him un appealing to other kids. He is really a good kid. Another issue is, he has a crush on my 13 year old daughter, and she loves him allot, but as a brother. She isn't interested in him in anything other than a good friend, and it isn't because of his size, it's just the way it is. But, anyway, he's a good kid, and loves my Ukuleles . So anyway, I got off subject, sorry bout that. back on subject, I been letting him take my LU-21 home to practice with. He is a big fan of the late IZ, as I am myself. I been teaching him some stuff, and lately, he has been getting discuraged because he hasn't been progressing as he feels he should be. He's not doing too bad, and I keep telling him to hang in there, he will get it, just keep practicing. But, as many kids these days, they just like "instant" gratification, and unwilling to wait. It isn't due to him not wanting to put in the time, but, he gets discurraged very easily, and quickly. I think some of it is due to his low self esteam. But, anyway.. Not sure what else to say to him about that other than what I keep reinforcing from the start. hes a good kid, and I don't want to see him give up on himself, let alone the Uke.

11-09-2010, 04:10 AM
Good for you taking this young man under your wing. I raised three sons by myself and it would have meant a lot to them to have a man take an interest in them like you have this boy. I have no advice for you to keep him from getting discouraged.


11-09-2010, 04:13 AM
Yup, I raised three sons myself. My sons are all grown with families of their own now, except my youngest son whom is a Jr at MTU.

Harold O.
11-09-2010, 04:21 AM
I have two teenagers in my house. Pray for me.

As to your young friend, at 13 there are a host body chemicals surging and retreating at any given time. These are the ones that grow hair in odd places, make you taller, and deepen your voice. They also make you act strange when you don't want to. Explain to him that this is similar to what drugs are like. There are some benefits, but you often can lose control of yourself. Let him know that everyone, yourself included, goes through this stage. Everyone, yourself included, thought this was only happening to them. And everyone, yourself included, eventually grew past this stage in life.

He can probably remember being 7 and thinking 13 was old. Does he know more now than he did back then? How did that happen? Then tell him that he will one day be 20 years old. It sounds like a long way away, but it is on his calendar. He will know more then than he does now. From there, you can explain that day to day progress is not what makes us successful. It is the longer term.

Learning an instrument is work. But work is just something that needs to be done. It isn't always hard. Tying your shoes is work. But it is not hard. Let him know that you've never met anyone who later in life said "I sure wish I never learned to play that instrument." But there a bunch of people who say " I sure wish I had taken the time to learn how to play music." There are a lot of people who wish they had started playing when they were 13.

The structure, timing, and teamwork (either as a band or teacher/student) of music provides valuable lessons for any person. The discipline required to work through the lessons, practice, and sometimes pain are what make it worthwhile and build character. Any given day will be better than any given day. But when he looks back a couple of months, he will see progress. He is a people, he won't be able to help it.

Ask him if he sometimes wishes people would cut him some slack. Then have him ask the guy in the mirror to do it too.

11-09-2010, 04:32 AM
Plus, you can play up the girl-attracting qualities of the uke. :)

mm stan
11-09-2010, 04:42 AM
Aloha Bruddah Tudorp,
Nice story man.....good to hear you're helping this young man out....You've got a big heart for sure....As for ukulele playing, the boy lacks motivation and inspiration...
does he know how to use computers and know about You-Tube???? You know who would motivate him more on the uke????Your daughter, if she took up the uke
you can bet he would be more motivated to play and learn more....for sure...no doubt about that one..he needs a playing buddy....to motivate him..what do you
think??? You know learning the uke will teach him displine and success... it probally would build self esteem and confidence as he gets better......Your Friend, MM Stan..

11-09-2010, 04:44 AM
Funny you say that, because the other day, he was over here with the LU-21, tinkering around, and my daughter was here with us cranking out Crazy Train (Ozzy Osborne) on her strat, lol.. It was funny, because the boy has quite the sense of humor, he holds up the Uke, motions over to my daughter in the middle of a power riff, and asks me, "How the hell can I make Crazy Train on the uke cooler than that?". He had a smile on his face, and was kidding, but it was just a funny moment with a kid with a sense of humor. This big kid holding a little Uke, and this little bitty gal Rockin Crazy Train on her Strat.. Just funny.. lol..

11-09-2010, 04:49 AM
And yup, I told him to look up stuff on YouTube while he was home practicing. there are allot of good tutorials on idividual songs there.

Ukulele JJ
11-09-2010, 12:38 PM
He needs to record himself playing, or post his own YouTube vids, or at the very least keep a journal of his uke playing (what he's working on, where he's struggling, etc.) He should do this ASAP, even if he never lets anyone else hear/read/see it.

Why? Well, we tend to not notice our progress when it's gradual. We only remember the "leaps". When you're feeling frustrated about not improving fast enough, it's helpful to go back over some sort of record of where you used to be. You then realize how far you've actually progressed since then.

If he's been using some sort of structured lesson (like a "teach yourself ukulele" book), then have him go back over some of the early stuff. I do this sometimes with my accordion when I get bummed about my "slow progress". It's amusing to just plow through things that I remember as being really hard once!

In any case, some things just take time to learn. As I'm fond of saying, tugging at a plant doesn't make it grow any faster. It takes as long as it takes, and there's not much you can do about it but give it sunshine and water.

And to quote Tony "P90X" Horton, of all people:

Eliminate the mindset of "I can't".

Say "I presently struggle with..."


11-10-2010, 04:46 AM
Ask him if sometimes wishes people would cut him some slack. Then have him ask the guy in the mirror to do it too.Great advice for anyone. If you aren't kind to yourself it makes it harder for others to be kind to you.