Tips from the ABRSM to help make instrumental/vocal practice a positive part of your child's life
Generally, teachers will set specific work that your child will need to cover in the time before their next lesson. It is important that you are aware of this so that your child doesn’t fall behind and so that their practice can be a bit more structured. Here at Musica Fusion, lesson feedback and ‘homework’ is all logged by the teachers in the MyMusicStaff portal and emailed to parents on a weekly basis. However, if there are any problems with this system or if you have any general questions, do not be afraid to ask the teachers directly what your child should be practicing!
It is imperative that you ensure your child has an appropriate practice venue in the home. Ideally, the room should be warm, well lit and free of noise or any other potential distractions. It may also be a good idea to leave a music stand set up with sheet music on it at all times in your chosen practice area so that it is accessible. This will make beginning a practice session seamless and stress-free for both you and your child!
To ensure that your child fosters a positive relationship with their musical learning, do not treat practice as a chore. Avoid reminding them too often or scolding them for not practicing. The child may choose their own practice frequency, however, where possible, this should be a minimum of four times per week. The teacher’s job is to set realistic expectations of your child in their musical education, it is your job as a parent to be their biggest supporter. Remember that learning music should be a joyful and rewarding experience - NOT a chore!
Four practice sessions of around 15-minutes duration per week is generally better than one long hour of drudgery when it comes to young players! The regularity of your child’s practice is more important than the actual amount of time spent practising. Try incorporating practice every other day at the beginning stages of your child’s musical education. Practice time does need to increase along with the level of difficulty, although this can vary from student to student.
However frustrating it may be to hear your child make the same mistake over and over, it is vital that you do not criticise them. Parental criticisms can be extremely disempowering and demotivating for children. Try to adhere to the principle of “teacher teaching and parent praising” where possible. This praise, however, must be genuine as the child themselves will know when things aren’t going so well for them. If you notice that your child is struggling constantly then it may be a good idea to discreetly inform their teacher and let them solve the issue from there.
It may be helpful to include your child’s music practice as part of your family’s daily routine, i.e. at same time every day. Some families have reward systems, such as treats for practice but it’s important to find what works for your own family!
***These tips were sourced from the ABRSM website