3 Tips to Make Music Practice Fun!
Getting kids to practice their music every day isn’t always fun and games for parents. But here are some fun apps, old school games and motivating rewards that are guaranteed to add the fun back into your child’s music practice.
1. High Tech Apps
Does your child love to play games on the phone or computer? Thought so! Add these free or low-cost apps into your child’s practice time and watch the fun begin! To develop note reading skills, kids love using the blasters in “Staff Wars” or playing “Note Rush.” For rhythm skills, try “Rhythm Cat” or “Rhythm Lab.” And every good practice session includes a metronome to encourage steady beat. Maybe your child would prefer one from their phone, like “Beat on Metronome.” If you have an animal lover, add a crazy twist with an app called “Petronome,” where animals bark, meow or peep to keep time during practice!
2. Old School Games
Practice often requires multiple repetitions to master a skill. Use classic children’s games to motivate each repetition and add some fun! For example, each time your child plays a section of the music correctly, let her add a piece of Mr. Potato Head or take a turn in “Tic, Tac, Toe”. Use dice or a spinner to introduce the element of chance. If she rolls a 6, she does six repetitions. If she spins a 2, she only completes two repetitions. To encourage proper hand position, place an M&M or Skittle on your child’s hand while he’s playing. If he plays correctly and the candy stays on, he gets to eat the treat. If it falls off, the candy is yours!
3. Praise and Rewards
Nothing motivates a child more than a little praise and an occasional reward. Think in terms of short-term and long-term goals. Short-term goals can focus on what your child can accomplish in one practice session or in one week. This might be playing a passage correctly 5 times in a row or learning all the notes on the treble clef. For short-term goals the rewards can be simple, like a special dessert or getting to learn a song of their choice. To reward long-term goals, agree with your child in advance about what would be fun after mastering an entire piece or practicing for 100 days. It doesn’t have to cost any money. Your child could “win” extra screen time or get to stay up an hour past bedtime. And of course simple praise given in the moment that your child has worked hard or played well during any practice is always an energizing reward.
Want to connect with music teachers who can make learning fun for your child? MacPhail Center for Music is the oldest and largest nonprofit music school in the nation, with more than 200 teachers who are skilled at inspiring your child to have fun playing music. Learn about our Live Online Lessons here (hyperlink to http://www.macphail.org/for-youth/macphail-online/)