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Parents, stop telling your kids to practice!

There’s a time and a place for practice. But when practice isn’t happening, that’s not the time to introduce guilt or forced practice into the equation. There’s no better way than that to remove musicianship from a child.

There’s a difficulty in that parents want their children to succeed, but often don’t know how to nurture children musically at home between lessons. We have the idea that children need to practice, because that’s what we remember from our own childhood lessons. If that approach were sufficient, you probably wouldn’t be coming to me for your kids’ lessons because they’d already be playing.

It’s not effective or appropriate to put the practice burden solely on young music students. (I’m not talking about chronological age. Adults can be young music students.) We might as well tell them to “music better” and be done with it.

Telling children to practice puts all of the responsibility on them to improve. But they don’t improve in isolation. Music is social, like language. 

For this reason, singing and moving musically with your children will result in better outcomes than telling them to practice. You can do it. I’ll help. We make music better for them when we make it for all of us.

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