Parents and kids are often quite excited when children start out on their music lessons. However, this initial excitement and drive will likely start fading over time, especially for the kids. If parents do not put enough effort to keep their kids motivated, kids will easily quit music lessons and then regret their decision later on.
Here is a collection of tips on motivating your child to practice music that will work even when their own motivation takes a nosedive:
1. Treat music differently
When kids think of music like any other subject, they find practice tedious. However, parents are in the best position to change this mindset.
“Your child shouldn’t see music as a forced discipline, like Math or Geography. This ultimately comes down to choosing the right instrument, which is going to be the one the child is excited about and wants to play on his or her own.
“For me, that was the guitar, which had me practicing (voluntarily) three to four hours a day at 11 years old. That couldn’t have happened with piano because piano wasn’t “my” instrument… Via TakeLessons
2. Give your child control
Most kids will not want to do something simply because it’s what they’ve been told to do. Allowing your child to determine his or her practice schedule is a simple yet effective way to go around this problem.
“Start with the end in mind. Basically, you want to get your child to make the decision that he or she needs to practice so that he or she can play the way he or she wants to play. After the decision is made, the parent can help the child research and figure out how often a good musician practices. The child then sets a schedule based on the reality that, to be good, one must practice.” Via TakeLessons
3. Make them aware of music’s benefits
Simply talking to your kids about the value of music and showing an appreciation for it yourself teaches them to appreciate it too.
Show your child that playing a musical instrument is a special privilege and an opportunity that isn’t necessarily available to everyone.
…This also includes helping your child develop a love for music. Take them to concerts or shows, play music at home, and help them discover what they like. Via TakeLessons
4. Be careful about the attitude you create towards practice (make it fun)
Although using a fun activity as a reward for music practice may sometimes work, it might also give your child the idea that practice is an obligation.
Why We Teach Piano suggests, “Don’t set an arbitrary amount of practice time, without specific goals, and then reward them with playtime or video games afterwards. This just reinforces the notion that playing piano is not fun and video games are fun.” Via TakeLessons
5. Challenge them
Without a clear goal in sight, your son or daughter may not be clear about the need for practice. Performances are one way to increase excitement and hold them accountable.
Practiceopedia author and practice expert, Philip J., has a completely different take: “Don’t ask your kids to ‘practice’ — they won’t know what to do. Instead, give them bite-sized, clear challenges to complete: (1) Work out a fingering for measures 24-35 (2) Gradually speed up section B to 85bpm. (3) Be able to play the left hand of the coda from memory.” Via TakeLessons
6. Go with what your kid loves – instrument and music
In addition to allowing them to choose their preferred instrument, parents should also allow their kids to choose music they enjoy to learn at every point.
Use this as a motivational strategy; allow your son or daughter to play at least one familiar song as part of their weekly routine. Via TakeLessons
7. Cheer them on and celebrate their achievements
Your child will likely reach a point where he or she feels frustrated or discourage, which is why you should always you child’s greatest fan and take a genuine interest in his or her musical journey.
While verbal praise is important, you may also want to create another way to celebrate achievements; familyshare recommends keeping a journal of your child’s accomplishments. When you put it in writing, you’re less likely to forget. If journaling isn’t your thing, you can keep a white board on the fridge, or make a chart that you can display in the house! Via TakeLessons
8. Create opportunities for musical engagement
”Let your child play around with different instruments. Listen to music and sing together. Your child will naturally want to imitate you, so a big motivation for children to practice is seeing their parents engage with music themselves.” Via TakeLessons
9. Get the right teacher
According to Music Central,”…finding the right teacher will make or break the whole experience. Don’t be afraid to try a new teacher if your child isn’t connecting. The best teachers are usually the ones who not only teach, but know how to be a good friend and mentor to your child.” Via TakeLessons
As a parent, you have your child’s best interests at heart. A lot of the times, this will mean getting them to do things they don’t want to do – like taking their vegetables or practicing their musical instruments. It may demand a lot of effort, but it definitely pays off in the end.
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I’ve met many people who regret quitting instrumental lessons, but none who regret sticking with it.
— Sue Hunt (@justsuehunt) December 29, 2014
Even official hashtag is reminding us to practice our vocals ???
Fine ifnt fine
— ➳ 김명수짱짱 (@fionitize) June 8, 2016
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Music parent and author Amy Nathan interviewed more than 150 music parents, 40 professional musicians, and many parents of professional musicians in an attempt to demystify the best way to raise a musician — second-chair trombone or future pro. Via Bay State Parent