While practice in an integral part of the music learning process, it can often times be a thorn in the side of the student. There are many different things that prevent students from practicing. Identifying a few of them can help you as a parent to address these practice obstacles, and lead your child to years of happy practicing and growth as a musician.
1.Being distracted by other things is one of the biggest obstacles to productive practice. If your child is finding practice difficult, try having them practice at a different time of day. Switching practice time from after school to before school, when your child is more rested is a great way to cut down on distractions and help your child better focus on the t
ask at hand. In the later portion of the day, children are over stimulated from the long school day which makes it hard for them to concentrate. Make sure your child has a quiet and peaceful area dedicated to practice away from distractions such as television, video games, and younger siblings.
2.Lack of enjoyment in the music they are playing is another big factor that can make children lose their vest for practice. Listening to different types of music with your child can help them cultivate their own individual musical taste, which will help them have a more well rounded idea of the type of music that they want to play. When their teacher asks for the occasional suggestion of what they might want to learn next, your child will be more engaged and be ready with a selection they are excited to learn!
3.Not having the mental energy to practice is also sometimes a predicament when it comes time to practice. School work and homework is often prioritized over music practice which is understandable, but by the time young children are done with this taxing work their brains cannot handle much practice time if any at all. This is when meltdowns at the piano can occur. Creating a separate time for school work and music practice, with clearly divided breaks in between gives the young attention span the time it needs to recover and rest in between activities.
4.Sometimes the current methods of practice just aren’t working! If you find that your child is losing interest in practice or struggling it might be time to try something completely different. Children often times try to practice a song straight through to from beginning to end and then become bored or frustrated with their practice. Breaking up songs into smaller pieces and practicing those pieces out of order will help your child focus on getting the notes correct. Once they have this down they can add the pieces back together and the song they are working for will be much improved.
5.Lack of structure is another common problem that distracts children and keeps them from having productive practice sessions. Telling your child “okay, it’s time to practice now” is often not enough instruction or structure for the young beginner. Creating a structured practice time, that still feels fun will help your child know exactly what to do, and how long to do it for. Devote the first block of time to warming up, the next to working on isolated difficult passages, and the third block of time to playing songs all the way through. Breaking up the time will help your child maintain focus and stave off boredom during practice. By knowing exactly what to do, instead of having free form practice time they will also be able to guide themselves through practice before you know it! In this way our students also develop a sense of self discipline.
Music can be very relaxing and help with brain development. Encouraging your child to find their inner zen while practicing may take a little effort, but the outcome is well worth it!