As a parent, you obviously want your child to succeed both academically and with their extracurricular activities. However, when your child is learning a musical instrument, it can be challenging to find enough time for both schoolwork and practice. With some planning and communication, you can help your child effectively balance these two important parts of their life.
Set Realistic Practice Goals
Sit down with your child and their private music teacher to set realistic daily practice goals that fit within your family's busy schedule. Remember that consistent, shorter practice sessions are more effective than long, perhaps aimless ones. Aim for around an hour of focussed practice (a timer will help!) a week as a reasonable goal, or think of it as ten minutes a day.
Use the Practice Time Effectively
Make sure yourself and the teacher structure these practice sessions efficiently. Work on challenging bits first and break down the piece into small sections. Prioritise areas that need the most improvement. End each session by reviewing pieces they have mastered for fun and confidence.
Limit External Distractions
Aim to limit distractions in the area at home like phones, tablets, games consoles etc. Gently encourage your child to maintain their focus. Praise them when they complete an entire session concentrating on their music.
Communicate with the Teachers
Talk to your child's music teacher and also school teachers about upcoming tests exams or coursework and adjust practice goals accordingly around busy school periods. Let your child's music teacher know if practice time needs to be sacrificed for this. Ask teachers how your child is progressing and discuss any concerns. Try to make sure all schoolwork is completed first before practice time.
Find Quick Practice Opportunities
Use time like car journeys or between activities to squeeze in more playing or music fun and games. Have your child keep their instrument handy around the house for brief impromptu sessions.
Avoid using music practice as punishment!
The key to all of this is open and honest communication with all concerned, realistic scheduling and making the most of the available practice time. With some keen organisation and encouragement, you can help your child be successful at both their school work and music.
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