At the beginning of music lessons, the student is always excited and interested. One, because they want to make sure they practice for their teacher. It's new and they're afraid that their teacher might think worse of them. That's always helpful in the beginning, motivating the kids and even adults to practice. Then that wears off when they find out that the teacher is kind, patient, and graceful.
But after a few music sessions, parents expect their children to practice on their own.
"I don't want to force my child to practice"
- Quote from many busy parents
One of the biggest questions busy parents have, or maybe I should say statements, is "I don't want to force my child to practice". It makes sense. You know, You're telling your child to brush their teeth, do their homework, and eat their vegetables. There's so much you're telling them to do, you want this to be an interest that already, gets them excited and inspires them.
It's part of their day-to-day life. I've heard parents will say, "You can watch your TV or play your video games, but I want to see 15 minutes of practice." Short, easy, but it is part of the routine. This makes a lot of sense because I have parents who are saying, "Hey, I don't want to force my child, Johnny, to practice."
It's so interesting that parents have this mindset. I'm a parent too, I'm the same way. I don't want my son to feel like I'm forcing something that he doesn't want to do.
"I wish my mom didn't let me quit when I was younger"
- Our students who are now adults
However, here's what we've seen over the 11,000 students since 2006. Those who were all grown up will say: "I wish my mom didn't let me quit when I was younger" it conflicts with the idea of our busy parents' line: "I do not want to force my child to practice". Almost all students that don't have a regimen or a parent involvement in their practice, will stop. No one will practice without help.
We all need motivation.
Remember, growth is our #1 motivation. We also need help from it, and kids need even more. They need help. They need help with the routine. If you just let your kids not brush their teeth, and you just went, "You know what? I don't want to force them. I'm tired. I'm always fighting with them to brush their teeth." Well, yeah, they're going to have more cavities. Then, you're hoping maybe that pain will cause them to brush their teeth.
That doesn't always work. I can tell you right now, my son has so many cavities and I still have a hard time brushing his teeth. I have to do other things. I leverage his special book time he likes to read, so we leverage that before he goes to bed. I wish I didn't have to do that, but that's just what it is. It's the carrot. I got to dangle the carrot. You know how it is being a parent. You got to dangle the carrot and you do the same thing for piano practice.
Best Practices or Habits of Successful Music Families or Students.
Musical ladder wristbands
What's the solution? Well, is your child really music smart? Is this something that, it is a gift to them? That is the first thing that you need to figure out. We have another blog to help you figure that out. It's a quiz and it's a few questions you can ask.
This is key, because if they are music smart, if they're gifted with the interest of being musical, like this is part of who they are. This is God's given gift to them. That does not mean God gave them the motivation. There is a difference and most kids are not inspired and motivated to do anything without help. That's why we have our musical ladder, trophies, and wristbands, to get them excited. We do the recital so they get motivated to practice. Why do they practice for the recital? They don't want to look bad right? Then afterward, because they practiced and they performed, they did well, and they get excited again because they grew. They get excited about their growth.
Inspiration and Growth
They will get inspired by growing and they can't grow without the practice. As much as I don't want to force the children, I also don't want the kids to come back as adults and say, "I wish my mom or dad never let me quit music lessons." That's real. That's what we're seeing. We're seeing this over the last 15 years, we're seeing those patterns. I want you to know that because I thought the same thing for my child. I saw this with my son, Greyson. He is music smart. I mean, you couldn't find someone who's more interested in music. But he doesn't want to practice. He doesn't want to go to lessons sometimes. Why? Because he wants to do his video games. He wants to do his TV and we're really stringent on those things. Those are fun. But fun is short. Video games, short-lived. TV and entertainment is short-lived. True fun is fulfillment in how God has made us. I want him to have fulfillment. He doesn't know how to acheive fulfillment so I have to help him.
We help our children to do what's best for them
It might come across as forcing, but in the long run, I want my son to have all his teeth. I want him to do well in whatever he does and practice excellence. If he's musical, that is a gift and I want him to find fulfillment with that gift by serving others. That is what I want for him. He does not know how to get to that point. He does not know how to get to mission accomplished. It is my job to help him with that.
Sometimes it might seem like forcing, but really I try to put, dangling the carrot, and that seems to help quite a bit. After he grows, he gets excited again. It's an ebb and flow, but in the long run as parents, I want to encourage you, that what we are doing is the long game. We are helping them and later on, they will thank us. Thank us, for continuing to be persistent and encouraging them to be excellent in however God made them. Isn't that what we want as parents? At the end of the day, that we help them become who God has made them to be, so that they can find true fulfillment.