My daughter really enjoys lessons, does not want to quit playing violin, but NEVER EVER wants to practice. ever. I'm wondering if we should reinstate the reward system that we had for twinkle,
Light a candle at the beginning of each practice session, blowing it out at the end. Tiny slender tapers are the most gratifying. Marking off inches and half-inches can make it more fun and encourage a child to self-challenge. See how soon she can do a "candle's worth" of practicing.
Put a hundred beans in a jar and have an empty jar to put beside it. Every time she plays a review piece, move a bean into the empty jar. Watch it fill up and she'll see all the work she's doing. You can do the same thing with a chart made on paper -- colour in a square every time she does something.
Find 9 places or positions she can practice in around your home (I usually do repetitions to match age -- you could choose less). Things like standing on the kitchen stool, standing in the bathtub, kneeling on the floor, on the deck, facing into the corner of the living room, standing on left leg, standing on right leg, sticking out tongue, etc. ... and play anything that requires repetitions in all those different ways.
Coin toss. Ten pennies (or more, or less, depending on how ambitious she's feeling that day). She picks heads or tails. Toss first penny. If she wins the toss she gets to choose what to practice -- anything! It could be something really simple like "make a perfect bowhold three times" or "sing Twinkle Theme using the note-names." Once she's done that task, set the penny somewhere. Toss the next penny. When you win you can choose one of the lesson assignments, or something you've noticed that you think could be worked on. As you work through the pennies, line them up so that she can see the work she's done, and know how much is left.
When a child loves her lessons but hates her practicing, it's worth asking yourself "how can I make practicing more like the lesson?" Sure, a lot of the difference in attitude comes from the difference in relationships, but I still think it's worth examining what's working so well about lessons and trying to do more of that at home. I find that running a mental camcorder while I'm working with my child is helpful -- because I usually discover that I'm much more demanding and negative, and much less appreciative, than the teacher. A friend of mine, Stephanie Judy, once put together a "Parent's Daily Dozen" checklist / self-evaluation survey as a reminder to parents about how much of a role they have in creating an enjoyable practicing regimen. Here is a bare-bones version of it:
1. Listening: I played the recording ____ times today.
2. Setting a time: We agreed in advance on a time for today’s practice.
3. Preparing: I prepared for today’s practice.
4. Initiating the practice: I gave my child warning before practice time.
5. “Bracketing” the practice: We began/ended our practice with a bow.
6. Parent’s priority: I gave our practice time a high priority.
7. Encouragement: I expressed sincere appreciation for my child’s efforts.
8. Positive environment: I created a positive environment for practicing.
9. Giving choices: My child made choices about how/what to practice.
10. Tonalization: Our practice included tonalization.
11. Review: Our practice included review (P = partial, C = complete).
12. Ending the practice: We ended the practice on a positive note.
PARENT’S SUMMARY: What was today’s practice like?
STUDENT’S SUMMARY: How did your practice partner do today?
STUDENT’S SUMMARY: How did you do today?
It's a useful reminder for me, even after all these years. I find that number 12 is the most magical one of all. If, for even two or three days, I can somehow make the practicing end with giggles and smiles, doing whatever is necessary to make that happen, resistance vanishes.
Hope that helps!