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How to Motivate Your Child to Practice Their Instrument

practicing your instrument

If you’re the parent of a child who recently started learning a new instrument, or even your child has been playing their instrument for a while, you may be wondering how to motivate your child to practice their instrument. Perhaps at first, they were very enthusiastic about it, but sometimes the excitement can fade. Plus, there are plenty of distractions for kids these days like television, homework, video games, and the list goes on. Check out these tips to help encourage them to pick up their instrument and enjoy practicing.

Make Practice Fun

Most children don’t want to do something that they don’t find at least a little bit fun. Practice can start to feel boring, so consider turning it into a game with activities and challenges. If they need to practice a certain song for an upcoming concert, get silly and see if they can play it super slow, super fast, and maybe even have them play a few measures backwards before going back to “regular” practicing. Encourage them to dance around a little while they play if their instrument isn’t too big!

Celebrate Every Accomplishment

The journey of learning an instrument is full of ups, downs, and plateaus, so be sure to celebrate the ups! Verbal praise is great, but take it one step further and keep a chart of their accomplishments that they can put stickers on to mark a “great practice” or other milestones. When it is in writing, they are less likely to forget how far they have come and can look at it for motivation when they’re having an off day.

Help Them Understand The Gift of Music

It may take some time for a child to fully grasp the importance of music in this world, but you can open that door for them. Teaching your child to appreciate music for more than just what it is on the surface can help them grow their own personal connection to music and their instrument. You can motivate your child to practice their instrument in this way outside of the practice room by taking them to a concert, playing music at home, and helping them explore new genres and discover their own tastes.

Let Them Play The Music They Like

There are plenty of classic and signature songs that are a staple for certain instruments, but some children can find that type of music less exciting. As children get older, they start to develop their own taste in music, so if you’re trying to figure out how to motivate your child to practice their instrument, offer them sheet music from one of their favorite artists or a popular song. You could also plan a trip to your local music shop and browse the sheet music there and let them pick out a song they like there.

Don’t Make Practice an Obligation

Of course, you want your child to practice, but if it seems like an activity they “have to do” instead of one they “get to do,” they are less likely to engage, and they may even begin to dread practicing. You can try offering for them to do another activity they enjoy after they practice. For example, if they want to watch TV, they can do so after they have practiced. If they choose not to practice, that is okay, but TV comes after practice.

Encourage and Plan Performances

Having something to work towards can be a significant factor when it comes to knowing how to motivate your child to practice their instrument. Having your child participate in a performance gives them a prize at the end of the road and a reason for practicing. If they don’t have any recitals or school performances, consider putting together a performance for friends and family at the next holiday or backyard BBQ. If they are shy, something low pressure like a performance just for mom and dad may also do the trick and help them work up to a larger audience.

Keep Your Child’s Instrument In Great Working Order

It can be difficult to find the motivation to practice with an instrument that isn’t working properly. Help your child take good care of their instrument and bring it into your local music repair shop when necessary. CIOMIT offers a quick turnaround for instrument repairs in Castle Rock, Colorado and the surrounding area. Stop by for a free estimate!

Read more from CIOMIT:
Why Your Child Should Do a Music Camp this Summer