Today’s kids take ballet, soccer, and gymnastics, always do the work there. They are conditioned to complete their goal while they’re with the teacher. Music lessons require a completely different conditioning for the student – and the parent. A conditioning that requires daily work at home.
So what can be done to point our kids in the right direction?
1) Get to Know Students. Start by getting to know the interests of your students. Ask them about what’s going on at school, what they are interested in, and what movies they’ve seen recently. The last question can often give teachers ideas as to what they might be interested in playing. The music from those movies can be found on MusicNotes.com.
2) Mark Mistakes. Make mistakes with a colored pencil to show students what to practice – and what mistakes shouldn’t be mistakes by next week. Use a new colored pencil next week.
3) Ask Students What They Want. Ask students what they want to play. Some students will practice every song in the book and be faithful to practice every week. Others won’t. That’s when you ned to find out what motivates them. What song is so great that they wouldn’t want to miss practicing it. Then find it.
4) Use a Point System. Award a point every time something is played well. At the end of the lesson, they get a treat from mom or dad. I find that 25 point goal works well.
5) Educate the Parents. Keep parents informed about how things are going. They can often help keep your students remembering to practice and remembering what they’re supposed to practice.