1. Some parents have found that setting a specific time for practice of X minutes and using a timer works well. The child knows that he will work until the buzzer goes off.
2. Follow music practice with a pleasant event, for instance, “When we have practiced your music, we will play ball or read a story together.”
3. Know your own child. Practice when he or she is bright and eager; don’t practice right after completing homework when the child is tired. Practice time also has to fit in with a parent’s schedule. Choose a time when you will not be interrupted. Make your child’s practice time a priority.
4. Children like to feel that they have choices. If you have decided that your child will practice for X minutes every day, then give him/her a choice of when it will take place, then stick with it.
5. To make practice time a positive experience, always begin and end with something that your child enjoys and is good at.
6. Take notes in class and use the game ideas that you see in class to liven up practices at home. Play patterns; clap rhythms from pieces. Practice playing rhythms to a favorite record.
7. Encourage your child to play favorite pieces for visitors. This is your child’s chance to shine.
8. Record you child’s efforts at the keyboard. Your child will feel very important. The recording can be shared to adoring fans through email or youtube. The digital recording will map your child’s progress and show improvement.
9. Individualize practice time to meet the needs of your child. If two shorter sessions are better than one longer one, do it. Tune in to your child’s mood and extend the practice if things are going well. On the other hand, don’t force a child to hang on for five more minutes if his attention span is short that day.
10. Show your children that music has a high priority in your own life. Just as it is true that children whose parents read show a far greater interest in reading, children who see their parent’s interest in music are much more receptive to it. Parents who enjoy playing music, going to concerts, or playing an instrument will be good musical models for their children.
11. Show your child that practicing is important by making time in your own life for it, whether you are an accomplished musician or whether you are learning along with your child in the studio.