Ask Sam letter


To Sam

Music pressure on school life

Hi Sam

I'm a boy who has to do an extra 8-10 hours of work a week, the work I do is music which I hate! However by doing music I get a scholarship so my parents say I can't quit and I don't want to move schools. By not quitting it means that I only get about 15mins of free time with my friends a day which is in place of my supper. This would be okay if I didn't have school on Saturday until lunch, after lunch I have sports fixtures until 6-8 in the evening. The last day is Sunday, I wake up to go and sing at 8:30 and I usually have to sing until 11:30 I then have lunch at twelve and have most of the afternoon off which is great, however this is the only day which I can really say that I enjoy.

By doing music it stresses me out and I get miserable but there's no one who understands me, every teacher thinks that because I'm on scholarship it's okay to be overloading me with work. I did however find one teacher who I thought understood me he said yes I understand what music scholars go through and really I think it's child abuse. However the next week he says to me that next year I have to do an extra ensemble in my only free time period (Sunday afternoon). I don't no what to do and the only person that I can think of to help me would be you

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Thanks for your letter. You’ve done really well to write in and explain what’s going on for you.

I can hear that you’re under a lot of pressure with your education and scholarship. This seems to be made worse by the fact that you don’t enjoy what you have to spend so much extra time doing. It seems like a lot of the pressure comes from your parents but you also put pressure on yourself as you want to stay at the school which means doing all this extra work. 

It sounds like you follow a really strict routine which sometimes even means making choices between eating and spending time with friends. From what you’ve said, I understand that you would feel able to accept the weekday routine if you didn’t have to do so much extra over the weekend. Now you’re expected to do more which would take away almost all of your free time.

You did well to talk to one of your teachers, and a lot of young people tell me they find this helpful. It sounds like he really heard and understood you but the reality is that he also has to add to your workload. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t talk to him again. It seems like it might also be useful to talk to your parents to see if there’s any small changes that could be made that might make a big difference for you.

Sometimes when young people find it difficult to talk to their parents they say that writing a letter can work. Writing a letter gives you a chance to work on it until you’re happy with it, explain everything without interruption and even leave it to be read when you’re not there to give them time to take it in. You would have to work out if this is something that would work for you or not.

If you can find the time it might help to talk things through with one of the counsellors at ChildLine. You can ring on 0800 1111 - calls are free and won’t show up on phone bills. You can also log-on for a 1-2-1 chat with a counsellor, or you can send emails through your account and a counsellor will reply within 24 hours – these stay with your account and you only see them when you log-in.

In the meantime, please take care,

Need help straight away?

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