Let’s face it, in today’s busy society getting your kids to focus on any single subject can be a difficult challenge. So, now you’ve added piano lessons to the mix and you’ve found a terrific teacher and it seems like a match made in heaven, but getting your kids to practice is becoming a tedious task. Tantrums ensue and you’re ready to give up and cancel the lessons altogether. So, what can you do to get your kids engaged so they can make progress? Here are some great ideas on How to motivate students to practice piano.
Set the Right Tone – This is Serious (-ly Fun) Stuff!
While many parents view music lessons as an activity, it really is an education. Just like math, science, and vocabulary, you must do your homework if you expect to get better and pass it on to the next grade. There are no shortcuts – help them to take it as seriously and respectfully as schoolwork to get good results and drive a love for music. Parents want their kids to have a ‘good’ association with music and other extracurricular activities, but keep in mind, improvement comes with discipline and practice.
Create the Foundation of Fun Through Language
It’s not always what you say but how you say it. When you call homework “Practice” it tends to be perceived as work. And the thing is, kids these days have plenty of homework already, so adding something else to the list can be overwhelming to their thought process. We found in our 15 years in business that it doesn’t do any good to call piano homework “practice”. Instead, ask them to “play” for 20 minutes. Kids love “playing”. This gives them a great association to the piano homework. Also, joining them for the first few times of practice will build confidence and self-esteem as you applaud their progress! In short, your language and participation are crucial to driving a positive association.
The Trusted Rewards System
After you have set up a piano practice schedule (we recommend about 20 minutes three times per week for beginners), you can create a rewards system. The reward can be anything of your choosing. For instance, a trip to the park, a new toy, or stickers works very well. For example, Sarah, one of our veteran instructors, gives her students a sticker for each page they complete in their lesson book. Once they accumulate enough stickers, they get a prize. Rewarding good behavior and great performance is a terrific incentive to keep your kids on track.
The important thing is not to give up too quickly. When you begin piano lessons, set a particular amount of time that your kids are going to commit to before they’re ‘allowed’ to quit. Kids can be emotional. Their minds are growing, and learning piano is a daunting task for anyone. If they can hang in there for the first few months and experience the reward of learning how to play the piano, the chances of them continuing for years to come are very high. In the end, it will be up to you to provide encouragement and reinforcement. You will be a wonderful and important part of their process of learning the piano.