Let’s make music practice a breeze! Let’s look at some fun ways to encourage your child’s musical journey, from setting up a cool music corner to family concerts and playful practice tips.
1. Help set up a routine with your child
E.g: before school / after school / weekend
Children love routine. Making practice a habit is the best way to make quick progress and develop as a musician.
Sit down with your child and ask them when they think they’ll enjoy playing music. Are they morning people or would after school work better?
Put a practice timetable on the fridge or bedroom door so they can see it.
It doesn’t need to be the same time every day as long there is a routine.
Think about the age of your child. Little ones are more than often wide awake early in the morning. Teenagers often prefer to play their music at night after dinner.
2. Set up a music corner
With easy access to music, working instrument and tools of the trade ie stand, tuner, metronome, and backing music. Some children thrive on practicing in the living room others like their bedroom (especially teenagers). Keep an eye out for distractions around the music area.
Things our students have told us why they don’t practice.
- “I don’t want to go downstairs it’s scary by myself”
- “I don’t want any one to hear me practice”
- “I can’t practice, the keyboard is in my brother’s room and he won’t let me go in there”
- “One note on my instrument isn’t working so I don’t want to play” (This is very valid reason for a musician.)
- “My sister tells me I suck”
- “I had to watch TV”
3. Show your enthusiasm for their learning
Have a mini family concert at the end of practice once a week.
This point is practically meaningful for younger students 4-12yrs old. Music is very social. Before TVs, everyone gathered around the piano together or the radio to listen to music.
Children thrive on positive feedback. Let them know how much you love hearing them play and create music.
Let them overhear you telling other family members how great they are.
Have a mini concert for grandparents online! Let them see how much joy music spreads. Music connects the generations.
Your child loves spending time with you. Make these moments happen before the teenage years arrive.
4. Little ones may need help
Children aged 4-12yrs will most likely need your support when learning music and the skills required to more autonomously play; older ones will become more and more self motivated.
Talk with your teacher about exact tips that will help your child practice at home.
Play with backings.
Never just play a piece from beginning to end. Select repetition is the best way to practice.
- Check – are there any new notes (look up them up or ask)
- Choose 3 notes repeat several times, then do 4, 5 6 until the tricky bit becomes easy
- Write in the beats
- Simplify the rhythm
- Practice slowly
- Say and tap the original rhythm
- Play without articulation
- Play all slurred/all tongued/all staccato
- Play as written
Look at your piece of music. Circle the tricky bits.
Choose one circle. Why is it tricky?
When the tricky bit becomes easy, play a whole section and see if you have fixed it.
Yes — Practice makes perfect!
5. Make practice a habit
Playing music is so much fun – there is always time for fun!
Start with 10 mins and increase as skill set grows.
What’s most important is GOOD habits and GOOD practice.
How often will your child practice?
Minimum 5 days a week is recommended.
- Decide with your teacher how long will your child practice for in each session
- Set achievable goals for each practice
- Aim for progress not perfection
- Quality of practice is more important than quantity
- Use an app for theory, scales, ear training, rhythm training, or note reading practice
- Be consistent with a practice time to develop the habit
Want more ideas? Try this is useful article: How to practice: 5 habits to help make your music practice more efficient and effective
The more practice happens the more intrinsically motivated your child will be to practice without you needing to remind them.
I hope you have found these tips helpful!
Best wishes for lots of music making,