Week two of our new segment called “HOW TO PRACTICE WITH KIDS”. For the next several weeks, we will have a new tip each week of how to improve you or your child’s practicing. Take note, these tips are not just for kids! I have found that they work just fine for me, my husband and my adult students as well.
Tip two: CONSISTENCY
Consistency in TIME:
Pick a time of day that will work every single day. I know that seems nearly impossible but I promise that it will make all the difference in the world.
For my children, before school is the only way to make it happen.
In my parent’s home, we started waking up at 5:00 am five days a week starting in the first grade to do our instrument practice! I thought my parents were CRAZY and yet, here I am, waking my kids up before school so that they can get their practicing done. If we don’t get it done in the morning, there is only a 10% chance it will happen in the afternoon.
Practicing will NEVER work for us in the evening because my kids are small and we have run out of all energy, patience and focus by that time. But maybe you have some patience left in your heart and soul by 7:00 pm then nighttime practice will work great for you and your child!
Part two of consistency is LENGTH:
Set a timer. Don’t forget to set the timer! If you are expected to do 20 minutes, set that time and stick to it. If your child needs to run a marathon between each song (check out my five year olds practicing ritual from last week’s article to understand that one) then set it for a couple extra minutes so that they are getting all of the practice that they need to succeed.
Part three of consistency is PRESENCE:
With my kids, I sit right next to them for the first three days after their lesson while they practice. This ensures that they are practicing what they need to, are understanding difficult parts and can get any questions answered that they need. On the next three days, I set them free on their own. I am always nearby to help and give reminders but I’m not sitting right next to them. This gives them the chance to take some responsibility for their own learning. The feeling of independence in music is huge! When kids feel like they can do some part of music on their own, they are so much more excited to do more of it the next day!
Be close by so that they can show you what they’ve done at the end of each practice session and then praise, praise, praise!
“Wow! You have worked so hard haven’t you?”
“Look at what you accomplished! I hope you feel proud of yourself.”
“That song sounded amazing. Thanks for working so hard.”
“Your brain got stronger today as you practiced. Your brain is saying thank you!”
“Way to practice clear up until the timer went off. It feels good to finish what you start, doesn’t it?”
Being consistent with our children is important in all ways. What other things should we be consistent with when it comes to instrument practice? Tell us below!