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Motivating kids to practice their instrument more often

Your child has been begging you to take music lessons, and you have finally said “yes.” They chose their instrument. You found a music teacher, created a practice space in your house, and purchased the instrument.

Just when you thought your work was done, you find yourself facing another challenge -- getting your child to practice and to practice more often. There is a strong relationship between practice and musical achievement. Consistent practice is necessary for your child to grow as a musician.

After the initial excitement of learning to play their instrument starts to wane along with the motivation to practice their instrument, how can you avoid the fighting, tears, and tantrums to get your child to practice between their weekly lessons? Unfortunately, it’s a very common issue. The good news is that there are some very good strategies that have been developed by music teachers, parents, and child psychologists when it comes to motivating kids to practice their instrument.

Planning

Regular practicing helps teach children self-discipline, which is not only important when it comes to learning an instrument but can help them have success in other areas of their lives. However, being self-motivated doesn’t come easy for most kids. Therefore, motivating kids to practice means coming up with positive, engaging, and fun ideas to encourage them to practice more often.

One of the most important things that you can do is to teach your child to appreciate music and about how it can enhance their lives. Provide them with different opportunities for listening to music by taking them to concerts, playing different kinds of music at home, and helping them to discover what kind of music they like.

You can combat a lack of motivation to practice by letting your child have some say in setting their practice schedule. If you allow your child to feel a sense of control, they are likely to follow through and learn the value of practicing. Add some incentive by providing a reward for successfully accomplishing practice goals. But, remember – consistency is the key when it comes to developing a schedule.

Make practicing a choice, not an obligation. Setting an arbitrary amount of practice times, without setting specific goals, and then rewarding your child with fun activities, such as video games, just reinforces the idea that practicing is not fun.

Try planning performances with friends and family as the audience. Make sure that your child has the opportunity to perform throughout the year. Performing helps to increase a child’s enthusiasm for playing as well as holding them accountable, which means they will be likely to practice more often.

Girl mid-jump while holding a violin in front of a maroon theatre curtain

Growing

One of the most important strategies for motivating kids to practice the violin or any instrument, for that matter, is finding the right teacher. If your child makes a connection with his or her teacher, they are much more likely to practice between lessons.

Help your child to set specific goals to complete during practice time. Come up with small, but challenging goals to complete, and use positive reinforcement, such as our instrument practice tools, to make practicing fun and rewarding. Make sure that the increasing difficulty of the goals, as they master easier skills, continues to challenge, and excite them to practice.

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