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Helping Kids Develop a Practice Routine Isn't Always Easy

Learning to play music is an incredibly enriching experience for young children, but getting kids to practice their instrument can be a difficult proposition. Like homework or any other compulsory activity, there may be days where they're tired or simply not in the mood. Sticking to a set schedule, with specific parameters like what time and how long the daily session will be helps by setting their expectations.

When your children are very young, it's up to you to provide the structure and routine surrounding practice sessions. By doing so, you're teaching them discipline, time management, and self-motivation, qualities that will in turn help them be successful in all areas of their lives. Keeping them motivated to be productive rather than waste time is something with which most parents struggle. Making it fun through the use of some creative tools is an excellent way to keep them on track.

It's good to make mistakes

kids by chalkboard at music school

Rather than attempting to learn new songs all the way through, some parents encourage their child to pick a manageable number of bars. They can feel good about mastering a certain portion of the music while practicing every day. Setting and achieving mini-goals provides a sense of accomplishment, and you can even have 'Friday concerts,' where they string together the bars they've mastered during the week.

Rewards are also an excellent motivational tool. Make learning new exercises fun by making up games with prizes that are awarded as they master each one. An example is a parent who used a bag of dried beans and "paid" their children in beans when they mastered a new exercise or stanza. Then at the end of the month, the kids could cash them in for a fun prize or a small deposit into their savings account.

Get them involved by brainstorming ideas together for a game that they're excited about. Finding the right motivational tool takes time and thought, but it's certainly worth it. Learning to play an instrument is an investment in their future. Finally, don't forget to remind them often that making mistakes is part of the process. Demanding perfection is more likely to derail their musical career than encourage it.

Finding what works best for your child

If keeping kids in musical lessons is your goal, they'll need a lot of support in the beginning. Getting kids to practice will be your responsibility at first, but the good news is you're teaching them the skills they'll need to take over for you as they grow.

Even if you don't have a music store near you, your child can still learn to play an instrument. JSI offers the ability to purchase a new instrument or rent stringed instruments online and have either delivered to your home. With our large selection of quality instruments, favorable terms and helpful staff, you're sure to find what you need.

Additional Resources

Carriage House Violins

Located in Newton, Massachusetts, Carriage House Violins is the instrument sales division of Johnson String Instrument.

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Johnson String Project

A charitable foundation whose goal is to provide high-quality instruments to children who live in under-served communities and who are participating in El-Sistema-inspired programs in Massachusetts.

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JSI Blog

Information and helpful articles about the music and instruments we love.

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