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How to Motivate Children to Practice Music: Tips for Parents and Educators

by Louise W. Rice
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Music is a skill that comes naturally to some students, but even the most gifted children need to learn how to practice and hone their skills. If your child isn’t motivated to engage in instrument practice on their own, there are a few things that you can do to make them want to pick up their guitar, saxophone, or any instrument that they’re trying to master.

Make Practice Fun

If music practice becomes a chore, your child will dread every second of it. You need to find ways to make practicing a fun moment. A few of the tricks that parents are using to make the experience fun include:

  • Exploring different practice methods. Kids get bored of doing the same thing each session. If you allow them to try a different instrument or genre of music, you might just ignite their passion for music.
  • Playing musical games with the learner, allowing them to associate the practice with fun games.

Parents need to pay close attention to their children during practice to gain insight into what makes the child “tick” and want to continue, and for moments when they start losing interest.

Help Them Understand the Gift of Music

A child playing an instrument often becomes interested in it because of the sound it creates. However, at a young age, the appreciation of the gift of music is easy to overlook. It’s important to explain how music is:

  •       A gift for humans to listen to and enjoy
  •       A language of its own that can help people experience an array of emotions

Of course, there is a spiritual element that can be tied to music, but it doesn’t need to be this complicated for a child. Show them how music can make them feel and help them express themselves in ways that they cannot yet vocalize.

Celebrate Every Accomplishment

Do you want to know how to motivate your child in an organic, natural way? Celebrate their achievements. Rewards are great motivational tools, and they may be different for every child. A few of the many ways to celebrate accomplishments in music are:

  •       Cook your child’s favorite food or bring them out to eat
  •       Reward the child with a day at the amusement park
  •       Praise your child for all of the hard work and effort that they’ve put into their music

If you tell your child that you’re proud of them and how they’ve advanced their musical prowess, you’ll find that they naturally want to pick up their instrument and play more often.

Don’t Make Practice an Obligation

What’s the best way to motivate a child to play a musical instrument? Don’t make it feel like a chore. When practice becomes a “job” for kids, they will do everything in their power to avoid it.

Some parents try to encourage the practice by “rewarding” their children with more playtime after they’ve finished their session. But taking this approach may reinforce the idea that practice isn’t fun and playing outside is fun.

When practice is fun, and children understand the gift of music, they’re more inclined to play on their own.

Let Them Play the Music They Like

Want to know how to motivate a child to practice music? Put them in control. No one likes being told what to do, and when it comes to music, no child wants to play songs that they’re not interested in.

While kids should have a well-rounded education when it comes to music, it’s also important to let them play the music they like. After all, the goal is to help children fall in love with music and practice. It can be difficult to do that if they’re forced to play music they don’t enjoy.

So, give your child some freedom and control over their practice by allowing them to choose at least some of the music they play.

You may find that your child is excited and eager to practice because they get to play their favorite song.

Encourage and Plan Performances

Some children struggle to find a purpose in practicing music. Encouraging and planning performances will give your child a goal. But to achieve that goal, they will need to practice.

Performances give children a reason to practice, and they help kids stay engaged and excited about music. They hold young musicians accountable, too. No child wants to be embarrassed at a recital. Practice can help them avoid that uncomfortable situation.

Make an effort to ensure that your child is performing consistently throughout the year, and you’ll find that they’re naturally motivated to practice.

Final Thoughts

When children have a natural love for music and practice sessions are enjoyable, you’ll find that it isn’t difficult to motivate them to play. Incorporating relative pitch ear training and other enjoyable lessons can help them hone their talent and continue their musical journeys for years to come.

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