KEEPING YOUR KIDS
When parents sign their kids up for music lessons, a very common question that comes up is "how long will it takes to see results?" This is a very difficult question to answer as it depends on a number of factors that are unique to each student and their circumstances, but there are some things that you can do to help foster the right environment for your kids to stay engaged with music and to develop good habits that will keep them growing with their instrument for years to come.
Having worked with thousands of students, one thing that we have always seen as a trend is that when parents are involved in the process it makes a huge difference. This doesn't mean that you need to force your child to practice for an hour each day and watch their every move to make sure they do everything perfectly, but there are simple things you can do that will go a long way to help them stay focused and develop good habits.
The first thing we recommend is to stay up-to-date with what they are learning. You don't have to "learn along with them" and actually know how to play what their teacher assigns them to practice each week, but taking a minute or two to speak with your teacher and understand what they should be practicing will help make sure that your child has focused practice time that is productive and that they are practicing what they need to work on.
The second thing that goes a long way is to help them to have a good routine to actually practice regularly. Maybe this means that they practice at the same time every day, maybe it means that they have to practice for a certain amount of time before they can play video games, or maybe it is as simple as asking "did you practice piano yet today?" You can handle this in whatever way works best for your family's schedule, but having sometime in place to encourage them to practice is very important. Keep in mind that kids are rarely good at being self-disciplined, so just a little help in this area will keep them practicing, and the more they practice the better they get. The better they get on their instrument the more fun they have with it, which then makes them want to practice more.
THE RIGHT ENVIRONMENT
The environment that the student has plays a big role in this as well. This encompasses the obvious things like having a good physical space to practice (this varies from one instrument to another based on the portability of the instrument), not having distractions during practice time (like noise, TV, etc.), and even things like having the right instrument for them to practice on. When students have focused time without distractions and an instrument that fits them well and is comfortable to play, they will get much more out of practice time than they will if they are trying to practice on an instrument that is too big while their siblings are running around and the TV is on. Keep these things in mind and you will see a big difference in their progression.
Kids love being rewarded for doing a good job. You would be amazed at how motivating something as simple as getting stickers can be for some students. We don't want to tell you how you should reward your child (or if you should, even), but we have seen big improvements in student motivation based on knowing they will get some kind of reward or acknowledgement for the work they put into practicing.
Some families like to use a "practice calendar" where they get a sticker each time they practice for a certain amount of time, or they will get a special trip to get ice cream each time they finish a piano book. For some kids, those kinds of rewards are not even as motivating as simply hearing "great job, I'm proud of you!" You know your child best, so try to find what will keep them excited to practice based on their personality.
THE RIGHT TEACHER
Of course you want to do what you can to help keep your kids motivated, but if they have a teacher they do not enjoy then all the other tricks in the book may not matter at all. Admittedly, we may be a little biased, but finding the right teacher is arguably the most important thing on this list. When a student connects with a teacher and looks forward to their lessons, they will be far more likely to look forward to practicing as well. That excitement of wanting to show their teacher how well they practiced can be more than enough motivation all by itself, and when that is combined with these other things we have looked at, the sky is the limit to how far your child can go with music.
If you would like to get started with lessons for your child then we would love to help you get connected with a fantastic teacher! Just give us a call or click the below and we will look forward to speaking with you. Thank you and have a great day!