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4 Tips to Encourage Your Child to Maintain Their Weekly Music Practice

Updated: Jun 17, 2022

It’s 8am on a Thursday, and you need to leave for school where your child will then have their weekly music lesson. Maybe there's dust that's gathered on your child's instrument, and another week has passed with only infrequent and erratic attempts at practice.

Your child claims to want lessons, but doesn’t seem to put in the effort, even the teacher may have already tried multiple different teaching strategies and learning intentions to help engage your child in their music lessons. The prospect of paying another term’s tuition is the last straw. What ought to be a rewarding activity for your child has potentially become a chore.

1. Regular, Consistent Practice that's Fun !

Regular music practice normalises the act of making music and helps children develop habits that will, in time, underpin regular practice. A good early childhood musical program can help children shift gradually from play-based learning to more structured learning outcomes when they are ready.

It’s vital these experiences are fun. The advice for parents? Join in when/if possible! Show your child that music is fun by having fun with your child making music.

Our teaching staff at Melbourne Music Academy are specifically trained on the most effective practices to keep their students engaged in music lessons that are tailored to your child's learning style, while progressing at a rate that's suitable and attainable.

2. Praise their effort, not their ‘talent’

The media generally lauds professional musicians as “talented”. What’s lost in the mythology our culture weaves around these people is that their seemingly effortless mastery of an instrument is in fact the result of years of dedication, effort and learning.

Praising a child for being talented reinforces a fixed mindset around musical ability. If a child believes people are either talented or not talented, they are likely to view their own struggles with learning music as evidence they aren’t talented.

Parents should praise the effort their child puts into learning their instrument. This recognises that practice makes perfect.

3. Emphasise the long-term benefits of playing an instrument.

Parent praise has less impact over time on a child’s motivation to practise. Teenagers either develop an internal motivation to continue learning their instrument, or stop.

But a ten-year study of children learning instruments shows children who display medium and long-term commitment to an instrument practice more and demonstrate higher levels of musical achievement.

Children who imagined themselves playing their instrument into adulthood were more likely to be highly motivated.

Read more: Study habits for success: tips for students

Parents should encourage their children to see learning an instrument as a useful skill that can bring satisfaction and joy into adult life. It isn’t simply this year’s after-school activity.

4. Value your child’s music

Lessons, exams and practice schedules are all great, but ultimately music should be a shared activity. Aim to not always banish your child to their room to practise.

Instead, aim to create an environment where music is a vital part of the household. Encourage your child to perform at family occasions. As they learn, empathise with their struggles and celebrate their triumphs.

Most of all, learning and playing music is about having fun, and helping your child celebrate the progress that they make :-)

In the case where a small tweak might be needed to your child's music curriculum to help encourage and engage them further in their lessons, we are more than happy to facilitate this process and pass on this feedback to your child's teacher.

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