Once I did, I realized that I was putting a little too much on my plate. In other words, I was trying to squeeze in too many things that I wanted to do and I was exhausted after a few weeks of trying to keep up with it!
This way of thinking happens with younger children as well. The difference is they are just now learning the basics of how to form a solid, comfortable routine. They may have school, soccer practice, dance, karate, music lessons, and then to top it all off they want and NEED time to play and just be a kid! Because they can't wrap their brain around a set routine quite yet, you may see frustration and maybe, some tears. The good news is they have the helpful and loving parents to be there and help them through these times as best they can (:
The KEY FACTOR of each of these situations (whether you're an adult or child), is to remember they include the support from family, friends, teachers, anyone that may be of significant influence in their life.
If you have a child struggling to practice at home, keep reading for 5 helpful tips!
#1 TIME: This includes not only how much they are practicing a day, but how long they have been taking lessons. If your child has been taking lessons for two months, that's only 6-8 lessons. You may not see your child take initiative with practicing for as long as 6 months. This is partially because they are not 100% comfortable with their instrument and is still very new to them. In order to reach that comfortability, it is important to set a routine of practice every day for as little as 15 minutes or as long as 1 hour a day.
If they do this every day, you will begin to see progress! Keep in mind, that a little bit of parental guidance may be needed from time to time to ensure practice actually gets done. This leads us into TIP #2.
#2 Sit with your child while they practice even if it's for a small period of time! Having someone there while practicing can be fun and encouraging. This even works if you, as the parent, have never played an instrument before. It is very important in child development to show support and interest in every aspect of their lives!
#3 We suggest that each song should be played at least 3 times a day. But it is important to remember that they are not simply to be played from beginning to end 3 times each. Instead, circle the areas of the song they may be struggling with and practice what is circled before playing through the entire song again. You are more likely to continue struggling with a section if you continue to go back to the very beginning of a song each time you try and fix it.
#4 Don't be afraid to make it a challenge! Challenge them to memorize their song, to not look at their hands while they play, to play loud, soft, hands separate, hands together, anything that may help them play their songs more than once!
#5 Breaks! If your child is getting frustrated while practicing or nodding off, let them take what I like to call a 2 minute brain break. The important part is to ensure that they go back to practicing for a total of at least 15 minutes to maintain routine!
Stay tuned next week for a blog post on the types of brain breaks we recommend (: