PRACTICE TIPS FOR PARENTS & GUARDIANS

Is your child reluctant to practise? Is there a way to make practising more fun, manageable, and, dare we say it, enjoyable?

Below are 10 tips for making practice fun!

  1. Don’t always call it practice! – Consider using the word “play” rather than “practise” children enjoy playing which is linked to fun.
  2. Get involved – Be part of your child’s practice routine and check their practice book each week to find out the tasks that have been set by their teacher. Ask questions about their lessons and learning
  3. Short and sweet – Practise for shorter periods of time and regularly, rather than for longer periods – it is better to practise ten times a week for five minutes than it is to practice once a week for 30 minutes.
  4. Keep a diary – Encourage your child to keep a practice journal, where they can write down their thoughts, discoveries, and questions and share with their teacher.
  5. Be their student – Children learn best when they teach someone else. Ask your child to teach you and try and get involved to turn practice time into quality family time.
  6. Practice space – Ensure the practice space is suitable, well lit and comfortable. Clear of clutter, outside noise and other people if applicable. Try and choose a time of day when your child is in the mood to play (not too early but not too late).
  7. Praise! – Show an interest, enthusiasm and appreciation for every effort, no matter how small, your child puts into practising or playing for you.
  8. Get the whole family involved – Encourage them to play to other members of the family at family events. Call it a concert and send out invitations even!
  9. Have everything ready – Make sure the music books, metronome, music stand, iPad etc (and the instrument, of course!) are all easily accessible. Ideally your child will even begin to pick up their instrument several times a day while just “passing by.”
  10. Share your love of music – Introduce your child to your favorite music. You could even jam along to tunes you both love and listen to your favorite songs together. Don’t be afraid to share your own love of music with your child! They might think it’s old-fashioned but they will like to see you enjoying your music.

A FEW ADDITIONAL TIPS

Find opportunities for your child to play their instruments with other musicians.

Music was never intended to be enjoyed in a vacuum. As beginners learn, they’ll find the support and encouragement of fellow musicians invaluable. Once they visit an ensemble, orchestra or jam session which plays on their level or just above, they’ll see a world of difference in their playing.

Tangible rewards

For the young musician, a calendar with a sticker reward chart shows a visual form of success. After a certain number of stickers the child receives some type of reward

Give the child a break!

The desire to improve needs to come from the child and can’t be forced. The best thing a parent can do to be supportive is to relax, support the child the best they can and let the private teacher set the expectations and ground rules. If you try to force them to practise, the extra stress will only discourage them.

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