Your child just got through their first big concert of the year and is now looking forward to a relaxing winter break. The last thing on their mind is practicing their instrument. As parents, it’s hard to help keep our kids motivated while school is out, but it’s important to remember that even though concert season is over for now, music season is never over!
At West Music we have seen that students who practice their instruments over school breaks, even just for a few minutes every day, retain lessons better and develop new skills quicker. When school gets back in session, students who have practiced are less rusty and more excited to learn.
It’s sometimes hard to find the time to practice or stay motivated during school breaks, but West Music educators have put together this list of their seven best tips to help your child keep playing all winter long!
1. Break practice out into 5-10 minutes.
Finding the time to practice is difficult, especially during the holidays. By breaking up longer practice sessions into short 5 to 10 minute sprints, you and your child will be more likely to find the time to get it done!
2. Set goals.
With each practice session have a specific goal in mind for your child, even if it’s just practicing one or two cords. Setting small goals will add up to huge accomplishments!
3. Keep your child’s instrument out (in a safe place).
Ever heard out of sight, out of mind? That’s exactly what happens when you pack up your child’s instrument in its case and put it into the closet. Instead keep it out somewhere out of the way but where your young musician will see it every day.
4. Let your child pick their practice time, and then stick with it.
One of the many skills music teaches children is self-discipline. Let them choose what time they want to practice, but once a time is chosen have them stick to it as best as possible. Even if they have to miss a practice session or two because of holiday events, it helps build the habit of practicing regularly.
5. Be excited for your child.
If you see practice time as dull, so will your kids. Be in the room when your child practices and encourage them when they feel like giving up. When they do finally master a song, or even just a new note, show genuine pride and excitement in their accomplishments.
6. Game-ify Practice.
Many music teachers suggest making a game out of difficult passages that could otherwise get frustrating. One of the most popular games involves pennies (but M&Ms or Skittles work just as well). Put 3 to 10 pennies on the left side of their music stand. Each time your kids get the passage right, they can move a penny to the right side. Once they get all the pennies to the other side, they can finish practicing and take their reward!
7. Play with the instrument.
You don’t always need to follow the song book. Encourage your child to make up their own song. It encourages creativity and makes learning more fun!
Need more advice? West Music is here for you!
Call our music experts at 1-800-397-9378