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Music is Not for Insects

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Practicing tips for parents and students: part 1

Photo Source: linlin (back now)

I want to call your attention to a great article I found on the internet about kids and practice. Here is the link:
Mom, I don't WANT to practice!

I strongly encourage you to read it, but I will highlight some of the key points below:

“...When a child starts to learn an instrument, the experience is often treated as the new adventure it is; but after the first few weeks or months, the novelty can wear off and the child becomes distracted by other attention-grabbers like TV shows, playing with friends, and other things that don’t require sitting for 20-30 minutes for concentrated practice.”

Hints to Survive Practicing

1) Try breaking up the practice time into two segments each day. Have your child practice for 10 minutes before school and 10 minutes after dinner.

2) Come up with an incentive such as a quarter in a jar every time they practice. At the end of two weeks, let them spend their money at a store or to treat themselves to a fast food goodie.

3) Sit with your child during practic
e time. Not only is this a great time to learn with them, but it keeps them on track.

4) Have your child give you a concert at least once a month. Nothing builds up a child's confidence and makes him or her feel like an accomplished musician like having Mom and Dad or Grandma and Grandpa there as an audience. Plan the “concert” ahead of time and tell your child that they need to practice their lesson and then pick out four of their favorite songs to play for their big day.

5) Balance out practice time with a fun activity. Practicing DOES NOT have to be just playing your songs 3-5 times each. Integrate music flash cards, a book from the library about music, listen to some sort of classical or jazz music with your child and talk about the instruments you hear.

6) Let your child be the teacher for 10 minutes of practice time. Have them give YOU a mini lesson. You’d be surprised what you can learn from that little one!

7) DO NOT make practice time a yelling match or struggle of wills. There ARE times when kids just need a break from the daily routine, but let them know that that break is for one day only and the next day they will have to add some time on to makeup for their missed practice the day before.

8) Teaching them commitment and following through: Developing a consistent routine for practicing teaches your child that once they start something, they need to see it through even if it’s just for a given amount of time.

The BEST piece of advice I can give all parents is to stick with it. Be there to reinforce good practice habits. As teachers, we can only do so much reinforcing. It’s best to work as a team to help your child develop their talents and gifts. Praise them often even when they hit a few clinker notes.