I often hear from parents that their child doesn’t seem inspired to practice at home or that that it is a constant struggle to get them practicing. Some have even said that since their child doesn’t take the initiative to practice daily at home, they think they should withdraw from lessons. Yikes! Don’t give up yet! Read below for some further thoughts on this topic.
Inspiration and Enjoyment
First of all, not wanting to practice at home does not mean your child doesn’t enjoying playing. The part they enjoy about playing a musical instrument is probably performing for an audience and feeling successful. Practicing new hard techniques at home can feel like the opposite of this! (lonely and frustrating). You can help by sitting in while they practice and cheering them on, and helping to create more performance opportunities for them – such as inviting the grandparents over for a private show. Keep reminding your child that the more they practice, the better they’ll get – and then practicing will be even more enjoyable! If your child is the type to get easily discouraged, pulling them from music lessons is only going to instill the idea that we should quit when life gets hard. Teach them instead to set a short-term goal to make things feel more attainable: like playing an old song from beginning to end or tackling that hard line in a new song. Feeling successful and confident is a great reward!
Discipline and Commitment
These are two extremely valuable life skills that music students build every day that they play. But it sure takes effort! As adults, we recognize the need to repeat tasks (think: cooking meals, doing the dishes, mowing the lawn) on a regular basis. But that doesn’t mean we enjoy performing them every time! Teaching your child to commit to their music practice, regardless of what’s on tv, how sunny it is outside, or how uninspired they feel that day will give them the strength of character to take on so many other challenges throughout their lives. And yes, that means you’ll need to be involved in encouraging them to get started… maybe even every day for some children. But eventually they’ll become reliable, self-motivated musicians and individuals – this will take them so far in life, regardless of career-choice!
Life-long Love for the Arts
Ask anyone who used to play an instrument why they stopped and all they’ll say is that they sure wish they never had! Being able to play music gives a creative outlet to turn to on both happy days and sad days alike; gives a feeling of pride and individuality for being able to do something special that others can’t; and allows us to share our love for music with others. Musicians learn to appreciate and respect the hard work and skill others put into their art, keeping culture alive in our communities and homes and making every day more beautiful.
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