Sunday, January 24, 2010

Music Tip # 23 Make Practice time a Fun time!

Does your child take music lessons? Does she/he love to practice? Lucky you, if you said yes! Most children start out excited to take piano, violin, etc lessons, but somewhere along the line the excitement wears off and practicing becomes something your child tries to avoid at all costs. Here are some ideas from a music teacher's perspective on how you, as a parent can help keep your child interested in practicing:

1. You are the parent, she is the child. She may have initially wanted to take cello/piano lessons, but now it's really YOUR thing you want her to do. So, you need to realize that if you want her to continue, YOU have to be willing to see it from a child's view.

2. Children want their parent's attention and they'll get it by misbehaving if they have to. But how much more pleasurable it is to get attention in a nice way. So use music practice time as a BONDING time. Sit with your child and be her cheerleader. Be positive and make practicing fun! You don't have to sit with your child every day (unless your child is young and a Suzuki student), but 2-3 times a week would really help out.

3. Be positive, positive, positive. Say, "that's sounding better." or "How can you fix that note to make it sound prettier?" or "You have lots of concentration to sit there and play that section 5 times!"

4. Don't make music practice a power struggle. No one wins that way.

5. Make it fun! Turn off the lights and have your child play a song 3X in the dark. Take your child's instrument to the bathroom and have him practice a song and listen to the rich vibrant sounds. Dance with a sibling during one of the songs. Be creative, go for it!!

6. Be consistent. Let your child help choose when the best time would be to practice each day. Before school? After school and a snack? Right after dinner?

7. Make a contract if necessary. Write down what your child will do (i.e practice 30 minutes 5 times a week without whining). Write down what YOU will do (buy her favorite box of cereal, do one of her chores while she practices, or let her read uninterrupted in your bed for 20 minutes each night...)

8. Remember that love and gentleness is how the Savior taught and encouraged his followers. Use love and gentleness with your child. Hug him. Tell him you love him. Be his advocate, not his enemy. Be on the same page with him. Listen to him. STOP! I'll say it again LISTEN to him.

Good luck and post YOUR ideas of how you help your child have a successful practice experience.

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