It is the one thing that can drive parents and music teachers crazy, how do we get children to practice and stay motivated?
I am not sure about you, but my kid will do anything under the sun to avoid it, but I have found a few ideas that have helped.Here are some tips and tricks to keep them interested which I found on various sites and also added a few of my own after 15 years of teaching piano!
1: Set the times and days each week and write it somewhere. This may be Monday 8:00am before school, Wednesday 4:30 after school and Friday 8:00am before school. Having it written down and a timer means you don’t have to stand there and argue the point, it’s on the schedule and it’s more likely to get done, add a sticker incentive in too, that always helps or use the practice chart I give all the students.
2: Sit with your child for at least one of the days. It shows you are interested enough to listen for 10 mins and look through the book with them. Suzuki method the parents go to every lesson and take notes to follow up with at home! This is a more relaxed version, but just as important. You are saying to your child “I like to hear you play and I will help you when you are stuck”
3: Even if you can’t play the piano, you can help. All the books have great hints and drawings as guides and if your child wants to, they can teach you how to play it! Exam books are not as user friendly, so again, ask your child to teach you. They will love it.
4: Mini concerts. Gather the family, make a big deal over it, lots of encouragement and cheer loudly. Invite a few extras or different people each time and don’t forget the family pets, they are the best supporters!
5: Avoid last minute cramming the night before, it won’t stick and the next day at the lesson it will all fall apart! I promise you…..
6: Give them an incentive and reason to practice, besides sounding awesome of course! A day out, a trip somewhere, special after school treat, whatever works in your family.
7: If after all this it is still not happening, time for a reality check… Maybe they are not interested, maybe they have something on after school everyday and just can’t fit in the amount of practice required, maybe it’s something you wish you had done when you were their age but it’s not their jam. And all of the above is ok, but it’s good to have that conversation as a family and be honest, cause really it is costing you money!
Remember you can always drop me a line and we can chat about some more ideas. The main thing, make it fun or the sloths will take over!!!