Encouraging your child to practice – when does it become “a chore”?
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!”.
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.
Myths around practice
You need to practice for an hour a day to make any progress
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!
You need to practice at the same time every day
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!
If you don’t practice for a day or two, your standards will go down
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.
Here are my top 5 tips on practising
- 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 they sound awful, the worst thing you can do is tell them it sounds awful)
- Encourage them to perform regularly in front of you
- Have the instrument in a convenient place where they can access it quickly
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