Practicing: Tips for Parents
It is wonderful that you support your child’s desire to learn music and grow as a musician.
In my experience as a teacher, the best things you can do to help your child progress are to provide encouragement and structure. We will talk about the specifics as lessons begin. It helps to do the following:
- Consider implementing a reward system so that children not only get the intrinsic rewards of learning and performing beautiful music, but also something small (even intangible) that they can earn if they practice for the allotted time 5-6 days/week.
- Keep it short at first. For most young beginners, 15 minutes is enough. This might even motivate them to practice twice a day!
- Encourage your child to experiment with how they structure their practice session to see what motivates them to get their work done. Some children thrive by following the structure of warm-ups, then repertoire, then creative exercises. This gives them something fun to work towards at the end of each practice session. Others may do better if they spend time getting creative first and then settle into technique and songs they are studying. This can work as long as creative time doesn’t completely steer them away from continuing to progress with technique and repertoire. In fact, they may discover interesting new ways to play their exercises and songs in the process!
- You know what motivates your child – keep this in mind! Granted, it isn’t always easy to walk the fine line between being gently supportive and actively helping children create a discipline around practicing (just like homework!). In general, your child can get on board when you remind him or her of WHY they want to be playing, and help them understand that practicing is essential to meeting their own goals.
- Talk to me if you have any questions or concerns about how your child’s practicing is going. I can give you new strategies or help you to create more realistic practice goals for your child’s success.