Practicing is the one issue that every music student runs up against. Unlike television or video games, learning to play an instrument takes work. It is not instantly perfect at your fingertips. You cannot just put it into a microwave and press a button.

Of course, there is fun in music as well. And students are often motivated to do something when they are experiencing success with it.

The Suzuki method is spectacular for helping kids stay motivated. Small little bight-sized pieces are given one at a time so that students experience success, repetition is a key element, and students like what they are good at. Students listen to the CD’s and know how the songs go, so when they get to each piece, they recognize it and are excited to be able to play it. However, no matter how nicely things are broken down, the issue of work is still part of the deal.

It is important for parents not to be afraid to encourage their children to work, and even to require it. The common idea that I have heard parents express is that they are afraid to require their kids to practice because they don’t want them to hate it. However, when children are required to practice enough, they get good at it, and they enjoy playing more. If parents are afraid to require their children to practice, children will never really get good at what they are doing, and they won’t enjoy it very much. It will be like starting over every week and having the same lesson over and over again.

In order for the snowball effect to take place, the parents must stick to their guns about practicing. Most students will not just chose to practice every day of their own volition.


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