Most parents know the value of practice. How can a parent – musically inclined or not help their child to develop good practice habits?
Children need parental help to establish a productive practice routine at least until they are 11 years old. Help them to read their assignments. Help them to keep their routine. Encourage them to keep trying – even when the going is tough. They can overcome many difficulties when they learn to keep a positive attitude,
Decide with your child when is the best time to practice. Give them two or three options to choose from. They will enjoy being an active participant in choosing their routine. These chosen practice schedules should be kept every day such as any doctor or dentist appointment. Consistent daily practice is the key to good progress. Cramming for an hour the night before the lesson is much less effective than 10 minutes every day. And don’t forget to practice on the lesson day! Instructions are still fresh in their mind and will be better applied to their week’s work.
Give a visual feedback chart to record their practice. Many charts are available to download. Students may fill in with times or stickers. You may even have a “thermometer” chart that could be coloured for each practice session. Children may also be encouraged if rewards are offered after a certain amount of practice is achieved. Rewards may be as simple as choosing a special dessert or as extravagant as choosing where to go for a special occasion.
Enable a successful practice session. Make sure that proper lighting is available. Do they have a distraction free place to practice? Are siblings cooperative in allowing them to practice at their designated time? Do they have all the necessary tools? Do they need a music stand to hold their books? Does their keyboard need new batteries or a power cord? Is their chair/stool the correct height? Is their instrument tuned? Does their instrument need to be tuned? Great guitar tuning Apps are available for free for most electronic devices. I’ve also found that tuners that clamp to the guitar head are easily handled and very accurate.
Invest in a quality instrument to help your child experience beautiful sounds. There are many great and affordable options that will give your child the tools that they need to truly experience music lessons. An investment in a good instrument ensures that you are receiving the most benefits in your child’s musical education.
Record them. This can be done with both photos and videos. It will enable both parent and child to see progress over time and to create a wonderful keepsake.
Be involved! Ask questions about their lesson. What is their favorite piece? Here is a great resource of good questions along with blank cards to create your own. Question Cards Show them that you care about their musical abilities. Brag about them to grandparents and friends. Encouragement and taking an active part in their lessons will develop their confidence and desire to continue to develop their musical skills.
Not all children will become professional musicians, but all children may benefit from music study by developing life long skills and the enjoyment of music!