Helping parents help students practice
As adults, we understand that progress and achievement are the results of effort. Students need to learn this as well, and it is, in fact, one of the most important principles to learn and will help them throughout life. Helping string students to practice on a regular basis at home will not only help them become better musicians, but better citizens as well.
Students need continued encouragement to practice, because practicing takes discipline and effort. Help your child establish a regular time and place for practicing that works in your family’s schedule. Monitor your child’s practice on a regular basis to ensure that it is getting done. Talk with your child about the need for practice, and set up mutually agreed upon goals and rewards. The goals should be clear and attainable. The rewards should be something valuable and enjoyable to your child.
Frequently ask your child to perform for you, demonstrating the skills, knowledge, and new music learned while practicing at home. Praise your child’s practice efforts regularly in front of family members and their peers. It will make them feel good about their efforts and about themselves. It will also encourage them to continue practicing and help deepen their relationship with you.
Point out to your child the progress he/she has made on his her instrument and how many more notes and pieces he/she can play compared to when he/she started, for example. Encourage your child to make up their own music and help your child to remember their past successes as motivators to work toward future successes.
Practicing takes effort, and encouraging students to practice regularly takes effort. However, practice is essential for learning and it helps develop students’ work habits that they can take with them throughout life. Please do not hesitate to contact me for additional suggestions.