Whether you have a musical background or not, there are a few key ideas that can help your child practice at home.
Be aware of what your child needs to practice
When you know what your child is working on and what their homework is (so to speak), you’re better equipped to help. Ask the music teacher what your child needs to focus on this week: was a new topic or skill covered in lessons? Does your student need to review something from a few weeks ago? Its always a great idea to either sit in on the lesson to see how things are going or to at least drop in for the last couple minutes to check in.
2. Create an inviting practice space
You don’t have to have an entire room in your house dedicated as a music room--most of us don’t have that kind of square footage! What can work is if you have an inviting place for your child to practice their music. Nobody will feel like playing the piano if there’s no lamp nearby or if the bench is currently holding stacks of magazines. Tidy up the place where your family keeps instruments and outfit that space with plenty of light, pencils and erasers, and a music stand (if needed). Offer a cubby or storage bin for keeping practice books and sheet music, too. Most of all, be sure to keep this space free of distractions (like the Xbox or siblings) during practice time.
3. Show your child how to structure practice time.
“I don’t know what to practice!” is the battle cry of many children who either honestly can’t remember what they’re supposed to do at home or kids who just don’t want to practice. Combat this common complaint head-on by asking your music teacher for suggestions on how to structure a practice session. Typically, students will need to do a warm-up (which could be a song or some scales), review specific techniques or musical selections from the previous lesson, and work on something new. At the end of the practice session, encourage your child to play whatever they want whether that’s a favorite song they’ve played a hundred times or inventing something new just for the fun of it. It’s always best to end on a positive note!
Your direct involvement with practice sessions depends on your child’s age and maturity level, but always having a to-do list from your teacher will help keep the goals on track!
4. Practice regularly
In order to do anything well, you need to practice. Whether you aim for three practice sessions in between lessons or ask your child to provide you with “some dinner music” while you’re getting the meal ready, find a sense of regularity that can work with your family’s schedule. Remember to encourage the good things you hear coming out of the practice room!
5. Don’t make this a chore
Don’t withhold other “fun” activities like playing outside, bringing out the Legos, or sitting down with the Xbox “until you’ve practiced.” This makes the other activities look like they contain all of the fun when playing music is supposed to be a fun activity itself! If you treat other activities like rewards, your child will feel more angst towards music practice.
6. Practice Rewards
We have some great practice point systems and rewards at CCM to help motivate our students! Please talk to our teachers and our staff about these options. They have helped so many kids get motivated!
You want your child to enjoy their lessons, and a large part of that comes from finding the right teacher. If your child has fun at their lessons and feels like they’re making progress, they’ll be more motivated to practice at home. Our music school can match you with the right teacher for your child’s learning style. Not already a piano, guitar, violin, cello, piano or voice student at CCM? Contact us today to see how we can help your child have fun making music!