Helping parents get children to practice
Found in: Practicing & Playlists
Leeanne I., Australia
I would like to prepare a document to give to parents to help in getting their children to practice when they don’t want to. Please share tips that have worked for you or parents in your studio.
Pat M., Canada
When I have students that don’t like to practice, I let them borrow my riddle sticks or they can make their own. Each stick has a riddle on it and the student plays the song that answers the riddle. Here are some of my stick ideas:
- Play a song your mom/dad/sibling likes
- Play a song about friendship
- Play a song played on New Year’s Eve
- Play a song with CAGE chords
- Play a song with a color in it
Most students seem to like this approach for a change of pace. I have made about 40-50 riddles.
Heidi M., Canada
I ask my parents to ask their child to teach them one or more of the songs. Kids love that and it makes them more willing to start their practice time. Also, I teach some parents a simple accompaniment for some songs so they can do it as a duet with the child at home. Some children think it is more fun to do a duet with the parent than play alone.
Cate R., Australia
I ask parents to change their practice time to before school. It often helps with waking them up ready for learning. This is pieces they know, no struggle. Save new projects for later on when they need a little more time and help. I also ask parents to be familiar with the playlist and have a cup of tea ready and relax while your child plays for you. “Play that thunder one, or the family one that ends in the 5 steps of sound, or that pretty one that puts the baby to sleep.”
Laurie Richards, Nebraska
Another tip, especially for those with busier schedules, is to do a ‘walk-by’. When you walk by the piano, play just one song from your playlist and check it off. Or, before eating dinner or leaving the house, “Play (whatever song) first”.
I highly recommend going through Neil’s book Music and the Art of Long-Term Relationships, one section at a time, with your families.
Teri W., Kansas
“Silly family sing-alongs” were the solution for better practice sessions for one of my students. Different voicing for each song (i.e. cowboy style, opera singer, falling asleep, laughing throughout, etc). Dad and son put on quite a performance at the recital singing Michael Finnegan together “hillbilly style”. It was great fun!
Leeanne I., Australia
One of my 12-year-old students has a brilliant memory and picks up things quickly, and is getting bored with the monotony of practice. I suggested that he come up with different endings to his songs when he gets bored with them, or see how he can play it differently. He loved that suggestion.