If your child plays and instrument, when, how long, and how often do they practice? Both my DS (10) and DD1 (7) take piano lessons. DS sits down at the piano throughout the day to work on pieces, sometimes only for a few minutes at a time, but accumulated at least 30 minutes of practice. He plays every day. DD is not as enthusiastic and plays for 10 minutes, about 4x a week usually right before bed (which is NOT a good time). How do you make instrument practice work in your family?
DD is 12 and DS is 10.
DD is in junior high and does orchestra in school. All of last year and the beginning of this year she left her violin at school during the week. She then brought it home on the weekend and practiced an hour each day.
She has recently started bringing it home and practing 20ish minutes a day, 6 days a week instead. She enjoys the instrument but it is not a passion (though there is no pressure for her to continue).
DS is in orchestra through school as well. They have twice a week practice and then he practices his viola 4 times a week for 30 minutes a day. He also started the trombone this year (with the elementary band). He goes to that two mornings a week and then practices maybe 10-15 minutes a day for four other days. He goes to orchestra M, W, band on W, F and then practices Tu, Th, Sa, Su. It has actually been much easier to get him to practice this year because I said that if he wanted to do two instruments he couldn't let either slide. I know 10-15 minutes a day isn't much for his trombone, but he really is just starting out and there is not much else for him to do.
What has helped us is that since he has orchestra and/or band in the morning, we just get up the same time on the mornings he doens't have it and he practices then.
Both kids have now expressed a desire for piano lessons, so I'm in the process of looking into that.
Dd is 7 and takes suzuki violin lessons. She practices around 20 mins a day, ideally after homework (which comes after after-school snack but before play), but sometimes not till before bed. Having it at a regular time each day (when we manage it) definitely helps.
Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010
It may be an age thing...I remember hating to practice (probably mostly because my older sister was in charge of 'making' me do it after school, etc. until i got to about 5th grade...then i was more advanced, got to choose more of my own interests, etc.
DD(7) has recently started guitar lessons at school. We aim for 10 minutes practice a day though we often miss a day when she has swimming lessons. She picks up the guitar and plays on her own most days and we try to make sure we sit with her and go through her piece for the week with her a couple of times too.
We've found it makes a huge difference keeping her guitar out on a stand. Tucked in it's case in a cupboard she is unlikely to get it out without being reminded.
Ds is 9 and taking piano lessons. As per his teachers recommendation we aim for approx. 10 minutes a day. She usually has it written out what he is to practice each week and he follows that. We just had a bad week where everyone's routine was off so practice was not done regularly. Best time for us is after the 3 younger kids are gone to sleep and I take some time to just sit near him in the living room while he practices.
Karen - spouse to dh for 11 years, mama to ds (Nov '02), dd (May '05) and ds and dd (Jun '08)
Both of mine took piano lessons when they were younger (5/6/7?). Practice at those ages was a chore, to be honest. Even 20 minutes 4 days a week was a hassle. In MS, they had to choose band or chorus, and both chose band - one played sax and the other french horn. Because it was for school, practice was less of an issue because it came under the homework umbrella. My daughter's Dad also got her a guitar, thinking she'd latch onto it since he plays.
Around the time he started HS, my son discovered his sister's guitar. He was sure he was going to be a rock star. For his 14th bday, I got him an acoustic and lessons - with the promise that, if he stuck with it, we'd look at electric guitars. He pretty well devoted himself to it, and for his 15th bday, my bro gave him his vintage Fender. That was about the same time that he rediscovered the piano. From that point, you couldn't really drag him away from one instrument or another. He's now a 2nd year student in a Conservatory, majoring in atonal classical music, and has had numerous works performed. Next month will see a recent composition premiered by a well-known string quartet.
My daughter? Has no interest in playing. And that's okay - she has other talents.
*I* have found (with my own experience as a child, as well) is that the experience should be offered and the child encouraged to give it a fair shot. But... if it's a constant battle? It just isn't worth it. Not everyone needs to play an instrument. If it's something that resonates with them, they will come back to it at the right time.
I took lessons for ~12 years. Always hated to practice. But stuck with it because "a young lady should know how to play the piano." Ugh. I have two, now. A Steinway and a Clavinova. Have not touched either one in years. But both get good use from my son - he will get them in time.
Wow, I wish I had a Steinway plus another piano.
Former piano teacher speaking here-just tie it into part of your routine and you'll be fine. As in, after a meal, or after or right before school .
As for practice time, don't worry about how long they practice. /It's really easy to someone to practice mindlessly for 10 minutes without actually accomplishing anything. They should have short goals to accomplish each day, and larger goals for the end of the week.
I would encourage you to talk to your child's teacher's about what those goals could be.
Age 7, our afterschool routine is snack/homework, then music practise prob about 15 minutes, then play time.His teacher asks for each piece/exercise to be done 5 times. If I am working or our routine is off for some reason it doesn't get done. Haven't solved that problem yet. We aim for 6 practises a week, but in reality it is more like 4 or 5. We have the most trouble with weekend practises because we don't have the afterschool routine. our week is pretty structured and weekends unstructured and violin practise pays the price for that.
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