How To Help Your Child To Want To Practice Guitar


Parents with children learning guitar are generally hopeful that their child will stick with guitar. Unfortunately all too often parents make the decision to stop their child’s lessons due to a lack of enthusiasm for practice. The truth is this generally occurs due to a lack of understanding. Parents who have children learning guitar or any musical instrument for the first time are simply not aware of what to expect. I found through my own teaching my success rate went way up when I had a chance to explain to parents what to expect. My aim here is to share with you the same information I gave to the parents of my guitar students with that hope that it will increase your own child’s chances of success. 
The challenge of learning a new skill
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Children are not really any different to adults when it comes to challenges except adults have the advantage of experience. As adults we understand that it takes time, patience and a healthy dose of persistence to achieve almost any worthwhile goal. Children don’t see the challenge from the same point of view. If it’s not fun they just don’t want to do it. It really doesn’t matter what new skill a child learns they will usually start off inspired but will then have periods of doubt. There could be a loss of confidence, frustration, boredom or just some other distraction that is more immediately gratifying. Naturally as parents we don’t want to force our children so we attempt to reason with them. This can help at times with some children but it’s often ineffective because your reasoning is quickly forgotten and over taken by the immediate gratification of something else.
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Motivating your child to want to practice
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For children to want to practice and for that desire to sustain there needs to be some kind of motivation. The best approach to permanent motivation I have found is creating the right environment and circumstances for your child’s success. There are an infinite number of ways to achieve this so I will just give you an idea to get you started. The way I will do this is describe two scenarios. One where the environment discourages the child from practicing and one where practice is encouraged. 
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An environment that discourages guitar practice. 
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In the mornings apart from getting ready for school Charlie usually plays games on his iPad while his parents prepare for work and take care of his younger brother. As a result the guitar does not even get considered. In the afternoon after a busy day at school followed by football training Charlie arrives home at about 5pm. He relaxes before dinner watching his favourite TV shows until dinner. After dinner he has to do his homework but then gets some game time. Around 7.30pm his parents ask him to do some guitar practice but Charlie is just not in the mood and protests until his parents give up. At that point one of his parents reads him a story before going to sleep. This process repeats itself each day. At his guitar lesson when his teacher asks “So what happen with your practice Charlie” he tries explaining that he was just too busy saying he had lots of homework and sports training. The truth is he spent a good part of his available time playing games and watching TV.
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An encouraging environment for guitar practice 
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Jenni knows when she wakes up each day she has a choice. She can practice in the morning or the afternoon. If she chooses the afternoon there is no computer, games or TV. Her parents made it very clear that these are privileges and only come after she has spent time doing something that is educational. Most days Jenni does 20 mins guitar in the morning because she knows it means 20 of game time later. At first the motivation for Jenni to practice guitar was the game time but these days she really enjoys the practice. She enjoys the feeling of gradual improvement. Most days after school and homework Jenni does another 20 mins practice which means after dinner she can do whatever she likes. It’s often game time but she also spends time listening to music and exploring new music. When Jenni joins her guitar class each week she feels great because her practice routine is ensuring she improves which is a real confidence booster. This creates a virtuous cycle.
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Put rewards in the right order
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The home environment of your child matters when it comes to learning guitar. It may take some adjustment and you child will likely protest if they are used to a certain routine. The way to think of it is like dinner. If you let your child eat ice-cream before dinner they have no motivation or appetite for vegetables. 
For a FREE copy of the G4 GUITAR METHOD visit www.g4guitarmethod.com.
Guitar Lessons for Children
 

3 Comments Add yours

  1. merriammusicinc says:

    This is a great writeup! We are always looking for new innovative approaches to keeping music in the lives of youth. We have found that we are most successful when our students have access to a highly engaging teacher, an innovative curriculum, great facilities and a sense of relevance to what they’re learning. As I’m typing this out, I realize that it sounds super sales pitchy! But the more and more I think about it, I really do believe it. So long as you find a great teacher, and your son or daughter has a good quality instrument, the will have all the tools they need to learn music that they WANT to learn. I think you hit all of these things right on the head in this article. Thanks!

    1. g4guitar says:

      Thank you for comment. Sounds like you guys are doing great work. Sales pitchy perhaps but if backed up with genuine action it’s a winning formula. Thanks again.

  2. merriammusicinc says:

    No worries, I look forward to reading more of your blog!

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