Practicing is an interesting subject …. No one really likes to do it
Yo Yo Ma has said that if it wasn’t for his wife nagging him to practice, he probably never would.
It comes back to our nature as humans are lazy, most of us will find the easier way of doing things – kids are no different. We all have to constantly have to try to find ways of refocusing ourselves to become less lazy. A lifetime goal!
My mother (a music teacher for over 40 years) always told students’ parents that practicing is like brushing teeth – kids have the best intentions of practicing but they just don’t do it.
Often parents will become frustrated and tempers will flare and it might work for the short term but the child won’t enjoy practicing and in the long run – s/he won’t want to continue his/her lessons.
Often, Teachers will also become frustrated when they keep working on the same material and be frustrated that the child isn’t progressing.
And in turn, the student will become frustrated because s/he knows that s/he is disappointing the teacher and practicing is something that Mom and Dad just get mad about. Not a positive experience that the child – remember we play music. It should be an enjoyable experience.
Music Educator Frances Clark (she wrote the piano series The Music Tree and was one of my mom’s teachers) wrote in her book Questions and Answers: Practical Advice for Piano Teachers talks about when a child is learning at his/her best, it means that everyone is playing his/her part. Parent, child and teacher creating a perfect triangle.
So how can we activate the “education triangle” so we can get the most out of lessons. Remember if you are frustrated then your child and teacher is also frustrated.
So how do you make sure that your child practices without being the bad guy?
It’s a conversation and creating the right environment for your child to practice.
Create an open dialogue with your teacher. S/he knows that practicing isn’t happening but if you’re honest about it then it’s so much easier. Then set up a time when you the parent, the child and the teacher can meet to discuss. This isn’t a session when anyone is to feel guilty about the struggle with practicing but rather it’s about creating a positive environment where the outcome will be that the student will be able to reach his/her full potential.
Most of the time with a few adjustments, practice times will run smoothly – and remember as a parent if you make it a fun time of bonding and sharing so much more progress will happen. It can be difficult when life gets busy but open transparently, it will become easier.
If you would like to discuss it more, and/or set up a meeting — call me at 604-783-4091 or email me @ firstname.lastname@example.org