Parents: The Best Coaches and Cheerleaders! (part 2)
In Part 1 of this post, we talked about establishing a regular routine and rewarding self-discipline. Now for the really fun stuff!
At lessons, you and your child should receive instructions on areas to focus in practice that week. It's important that you understand and ask questions if you're not sure what's being asked. Don't be afraid to ask the teacher to show you on the guitar, piano, bass, etc. what s/he is looking for in a certain passage, or with a certain technique, and definitely don't be afraid to take notes!
It's true that sometimes kids don't want help! If your son or daughter doesn't seem to want your help with practicing, there are a many things you can do. If you ask them to teach you something they have learned, more often than not, they'll be excited to walk you through it!
There may be a specific section that their teacher has asked you to help them with. Gentle reminders that this is what their teacher asked for can go a long way. If they get frustrated, don't hesitate to go back a few songs to something they know very well and can play with confidence. Ask them to play that song (you know they love), because it's your favorite!
For especially challenging pieces, consider setting a timer or a small goal. Say something like, "If we can get through these two measures, then we can play something just for fun." Consider taking a silly dance break or something equally refreshing to break practice up if things get tense or stressful.
It's always a good idea to start practice by warming up with something familiar, and to end on a high note as well. Once they've finished that song they really like, you can put the star on the practice board, and they're done for the day!