Many children have a hard time sitting still for very long if not engaged in something. This is true even with learning something new, like how to play an instrument.
Parents and teachers face the dilemma with courage and hope that after a little time (and hopefully some improvement), the child will take to learning the instrument and become more dedicated to the process of learning more. Practice makes betterment in this realm, but getting kids to practice more when learning an instrument is a daunting challenge. Here are some helpful tips to make it easier on you.
First, see the big picture in what you are doing with the child through practicing as something that will carry into other areas of their life. Even if you can spend a little time illustrating how practicing their instrument can help them be better at other things, you plant that seed that will help them want to spend more time learning and less time “playing around.”
Set a specific goal for each practice session. This is important to help the child feel as though what they are doing in the daily process of learning has concrete benefits and rewards to it if they fulfil it. The goal doesn’t have to be grand, but needs to be something attainable so that completing it will give them a sense of accomplishment, as well as spur them on to want to achieve the next session’s goal.
Be specific about how long the practice time will be. With a student who is just beginning, a longer series of practice times doesn’t always serve as great a purpose as it may seem until the student is capable of playing for longer periods of time. Give the child a 10-15 minute practice time where they can focus their energies on doing just one thing and achieving great results.
Practice does make perfect, both for musicians and for people looking to fulfil a goal. Focusing exclusively on the task at hand while practicing is essential to that time creating the opportunities that are desired from all the cumulative practice.
Do you have tips for making practicing not just painless but fun? Let us know in the comments section.