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16 Jul 2019
Here are better ways by Helene Goldnadel to help your child practice without punishment.

Getting your child to practice for his private lesson can become a challenge. Most teachers will start to deal with a practicing problem by attempting to structure the child's practice time. You may have seen practice records or sheets where the child is expected to fill in the times practiced for the days of the week, or include things practiced on a daily basis. Some students will keep the practice records because they like to see what has been accomplished. Some will do it because they like to get a reward, like a sticker or star, at each lesson.

Sure, you could set the clock and demand thirty minutes each day. You will develop a clock-watcher. You could make the child keep a practice record. You will develop a bookkeeper. You could ask for five times of this and five times of that. You will develop a careless worker. Quantity over quality, you know.

Not all students will work for simple rewards, a lot of them refuse to follow through with extra practice diaries, and when they get to be a certain age, the stars, stickers, and happy faces no longer motivate them. And this is really a key issue. Motivation. Each student must be motivated from within.

It is the teacher's job to discover ways to cultivate the love for music study within each child. It is the parent's job to receive their child's musical gifts in such a way that the child loves creating and presenting music to others. This is the way you help your child to practice.

What you should do, if you have not yet, is to make time to listen to your child play. Make it an important impromptu event. As your child plays, listen for the time when a section of music has been accomplished. Stop what you are doing, and go to your child immediately. Tell your child how wonderful it was to hear that bit of music, tell your child how much you enjoyed it, and ask to hear it again. More often than not, your child will be delighted to play it for you again. Compliment the performance sincerely. Repeat when appropriate. This is the magic way to encourage practicing.


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