Growing up taking piano lessons from as far as I can remember, I'm pretty sure my mom had a really difficult time making me practice. Just asking me to worked maybe once or twice towards the beginning of lessons, but then as they progressed and pieces got more and more demanding, my piano teacher had to get creative in suggestions on how to make this little one practice everyday (or as many days as possible).
Ideally, piano practicing EVERYDAY is wonderful! But let's be realistic, most kids -even those that start with the first few years of daily practice, begin to wind down to 6, 5, ....even 4. (although, there are the gem students who genuinely LOVE music and will practice independently without ever needing reminders!)
Reasons I've heard over and over (and over) again:
"I forgot to practice."
"I had too much homework"
"I was working on a school project"
"I had a playdate"
"I had a family dinner"
"It was my birthday"
"I lost my books"
..... the list goes on and on....
Honestly, all of these things do not take up 24 hours, and of all 6-7 days of the week?!
So, after a parent shared a wonderful tip on how they got their child to practice more, I decided to share some tips I've heard from parents over the years.
Let's start with the tip that motivated me to write this post :)
1. Piano practice minutes = TV watching minutes.
This mom is brilliant, she noticed that her child was watching an hour of TV and only practicing piano for about 10 minutes. So, she made a new TV rule: the number of minutes spend practicing piano is equal to the number of minutes allowed watching TV.
2. Piano practice allowance: 25 cents per 15 minutes, $1 per hour.
My piano teacher suggested to my mother to put a jar on top of the piano, and for every 15 minutes of practice, I would get 25 cents.
3. Piano practice minutes = computer/video game minutes.
Very similar to TV minutes, but for children who care more about gaming.
4. A week's worth of good practice (5 days of 20 minute practices) = reward.
Some parents have bought toys or things the child wanted, but they would have to earn it through piano practice. Other parents have said they treated their kids to dessert/ice cream :)
If you have any other ideas, feel free to leave a comment and I'll add it to this list! :)
I hope this has helped a little, not every child will respond the same way to these suggestions, but I hope something here will help the blossoming musician practice!
EDIT: upon scouring the web, I stumbled upon this helpful post: 10 Ways to Motivate Piano Beginners with a few different ideas :)