For parents without a musical background, the question of how to help your child practice and succeed in music can feel like a game of chance. However, it’s helpful to know that the musical aspects of children’s practicing do not need to be addressed by parents. The key to helping children succeed is creating structure and accountability without pressure and its inevitable counterpart: resistance.
To help create this dynamic, try the following:
Work with your child to create a simple structure that they choose - Requiring your child to create a practice plan but allowing them to decide the details introduces structure but puts them in the driver’s seat of their music development. Your child will have much more investment if he or she feels they are taking on a project they have designed. There can be negotiation of course, to make sure the plan has substance.
Awareness and accountability - The best way to check on whether your child has been keeping up with their practicing is to be clear that you are simply noting for yourself whether they are fulfilling the agreed upon plan. This makes it clear that they are not being pressured and their power is not being taken away but that others are simply aware of whether or not they have kept their commitment. Again, this approach creates greater investment by letting the child feel they are choosing their own path but that it also matters to others whether they are following through.
This simple approach creates engagement between parent and child around music without creating pressure and the inevitable resistance to that pressure.