Practice makes perfect. Yes, it’s a fact and we all know it’s true. The question is how many students would really practice piano (or any musical instrument) everyday if we leave it up to them, especially when they could choose to do other fun activities, such watch TV, play computer games, or go to birthday parties?
Practicing regularly takes a lot of self-discipline and self-motivation. I can understand why it may be difficult for most of the young students. Based on my observation and personal experience, I’ve come up with some positive helpful tips. Here are my top tips for parents to help their child practice so they can enjoy music for a lifetime.
Make it a daily routine
Set a time each day for practice and follow it, e.g. after dinner from 7pm-7:30pm. Choose a time when your child can focus the best.
Know what your child needs to work on at home by communicating with their teacher regularly. If your child is 9 or younger, sit and practice with them everyday. If your child is 10 or older, check on them at the end of each practice and be an active listener.
Make it a game
For beginners, there are a lot of musical vocabulary and concept they need to memorize. Like learning a language, students learn better through repetition. Using mini games like flashcards, practice with them anywhere, anytime.
Reward behavior over results
Praise them for remembering to practice on their own. The behavior we seek is simply daily practice. Rewarding them for practicing will encourage more practice. If it’s all about results children are more likely to be discouraged.
Make your rules clear
If you don’t want your kids to watch TV before they finishes with their practice, be consistent with the rule. Post the rules near the piano so kids are clear about your expectations.
Find them some musical friends
kids are social beings and they want to be able to relate to their friends. If they have friends who also play music, they most likely will feel good about what they do through positive peer pressure.
Create a musical environment at home
If you don’t enjoy listening to Classical music, then don’t expect your child to enjoy it. Kids usually like to follow what their parents do, and they usually do best when their parents have shown appreciation. Ask your teacher for advice on music you should listen to at home or concerts you can attend.
Be a cheerleader
Children love to impress their parents. Show them you’re proud of their achievement, no matter how small it is.
You know what motivates your child the best. These are just some of the tips I’ve come up with based on years of experience and observation. Some of the tips may also apply to other things in your child’s life, such as school work. Feel free to tailor them to fit your need.
This article is written by Li-Ling Wang who is the director of Arete Music Academy. She began her musical studies at age 3.5, piano lessons at 4.5, and cello lessons at 8. She entered Juilliard Pre-college at age 16 and later on received her bachelor and master of music degrees from The Juilliard School. Her mission as the director of Areté Music Academy is to create a place where every child can learn to enjoy music for a lifetime. Visit www.AreteAcademy.org to learn more about their music programs.