Having taught violin for over 10 years, the issue of practice has always been a “hot topic” amongst both children and parents alike. It’s a subject that when raised usually receives a huge gasp or even facial expressions of contempt from children. “Have you managed to practice this week?” I would ask a child and the answer would be “yes”, “a little bit” or “no”, followed by a list of reasons why. The best of which was “I couldn’t practice as my dog was sat on it!”
One of the main reasons I set up The Strings Club in 2012 was to offer musical programmes that inspired children to get their instrument out at home, to practice and to feel confident in performing in front of family and friends at home. At The Strings Club Head Office, we are sometimes contacted by parents asking us how they can encourage their child to practice at home without them pushing them to do so. Understandably, parents feel pressured into not only ensuring that their child progresses on a weekly basis, but also ensuring that they are getting “their money’s worth” too.
Below I have jotted down the main myths surrounding practice as well as listed by top 5 practice tips. Why not also have a read of our Platinum Music Medal star Lily and er top practice tips below too?
- Myth #1
You need to practice for an hour a day to make any progress
Nonsense! If your child wants to play for an hour a day then great! But if not, encouraging them to practice for 5-10 mins a day to start off with is a fantastic start!
- Myth #2
You need to practice at the same time every day
Nonsense! Yes, getting into a good routine (see below) is good, however, we understand how busy children are, so as long as they take the time to practice on a regular basis, then this is great!
- Myth #3
If you don’t practice for a day or two, your standards will go down
Nonsense! One of my old violin teachers who was also an infamous solo violinist practices for 8-10 hours every day, however, this was her job. If your child misses a few days because of going on holiday, illness, whatever reason, this does not mean their playing standards will have drastically decreased.
My top five tips in encouraging your child to practice!
- Practice for 5-10 mins a day to start off with – best to practice for small amounts and regularly than for long durations and unoften
- Encourage your child to really look after their instrument and take responsibility
- Be positive to your child (if it doesn’t sound quite right, encourage them to try again!)
- Encourage them to perform regularly in front of you
- Have the instrument in a convenient place where they can access it quickly
Have a read of our recent interview with our Term Time pupil Lily here.
Do you have a top practice tip? Join in the conversation and share on our Facebook page.