10 Years – 10 Ways to….

10 Years – 10 Ways to…
In celebration of our 10th birthday we will be offering pearls of musical wisdom to our community. Our first offering in this series touches on the tricky realm of practice….

10 Ways to…. Inspire your Child to practice
#1 Create a special “practice place” in your home.
When someone is practicing – ALL of the items they need to succeed should be close at hand. Tuner, foot-stool, music, music stand, appropriate lighting, NO electronics, TV, siblings to interrupt.
#2 Schedule! And don’t change it. Practice is at a special time each day. It doesn’t have to be at the same time every day – but it must be on the family schedule like an appointment.
#3 Reward (otherwise known as bribery). Sticker charts, check marks, coloring charts all work REALLY well for little kids. Milestone “prizes” work for older kids. Because you practice “X” number of days in a row this week – you can do….
#4 Repertoire must be appealing. If you notice your child is avoiding practice when they usually practice without issues. Talk to them. They might just be working on something they don’t like. Talk to the teacher about this.
#5 DO NOT make practice a chore. Do not put it on the chore list for your child alongside taking out the trash, emptying the dishwasher, or cleaning out the kitty litter.
#6 Practice with your child. Even if you don’t play music yourself, take the time to sit with him/her to encourage them. Have your teacher create a check list of the things that they need to do and how many times they should do it… and check it off with them.
#7 Have your child teach you! Ask your child to teach you what they are trying to learn. It’s very humbling! If you already play their instrument make LOTS of mistakes so they can correct you.
#8 Practicing cannot be achieved “in a bubble”. Spend one practice session per week taking your child to a concert. If going to concerts is not an option – search through youtube together and enjoy some masterful versions of music your child is learning or music they are inspired by. Sometimes you can even find dreadful versions of people performing your child’s music – which is always so entertaining and full of “what-not-to-do’s”.
#9 Weekly concerts for parents, grand-parents, siblings and teddy’s. Have your child make the snacks for the concert, build the stage, design the tickets, make a program. Advertise the concert with colorful posters. Practicing with a project in sight feels more meaningful.
#10 Make practice positive. “When you’ve finished your practice you can” …watch your fave TV show, … go outside and play …do that Lego project ….visit with a friend …. go swimming.
Never start the sentence with “If you don’t do your practice you can’t” … etc. It’s a subtle difference but very important.

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