Practice Corner: Motivation

When talking about practice, motivation can often be the elephant in the room. What motivates us to play music? Why do we spend hours and hours practicing our instruments? Often people who have not had experience with learning music believe it is full of passion all the time. However, when you talk to any musician, they will tell you they have had ups and downs with the practicing motivation. Both the parent and the teacher can help create the environment for learning and motivation.

  • Be ready for occasional dips in motivation. This does not mean your child doesn’t want to play. It simply means it may be time to change the learning environment in some way.
  • Are all your practice games stale? Check your bag of tricks to see if you can rotate games or try something new and different. Even a slight variation of a practice game can make practice that much easier. Also, don’t forget old games. Something you haven’t done for a few months may seem brand new.
  • Check out live performance. Whether it’s a fellow group of young musicians or a professional group, seeing other people play can be highly motivating. It can also help establish goals.
  • Listen to music in the home. No matter what type, connecting to music is important. Want some suggestions for classical pieces to listen to? Your teacher will be happy to share some of their favorites.
  • Balance praise and critique. During your practice make sure you’re letting your child know what they are doing well. A good formula is to start with what they are doing well, then talk about what to work on. It’s especially great to find the things they were working on a few weeks ago. This also helps you observe them in a different light. Instead of always look at what needs work, start with what is going right!
  • Give a little TLC to your motivation. Parents need help with motivation too! Connecting with parents before group class, attending workshops or institutes, checking out the Suzuki Association website, or watching videos on Parents as Partners are all good for your motivation.
  • Communicate with your teacher. Your teacher may have some great ideas on what to do at home or show you a few new games to try. Make sure you address motivation issues way before the “Q word” even gets mentioned.

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