But it’s true – hard work pays off.  If you want to be good, you have to practice, practice, practice.”  Ray Bradbury (author).Bradbury at his desk

Wouldn’t it be wonderful it you could just wave a magic wand and make practice an automatic part to your family life, as easy as eating and sleeping and breathing?  Would you like to make practice sessions easier, with fewer stand offs and tantrums?  Would you like to make music teaching fun, focussed and less arduous?  If, like me, the answers to all questions will be,  “Yes, BUT new habits are awfully difficult to create,” stand by.  You are about to make things much easier for yourself:

  • By telling all your friends, so that they can support you.
  • Scheduling time for mini music practice sessions every day, because neither of you want to be overwhelmed by hours of practice.
  • Making a formal promise to practice with your child, to show that you care.
  • Preparing for success and getting started with the fabulous 100 Day Practice Journal which breaks down 100 days of practice into manageable bites, each with a celebration milestone.  It even comes with daily supportive emails to improve the quality of practice.

1  Why should I tell my friends?  It is very helpful to create a bit of a song and dance when you embark on a habit of daily music practice.  Go public.  If you are into social networking, announce your intentions on Facebook and Twitter.  When everybody knows your plan, you will find it harder to give up, because friends keep asking how you are getting on.  Tell all your partner, friends, family and work colleagues.  Above all, tell your child’s teacher.

Too hard?  Tell at least one new person about your new music practice habit – how you are going to help your child to get the maximum benefits from music lessons.  If you are stuck about what to say, here is an article on what music can do for your child,  Music Lessons – How Music Makes Your Child Brighter.

2  How do I make a commitment?  To start your new music practice habit on a positive note,  have a pledge signing ceremony, using the pledge certificate which comes with the journal.  You can make the ceremony as formal as you like.  As you are both making a commitment to each other.  This is part of teaching your child to fulfill promises.  It is important to make it a fun occasion.  Seal the deal with a snack and a toast.  Pin your pledge certificate up somewhere prominent, where you can admire it and be reminded of your promise.

3  How do I find enough time for daily music practice?  With your diary open in front of you, choose one time every day this week that you and your child can both manage.  For best results, make sure these are times when you are both refueled and relaxed.

Link each music practice session to a regular event in your daily life.  This will help you to remember much more easily.  Having a regular practice time every day, makes it harder for you or your child to get out of it.

Use the guidelines in the 100 Day Practice Journal. Talk to your child about the proposed practice schedule.  If you are doing only one music practice a day, give your child a choice of suitable times, decide on one, put it on the schedule and stick to it.

4  How do we get started?  Music practice can be fun and productive, but only if you stick to the rules.  Remember:

  • START SMALL.  The number one complaint of kids is that practice is too long, too difficult and too boring.
  • Take good notes at the lesson and stick to your teacher’s instructions.
  • Prepare each practice task with your child, asking (rather than telling) your child, what your teacher wants.
  • Listen to how your child feels.  Acknowledge your child’s efforts to work hard, even when he doesn’t feel like it.
  • Focus on what you like, rather than criticising.  Praise hard work and focus, rather than praising talent.
  • And never forget to reward yourselves for all your hard work.

File photo of Cincinnati Reds Pete Rose and son Pete Rose Jr in 1972My father taught me that the only way you can make good at anything is to practice, and then practice some more.”  Pete Rose (athlete)

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