I'm sure a lot of you have heard or seen the object lesson of putting big rocks in a gallon jar. http://www.appleseeds.org/Big-Rocks_Covey.htm I LOVE this story because it is so true.
What are some of the BIG rocks you have in your life and in your family's life? If one of them is private music lessons, this becomes a tough rock to put in the jar. Parents know and understand the importance and value of practicing a musical instrument, but they have the harder job of getting their child to buy into that belief system.
So HOW and WHEN do you put the practice rock in the jar? The how could be having a family council meeting with your family and explaining your belief system of the value and importance of music. You could continue by saying that your family believes so strongly in the power of music, that it will be a priority for your family. It will be a daily practice. A big rock.
Then look and see what other big rocks you need to put in the jar. Do you have so many big rocks they WON'ALL FIT ? You may have to analyze the rocks and determine if some of them may not be so important after all. Are you rushing your child from soccer practice to piano lessons on Monday, followed by karate, dance, church activities, homework, etc on the other days? What about free time for your child to play and read? Should that be a large rock?
In the analogy, after the big rocks are placed in the jar, then there is still room for gravel, sand and water. What are the gravel, sand and water? More activities to cram in? I like to think of them as blessings that come from prioritizing. Like a smooth running home, time to talk with and enjoy your family, peace.
Now another big question is WHEN to put the practicing rock into your jar. Each family's schedule is different, and you may have to be creative. My sister and I took turns getting up at 6:30am on school days to practice the piano. The TV may have to be turned off on schools days so it is not a distraction. Other activities may need to be postponed until summer. Favorite times to practice for my piano students are before breakfast, after school, and after dinner.
The bottom line is this: if you want your child to be proficient at playing an instrument, consistent daily practice has to be done. Practicing 3 times a week won't do it. Practicing incorrectly won't do it. Practicing for short times won't do it. Learning to play an instrument is a really big rock! And it is worth it! Music is the language of the soul. Help your child discover and express his soul.