Practicing is a huge part of improving at singing or an instrument. The more often one practices, the faster progress will be. Ideally, kids would practice a few times a week, even if it’s only 10 minutes at a time. Consistency is the key to success.
With this being said, it can be a challenge to get children to sit down with their music without the guidance of a teacher in the room. Not only is learning something new difficult in its own right, the attention span of most children is often short. Everything is exciting and fresh to them!
While each case is different, here are a few ideas parents and teachers have used to inspire their kids to practice:
- Make a time deal: For example, in order to earn half an hour of video game time, the child must first practice music for half an hour. The reward system is simple and effective!
- Have a goal to work toward: Having something to aim for can greatly increase a student’s drive. A perfect goal is preparing for our recitals, which take place twice a year. The idea of being on stage in front of family and friends is a huge incentive for really learning a piece!
- Show them your favourite songs!: It is super common for kids to want to learn their parents playlists. As an added bonus, this can create a great situation for bonding.
- Push but don’t pressure: Music can easily become a negative experience for a child pressured too hard, which is a shame, because it leaves their talent unexplored.
Beyond these tactics, it is important to keep in mind the age and interests of each student. If a child is not practicing, it is not the end of the world. A more realistic goal for them may be to simply interact with music at the school on a weekly basis. This will still provide them with a musical foundation and a head start if their interest and desire should increase in time.
While practice is important and recommended, we should not diminish the value of solely attending classes every week. As long as the student is enjoying their time with music and their teacher, they should continue.
With a modern world so heavily focused on productivity and lighting speed progress, we should try to remember that kids are kids, and their learning process does not completely resemble the linear style of adults. Children zig-zag, colouring in the page from different corners, rather than shading in straight lines, and that’s just fine!
At Toronto Art’s Academy our main goal is instil a love of music that lasts a lifetime.