As music teachers, we encounter many different personalities and levels of interest with our students.
Unfortunately, some students are not as naturally enthusiastic about practicing as others, and one of the difficulties of teaching music is in getting a student such as this to practice consistently and more efficiently.
If this isn’t happening, parents can get frustrated with their child’s lack of progress and take them out of lessons altogether.
What can we do as teachers to avoid this and help all of our students feel fulfilled in their daily practice?
When students don’t practice regularly or efficiently, it causes many problems between them and their teachers and parents.
Parents sometimes feel helpless when they cannot get their child to practice, which ultimately leads them to take them out of music lessons.
If they do practice, but not effectively, the progress is plodding and can become a source of frustration for everyone involved!
The best way to make sure students are on the right track to practicing consistently and efficiently is for parents and teachers to help them set up a practice schedule that is a part of their daily life.
This helps set them up for success!
Within that schedule, the teacher must make certain that the student is practicing effectively (not just running through the motions) and this can take a considerable amount of time and effort during the lesson time to demonstrate and reinforce.
They must learn to be efficient and fruitful in their practicing. And the teacher has to be the one to ensure that they attain these most valuable skills.
One good way to introduce better practice skills with a student is to use a fun piece as the example for how they can become more efficient.
This does not usually work if teachers impose a piece that does not interest the student, so leave the choice up to them.
Once they have decided, use that piece to explore all the different ways they can develop their practice skills at home and spend time in the lessons demonstrating and analyzing the results.
This is an excellent way for a student to become more in-tune with her learning methods while still having fun in the process.
Working on developing better practice skills can be a very long process. But the benefits greatly outweigh any difficulties we experience.
How do students benefit from practicing?
When students practice consistently and efficiently, they become more engaged, enthusiastic, inspired and inquisitive.
We want all of these things for our students!
As students progress more quickly, they soon get to learn more exciting music, which helps keep them inspired.
Students can more easily see where their music studies are leading as they progress.
And then teachers have the opportunity to compare diligent students to other more advanced students to show how their hard work will eventually pay off.
How do teachers benefit from practicing?
With positive results from proper practice techniques, we are more inspired to push students further.
This also helps us feed off the students’ progress and to be more creative!
It opens an opportunity to use positive reinforcement instead of negative punishment, and successful students become good examples for the rest of the studio.
When students are efficient and diligent in practicing, we teachers feel like we have more time and space to add other aspects to teaching that they otherwise couldn’t, such as the exploration of other musical styles, theory, improvisation, composition, arranging and more advanced technique.
With successful students, we get a greater sense of accomplishment, which increases morale.
Not every student will be naturally enthusiastic, so we need to cultivate this kind of attitude to keep us motivated as teachers.
How does this affect parents?
When parents can see progress, they are more likely to keep their children enrolled in lessons and involved in recitals and competitions.
That’s a big one, right? I mean, we all like our paychecks!
Parents are a big factor in their children’s success in music, and they are instrumental in establishing a regular schedule, attainable goals, and positive reinforcement.
Clear progress helps parents stay motivated and excited about helping their children succeed in music.
When goals are set and met, parents can easily see where the path is leading in their children’s musical development.
Student success can ultimately encourage them to enroll other siblings, family members or friends for lessons.
This is a super positive side effect of students practicing!
Remember: happy parents are the best advertising we teachers can get!
Sharing the gift of music with our students is the most important thing we do.
Engaged students and parents equal success in music lessons.
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