Helping Your Child Practice at Home
One of the most common discussions I have with parents whose kids practice regularly with us at Scottsdale Music Academy is the difficulty they face trying to get their child to practice at home. “It’s not a problem once we bring them here to you for lessons, but it’s sooo hard to get them to practice at home,” they say.
It’s understandable that a middle-schooler sees music practice more as a chore, rather than a joy, and would rather run around outside with friends or play video games. But with a little insistence, a good amount of patience, and some good old fashioned parenting tricks, you can get your kid to make guitar or piano lessons a regular habit at home. Here’s how!
- Dedicate a regular space for the practice: For most families with a couple of kids in a 3-bdrm or 4 bdrm house, finding a dedicated space might be somewhat difficult. The living room might work for piano lessons, but drumming and guitar practice might have to be done in the garage. So parents should try to re-organize the home to find a good place where young Johnny or Janey can focus on his or her instrument for at least an hour.
- Show excitement over the home lessons: If getting your child to practice is a bother and a chore for you as a parent, imagine how that attitude will be reflected to your practicing child? It’s important to be involved in the discipline of practice with your child.
- Help develop the child’s ear: If your child is practicing beginning acoustic guitar, find some recordings and videos to help your child develop an ear for this style of music. After all, not every kid knows about acoustic guitar music, especially if Dad is still listening to his ‘80s hair metal music around the house. Help cultivate a good ear of the style of music your child is practicing, and that will translate into more home practice interest.
- Keep practice sessions at a reasonable length: When your child first begins home practicing, he or she may not have enough developed concentration to go longer than 20 minute at a time. So keep practices short at first. You’ll be amazed as your child starts with 20 minute practices at first, and eventually builds up to 60 minutes of enthusiastic engaged piano or guitar lessons at a time.
- Offer a reward: Ok, ok, this might be the oldest parenting trick in the book, but trust me, it still works! If you have to cajole or coerce your kid into a practice session at home, try to make it worth his or her while. Offer a night out at the movies, a lunch at their favorite fast food joint, or an outdoor activity that you both enjoy. With a little reward in exchange for practice and your approval, your child will unknowingly start to get better on guitar, piano or drums and have fun along the way!
Motivating your kids to practice at home is an important step in learning to enjoy creating music. At our studio, we provide the guitar lessons in Scottsdale to help your son or daughter get better on their instrument. Once they leave our studio, it’s up to you to add encouragement and positivity to their at-home practices. We hope these tips above are valuable to you as your child moves from beginner to intermediate and beyond!