Practice makes perfect – or so the saying goes. But how do you help organize your child’s practice to keep them interested and motivated? After all, poorly structured practice could do more harm than good. Your child may not make real progress with the instrument and could get bored. There are ways that you can help your child make the most out of their practice time.
Children can’t structure a half-hour themselves. They need someone to coach them.” -Professor John Sloboda, Psychologist
- Practice should be a regular part of your child’s daily routine. Good times may be when they get home from school before homework or before school.
- Don’t push young children into long practice sessions – five or ten minutes will probably be enough
- It helps if you listen to them and encourage them as they practice, especially with younger children
- Don’t make practice a punishment, or your child may start to see it as a chore
- Some teachers recommend a practice record book to fill in, with comments on whether they have enjoyed a particular piece, or found a scale or exercise challenging. This encourages the pupil to be involved and reflect on their motivation and progress.
- Encourage your child to practice slowly and to take difficult passages apart to try and find out what the difficulty is. Things don’t get better by just playing the music over and over again with the same errors.
Help your child with a practice plan to include:
- Scales and the last song that they have practiced
- Any new material they have been assigned – they should try to master any challenging parts first
- Encourage them to end with a piece that they have finished and enjoy playing