Good Practice is Undeniable
Throughout my time teaching, it has become abundantly clear to me that parents do not need to be reminded about the benefits of practice. Adults understand, without a doubt, that to learn a skill, one must put work into it. Whether that skill be cooking, climbing or driving, the key that ties all the lessons together is practice. How can we make children understand this? Unfortunately, they simply do not have enough life experience to understand that nothing can be achieved without putting the work into it.
It’s Up to Adults to Show the Way
How do we show kids that dental hygiene is important? When I was younger, my mom emphasized that I had to brush my teeth when I wake up, and when I go to bed. After enough times of asking me to do, it became part of my routine. 5 minutes in the morning, and 5 minutes at night have kept me cavity free for 24 years. When I forget to brush my teeth, I feel my inner voice nagging me that I have missed an important part of my day. While I don’t “enjoy” brushing my teeth, I certainly prefer it over sitting in the dentist’s chair.
This same concept applies to music practice. To encourage music practice, we adults should provide a steady routine until the kids settle into it.
Setting the Habit:
- Set a consistent time to practice! I practice my scales every morning, and every night (right after I brush my teeth!). Setting a consistent time allows the child to settle into the routine more effectively. There has been some research to suggest that the most effective way to set a routine is to do the hardest tasks in the morning.
- Make it a priority. If parents feel like it is a priority, kids will take by example and also begin to see it as priority. Simply put, parents must lead by example to show children the benefits of practice. What is the incentive for parents? Parents should aim to set a practice routine so the child makes consistent progress in their music classes, and continuously play more beautiful music!
- Use positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is highly effective in teaching and setting a routine. A simple positive reinforcement is giving a sticker, or a treat after practicing. Some parents may also find it effective to compliment the child on their progress and their visible improvement.