How Do I Get My Kid To Practice?

This is always a challenge.  First of all, learning to read music can be very tricky, so give them a lot of praise for their efforts and don’t expect success overnight.  Think baby steps. Here are some quick suggestions.

Be sure you are within earshot when they practice and say “Good Job” or “Wow, that sounds tricky” or “That is getting much better”.

Setting time limits can be difficult.  Time flies when you are having fun but when you are not …  ugg!  Try, “practice that 3 times”. By the 3rd time it is usually much better.

Encourage kids to play the part that is tricky by itself and then feed it into the rest of the piece.

End with a fun song.  When I was a kid I would take my books and play everything I ever played from the start of my easiest book.  It made me see that I had actually made a lot of progress.

If your child is very active, let him practice in spurts.  Take a break from homework with a quick trip to the piano.

Help by checking to see that they are practicing the correct pieces.  Most teachers have a notebook.  I just put a tab on the current piece and write the lesson date it was assigned.

Be sure your child brings all her books to lessons.  Many times kids “forget” the book that is difficult.  Let your child know that it is OK to have tricky pieces and encourage her to tell the teacher if the piece was difficult or not practiced.  This is really important.  As a teacher, it can be difficult to distinguish between “didn’t practice” and “didn’t understand”.  You can have kids who just get it and do not practice and others who practice a ton and just can’t figure it out.  Communicate with your teacher.

And of course – sometimes you just have to make your kids practice.  There is nothing so inspirational as success and no way to achieve success unless you put in the time.  That’s a life lesson right there. Practice each day and make the effort.  Don’t just go thru the motions.

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