You’re not alone. As music teachers, there’s one question we get asked by parents constantly: “How can I get my child to practice?”. Establishing healthy and productive practice is key to succeeding at music lessons and playing an instrument. A child who practices makes progress and enjoys their music lessons!
We’ve put together a few tips and suggestions for how to make practicing successful and more enjoyable.
SET A SCHEDULE
The single best way to get your child to practice is to set a weekly schedule. While all families are incredibly busy, setting a weekly practice schedule not only makes sure that homework gets done, but will also establish healthy practice habits for the future.
You should work with your teacher to set goals of how long and how many days to practice, but a great place to start is 15-minute practice sessions 3 times a week. More important than how much a student practices is how consistently a student practices. If Student #1 practiced 15 minutes three times over a week and Student #2 practiced 45 minutes the day before their lesson, Student #1 will almost always know and be able to perform their homework better.
Setting goals for each practice session is a great way to make practicing more engaging and focused. Playing an instrument is not the same as practicing, and if you’re not working with a goal in mind you’re probably not making progress.
Goals do not have to be difficult or complex, small goals make big progress. A few examples of simple daily goals:
- Learn the notes and rhythms in measures 1-8 in a new piece.
- Play a line 3 times before moving on to the next one.
- Play m. 1-4 with a metronome at a slow speed. Once it’s mastered, speed up the metronome a few clicks and play it until it’s easy. Repeat until it’s at tempo.
- Play the entire song with repeats and the D.C. al Fine.
Who doesn’t love a reward? Simple things like stickers, snacks, or even a bump in allowance, puts a fun spin on practicing and might give your child extra incentive. The reward can be tailored to each situation and can be for a goal finished, practice time achieved, or another milestone. Ice cream after playing at the student recitals is never a bad idea!
KEEP A PRACTICE LOG
We always recommend keeping a record of your child’s practice time. It’s a great way to encourage them to practice and helps you stay organized. All students have access through their online BSM Student Account to our built-in practice log. Just log in to your account and click on “Practice Log” on the left menu. You can add date, length, and notes of what you practiced. It’ll even let your teacher know and they will be very happy to see the hard work you've been doing!