Talking about practice

The most common question I receive from parents is “how do I get my child to practice more?”.  This is a great question, and the answers can be surprisingly easy!

First of all, realize that when taking music lessons, practice really is the key to improvement.  Lessons alone are good, but real growth comes from daily repetition.  I have seen many times students struggle with a piece of music, and then suddenly master it in a few days. Usually this is because there was a type of deadline, maybe a recital or talent show.  The student practiced daily, sometimes for hours a day, and learned a difficult piece of music in days, where they had been struggling with it for months.  So, having a deadline is a good thing, and it is why I highly encourage students to participate in talent shows, recitals, or any other type of live performance.

The other side of this has to do with playing music that the student really enjoys.  You would be amazed at how much more practice time will go into a song if the student connects with that song.  Think about this: how often do you have to force your child to go play a fun game?  Or watch their favorite show?  Or play with their favorite toys?  You don’t.  They WANT to do these things.  This is why, in my lessons, I always try to teach students music they already enjoy.  The more that we can encourage students to play music the recognize and already enjoy, the less they will view it as “homework” and the more it will be for the love of playing music.

Steve Jackson

Downbeat Music Lessons

Vancouver WA

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