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  1. #41
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    As a musician with a university degree who was considered very good and won some awards for it...I don't play anymore except for fun. My parents paid 8000 for my flute alone not to mention lessons and what have you. My brother was a competitive skater who cost them 30-50 thousand a year. He is no longer doing it. We didnt go on holidays, we didnt have new cars, we didntgo out for dinner. I fact the reason why my mom got a Job was to pay for our very expensive hobbies.... I too skated and wasn't very talents. I stopped at around 15 but as an adult I skate and pay for it myself. I highly doubt my mom even thought that much about the cost because she knew I enjoyed it. They gave up a lot for us and I'm eternally grateful to them for it...

  2. #42
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    Here's something I wrote a while ago (and already posted here somewhere) about "serious" skating and what it takes to be even a middle-of-the-pack competitor: Figure Skating, The Olympics, And Not Knowing Anything Anymore

    My kiddo at 14yo is an "older" Intermediate skater. She works hard, but would need to work harder and win the literal lottery to support a break through at this point.

    We live in an area where rink time is pretty cheap and abundant. Still, balancing school, music and the off ice necessary to continue to improve (and stay healthy) even at this level is tough. Yes, even the teens who are committed have bad days and whiny days and days where they need a push out of bed, but the majority of the time, they aren't fooling around or dragging their feet. The weeks where my kiddo did drag her feet, I stopped pushing and stopped driving her to the rink. It's just too expensive to pay for a level of skating she's not willing to commit to that week.

    All that said, I honestly think my kiddo would have a tougher time in school if she didn't skate. Waking up early to skate before school means we enforce a rule of getting to bed early, and that means being well-rested and wide-awake by the time she hits Algebra class at 8:00 AM. Spending time at the rink practicing has made her "unavailable" for a lot of the middle school girl goofiness that goes on, and keeping her active means that there is less time for the "hobby" of middle school drama. (Even the occasional rink drama never gets as bad because no matter what, the girls are there for the most part to work.) So all that in and of itself has been worth the cost for us.

    We're pulling back on competitions this year, but local competitions can be inexpensive (no travel and 6.0 singles competition is generally less expensive) and are good motivators. Even kids who are a little lazy will get a fire lit under them when they have to work toward a goal, i.e. competition deadline. It's a good way to learn to work under pressure, and the weeks before competition where practice is getting ramped up and coach isn't letting laziness slide is a perfect example of cause-and-effect on competition day: hard work is generally rewarded, and slacking shows up in the scores. Not always foolproof, but after a few competitions, there is an A-HA moment between "I really worked and it paid off" and "I didn't work hard and there's my name near the bottom." Generally, that's how it goes, and this is why I like any competitive sport for kids: the concrete example of "hard work will beat talent when talent doesn't work hard."

    As far as your daughter's Dreaming Big, I say let her. But also work with a coach who is going to set daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals. That way, if she's not working on the daily goals, she'll see pretty quickly that it's not going to add up to weekly goals, and good-bye monthly goals, etc. As for expensive costumes, we spend about $250 total on two costumes for our Intermediate skater. Our rule is "you earn your crystals." It's fun to play dress up, but for lower level competitions, I'd just buy a cheaper practice outfit and let my daughter glam it up herself. Or buy used on eBay or skate club flea markets. But this is the same with all her clothes: I'll pay $30-40 toward sneakers. If she wants something more, she can go pull weeds and walk dogs. I have three kids, and none has iPhones/iPads/computers/cable TV. They'll say they can't live without it, but if you really don't want the expense, I guarantee, they can live without it. I've seen it done. ;-)

    If my daughter wants to stop competing, I'll *strongly* suggest she at least test through in moves and free skate. On one hand, she's 14 and knows her own mind. On the other hand, she's 14 and can't see the big picture. She won't easily get this time back, and I'm going to err on the side of "I'm glad my mom made me do it" as far as finishing testing goes.
    Last edited by Jozet; 01-22-2013 at 11:59 AM.

  3. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jozet View Post
    If my daughter wants to stop competing, I'll *strongly* suggest she at least test through in moves and free skate. On one hand, she's 14 and knows her own mind. On the other hand, she's 14 and can't see the big picture. She won't easily get this time back, and I'm going to err on the side of "I'm glad my mom made me do it" as far as finishing testing goes.
    One of the coaches at my rink stopped competing after narrowly missing out on Nationals as a Junior about 10 years ago. She's working on her Senior moves now and mentioned she wished her parents pushed her to finish her tests several times. It's a lot easier to finish out your tests when you're young and maxing out the test level will come in handy if you want to go into coaching later on in life.

  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by ioana View Post
    One of the coaches at my rink stopped competing after narrowly missing out on Nationals as a Junior about 10 years ago. She's working on her Senior moves now and mentioned she wished her parents pushed her to finish her tests several times. It's a lot easier to finish out your tests when you're young and maxing out the test level will come in handy if you want to go into coaching later on in life.
    When I played piano, I never tested. People ask me what level I am and I don't know, but I'll play you some Rachmaninoff and show you.

    Though, I can definitely see how having passed the tests can come in handy for skating, if you want to coach to make some money. People like seeing that on your resume. My mother said putting me in piano was to give me something to do when I was old and retired. We never had aims for me to teach piano.

  5. #45

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    I didn't even know there is testing available for people who play musical instruments...learn something new every day.

  6. #46
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    yes, testing, festivals, competitions, camps, master classes...upgrading instruments...upgrading teachers.... it's all there with music.

  7. #47
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    In Canada, it's common for serious music students to do the Royal Conservatory of Music tests. In fact, passing a certain level of tests is equivalent to earning a high-school credit. The benefits of doing these tests are much the same as those for skating -- clearly defined and structured goals, credentials for teaching, etc.

  8. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGirlCanSkate View Post
    yes, testing, festivals, competitions, camps, master classes...upgrading instruments...upgrading teachers.... it's all there with music.
    I went through testing with cello and theory when I was a kid. The benefit of it was it gave you something to work towards. That is one reason I like about competitions and tests in skating. Competitions and tests are not always about winning or passing but the process of getting there.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie Willy View Post
    I went through testing with cello and theory when I was a kid. The benefit of it was it gave you something to work towards. That is one reason I like about competitions and tests in skating. Competitions and tests are not always about winning or passing but the process of getting there.
    I agree. The nice thing about the music tests my daughter can take, is she does not have to start at test 1. So as long as she has good progress we can skip them. Then when she is in high school she can take the later tests if she wants to prove her level/study music in college.

    My son did not take any music tests but was accepted as a music major based on his audition. Music is a little more flexible as a system than skating.

    My daughter enjoys taking the USFS tests though.

  10. #50

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    I always wish my parents had been able to afford piano lessons. but I don't know how good I would have been, I have rather stupid clumsy fingers. My extremely musical and extraordinarily talented friend patiently taught me how to tap out "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and "Mary Had A Little Lamb" one-handed on the piano. I still can't master the latter, which should tell you everything about my musical talent...

  11. #51
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    I did piano ('jazz' - all chords and play by ear, no notes) for a few years, and my teacher had the greatest musicality and very stumpy fingers. You wouldn't think piano player looking at his fingers

  12. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by maatTheViking View Post
    I did piano ('jazz' - all chords and play by ear, no notes) for a few years, and my teacher had the greatest musicality and very stumpy fingers. You wouldn't think piano player looking at his fingers
    My fingers are short and skinny. Because they are so thin, people immediately assume I play piano but my hands are TINY. Playing Rach for me is WORK.

    My college piano teacher (who performed professionally) had short and stumpy fingers too and could feel my pain. Damn you Rachmaninoff and your "I can play a 12th" hands.

  13. #53

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    Try being a short fingered cello player. One of the reasons I never took up the double bass.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

  14. #54
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    Try being a short fingered cello player.
    From now on whenever my kids complain about anything, this is going to be my response. I may even have a T-shirt made.

  15. #55

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jozet View Post
    From now on whenever my kids complain about anything, this is going to be my response. I may even have a T-shirt made.
    Boy I just realised that could have a number of meanings.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

  16. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie Willy View Post
    Boy I just realised that could have a number of meanings.
    Yeah. I'd place a dash between "short" and "fingered", for one thing. And leave out any commas.

  17. #57
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    Back to the original subject for a bit. . . LOL. . . Grinnell, did you say at some point that your daughter's friends' parents were mostly doctors, with money? It can be hard growing up surrounded by kids whose families have more money than yours, especially if you are a girl who wants to be popular and have what her friends have. I experienced that myself, and had a hard time accepting that I couldn't have things my friends had.

    Having said that, I agree with those who say she should be asked to choose just one or two extracurricular activities to focus on and then commit to a certain number of hours of practice per week. If she wants to do both piano and violin, well, that's her two activities right there, and skating is out. If she wants to do violin and skating, she'll need to commit to a certain number of hours of practice per week, including whatever off-ice exercises her coach wants her to do. And no synchro, just singles (since that builds the skills she would need for synchro and she can always do synchro later). Her level of commitment needs to equal your level of cost. If she wants to dress up and be the center of an audience's attention, she could do it much cheaper in the drama club or a dance class (they have recitals)!

  18. #58
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    I'm glad someone brought up the idea of at least completing the tests. Coaching is something skaters can do even if they start way too late to take on the qualifying competitions ladder, as long as they have credentials showing that they know the skills needing to be taught. People can teach basic skills group lessons at a lot of rinks without having learned advanced skills, and it's very personally rewarding to share one's love of skating with others.

    That said, maybe your daughter could think about skating in terms of eventually teaching it, rather than about becoming the center of the skating world.

  19. #59

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    I definitely agree with her picking one activity. my parents would have laughed at me if i wanted to do something as well as skating!

  20. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by mathgirl View Post
    In Canada, it's common for serious music students to do the Royal Conservatory of Music tests. In fact, passing a certain level of tests is equivalent to earning a high-school credit. The benefits of doing these tests are much the same as those for skating -- clearly defined and structured goals, credentials for teaching, etc.
    I once was a Royal Conservatory of Music student and passed upto my Level 3 guitar before leaving because I was tired of having my Mom pay for lessons that I was teaching the class after the teacher left the classroom for an all class coffee. I then bought all the guitar music books they had on hand, never went back and learned on my own. Presently, I have no idea at what level my guitar is at. I play guitar, flute and recorder. I dabble in violin and keyboard (play right hand melody with left hand 3 or 4 note guitar chords). Yesterday, I was paying on the keyboard by site reading "Sing Your Praise To The Lord" in 4 sharps fooling around after practice with my bandmate. Wish skating was as easy as music.

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