A common question we get is how can we motivate our child to practice? If they seem disinterested, should we allow them to drop out of music study and practice?

Great question! Many students struggle with music in the beginning. Most students (adults and children) just don’t realize how complex the language/rhythm aspect of music is. I would definitely encourage them not to quit. Challenge them to stick out the semester, and hopefully they will continue after that. It takes time for students to gain some familiarity to the point where it is more fun and less of a struggle.

Show them some great videos of skilled musicians playing great and fun music on their instrument. We often post great videos of talented musicians on our Facebook page.

Music is a discipline as well as an art, and so because there are so many different components involved (language, rhythm, ear-training, physical aspects like fingering, embouchure, and breathing), regular study and regular practice are ideal for optimum advancement. But the great news is that if your children are enrolled at the academy, they are already involved at the least in regular music study with us. This does provide enough immersion that they will progress naturally even without too much practice.

Of course, we want them to practice, and we know you want them to practice, in addition to their lessons or classes. But we always like to caution parents that music can seem to become a chore to students if too much pressure is placed on them too early to practice. And please know that we are not accusing anyone of this, just offering some wisdom from experience. We do believe music should be fun, and when it is, students generally find more joy in making music, and are more likely to pick up the instrument and play. Encourage your children to pick up their instrument and seek to have fun, a couple of times a week. But I wouldn’t worry too much if they don’t right now. As they progress and have fun in lessons and class, they will likely pick it up more and more.

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Teaching about the blues in the History of America’s Greatest Art-form: Jazz, Orchestral, and Stage, with a home-school co-op in Fort Smith, Arkansas (2013).

Can I make a confession? I barely ever practiced from 5th grade through 8th. It was when I reached about a lower high school level and was challenged by my long time trumpet teacher that I finally really wanted to learn, grow, and develop. Then I practiced for hours a week through high school, which helped me land a decent scholarship by the way. They will get there. Be patient, love them, and tell them how awesome they are—because they really are!

Here are also a few tips to think about that might help you/your student, and feel free to share this with your child if you think it would be helpful.

 

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