Part of a child taking violin lessons – a big part of it – is learning to practice daily. This is no easy feat. If you took violin lessons as a child, you may remember your teacher telling you to practice 30 minutes every day.
Some parents try rewarding their kids for practicing by promising them time watching TV or playing video games. The tricky thing about this method, though, is that it sets up practice time as something to be endured, something that they suffer through to get to something else entertaining. But what else works?
- Set up specific, daily musical goals. You may say, “Today’s goal is to get through the first four measures of the new piece with zero mistakes.” That way, there is a solid accomplishment to reach at the end. It may not take 30 minutes to reach, but that is fine. That feeling of arrival – of setting a goal and then fulfilling that goal – will reinforce the cause-and-effect nature of practicing. You practice not to spend time practicing, but to gain skills. The “correct” playing becomes its own reward, and the child looks forward to feeling that accomplishment.
- Divide the week’s work into seven parts. Knowing what the teacher wants to hear next week, and what may get you there, can help a student tackle the assignment. If he or she can see the full week’s goals at once, then it’s possible to meet two days’ goals in one setting. Getting ahead of schedule feels marvelous. This feeling of success leads to a happier practice experience.
- Avoid bargaining with practice time. Getting ahead of schedule is great, but falling behind, and negotiating practice time, is not. “I will skip today but will practice double tomorrow” sets up a mindset of procrastination.
To try violin lessons at our private music school, call us at 513.772.7900. Studying violin can teach your child a wide range of skills, and today is a perfect time to start.