Why children do not want to practice guitar and what to do about it

bigstockphoto_Guitarists_3161188 (1)One big determining factor between children who succeed on guitar and those who give up is parent involvement. It is the emotional support from parents that makes this critical difference. This is especially true in the early phase. Statistically children of musical parents have a higher chance of success. A great example is Mozart whose father Leopold was himself a music teacher. But the reason is not so much because the parents are musical (which helps of course) but it is because they understand what is expected of their child at home. They understand that almost any child will not want to practice on a daily basis but that practice is necessary for their success. So how do you get your child to practice?

You don’t have to be a musical parent

You just need to ensure your child practices on a daily basis. We typically get parents saying ‘She doesn’t want to practice so we have decided to stop the lessons for now’. That is like saying ‘She doesn’t want to eat vegetables so we just let her eat ice cream’. Children will not want to practice because it requires concentration and effort. Their appreciation for practice will not come until 6 to 12 months (or longer) of regular daily practice when they see the rewards. Until that time it is critical that parents help their child through the early phase. The teacher will map out what needs to be done and your child will know what is required so what to practice is covered.

Time is relative

Children have a different perspective on time. To a 5 year old 5 years is a life time and seems so far in the distant future that it is simply not considered. Children are therefore not able to see the long term benefits of practice like adults. This means we adults (teachers and parents) will struggle to convince young students of the long term benefits. In other words I wouldn’t bother putting too much energy into this area. Instead working together with your child will overtime develop practice as a habit and they will slowly come to appreciate the value of their accumulated efforts. Try to sit down with them and help them with their practice. Especially in the early months. Over time they will need less support as they begin to reap the rewards of practice. They will eventually look forward to their practice time.


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