Tips for Parents to Help their Children have more Effective Practice Habits

How do you get your child to really buckle down and pay attention during music lessons? How do you help them to have productive practice sessions at home?


When your child first comes home with a new instrument, everything seems exciting. But sometimes, when the excitement wears off, parents find it hard to really understand how to help their young students succeed.


Here are some simple guidelines to helping establish a great practice routine that your child will love.


Untether Goals from Time


One of the easiest ways to kill musical inspiration is to mandate a given time frame for music lessons, and make all of the goals simply chronological.


It’s tempting after a long workday to simply tell a student to go upstairs and play music for an hour, but that’s really not conducive to the kinds of exploration and motivation that you want over the long-term. Instead of setting time goals, set task goals – ask your student what he or she is learning and inspire them to achieve more.


Keep it Interactive


Along with the above, parents who are more engaged in what their children have learned often raise more successful musicians.


That means coming in and sitting with the student as he or she learns. It means talking over the music theory behind the practice sessions. Again, giving it context makes the practice less of a chore or task, and turns it into more of a creative initiative.


Give Students Some Control


It’s also very important for many students to have at least a certain amount of control and autonomy.


Forcing someone to learn something is really not the way to go. Instead, get students involved in setting up their own routines, for instance, the length of sessions and what they will study. Your child may be drawn to his or her own instrument or way of playing – and when you try to change their natural inspiration, you’re often setting yourself up for a battle.


Provide Charts and Resources


It’s also important to have resources on hand to help students to get over mental blocks and other challenges. What about when the student gets stuck? You may not always be able to come in and provide hands-on advice. Having the right charts and resources available helps the student to do more self-learning and get further with practice over the long run.


Balance Tasks


Remember that as your student is learning, he or she wants to apply all of that great music theory. This is another major tip for keeping someone interested and successful at playing a musical instrument.


Try to balance learning with use – for example, 15 minutes of scales and 15 minutes of improvisation. It’s when musicians put their scientific music theory into practice that they light up all those areas of the brain that we associate with creativity and memory enhancement and so much more. By balancing tasks and switching concentration at short-term intervals such as 5, 10 or 15 minutes, you’re making your child more of an agile learner and contributing to a much better long-term regimen for success.


Talk to Rochester Conservatory about music plans that make sense for your family.

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