How do I get my child to do music practise?

Pareto Principle 80% results from 20% effort

Maintaining practise is one of the rather difficult aspects of learning to play a musical instrument.

It can feel like a never-ending path into an unknown future. This path is filled with good intentions on the part of the teacher and student but often ends up being full of frustration!

What if we viewed practise differently?

Mostly, parents focus on practise.

In the very beginning that is all a student can do.

As they progress though, is that still necessary or even ideal?

What if they spent 80% of their time playing what they love for pleasure, fun and purely enjoying the skill they have? Playing the pieces they can already play and enjoy. Playing to fill themselves up with joy and a feeling of accomplishment.

I recall Petrea King, the well-known and respected healer saying “give from the overflow of your well-nourished bucket”. For piano players that is playing the music they love.

How might they feel if you regularly encourage them to play music you enjoy listening to and music they love playing, filling both of you up with wonderful music?

I imagine you would be feeling great about yourself and so would they, and your life and their playing would positively spill over into other areas of your family life. The piano then becomes a place of solace to retreat to after a hard day or a place of meditation, relaxation, love and connection.

From this place, piano practise takes on a whole different tone.

Instead of a kind of boring piano practise purgatory, it could be something to relish. They might even be motivated to tackle something more challenging. It gives practise more meaning.

What if we apply the famous 80-20 rule to piano practise?

80% Playing the music you love
20% Practise – highly strategically focussed and goal oriented

Do I hear you say 20% isn’t enough?
It’s amazing what can be achieved in a very short time when we are strategic and focussed. 20% of 10minutes is 2 minutes.ย  A lot can be done in just 2 minutes! So much practise is not effective or productive. There is quite an art to effective practise.

If your child is enjoying practising and has lost sense of the time, and it’s more than 20%, do you stop them or let them keep going?ย  That of course is up to you. You know your child the best.
From my experience it is better to stay with the 20%, rein it in, keep it stable and return the following day eager to do more.

Want to know more about the art of effective practise?ย  Email here

Pamela Jordan is a degree qualified, experienced music educator on Sunshine Coast, Qld. Australia.
She is available for online consultations.

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