Our readers share their best ideas for encouraging kids to rehearse their music.
Use the Ole (Jelly) Bean
As each of my sons, ages 6 and 9, goes down his song list, I use an edible marker, such as a jelly bean, to indicate the one to work on next. This helps them see their progress and, as a little reward, they get to eat the jelly beans when they're done.
Phone a Friend
My grandson calls my husband and me, then rehearses while we listen. It's fun for him and for us.
The parents of some of my best students have gotten them songbooks by a favorite musician. The kids practice songs they love, along with assigned ones.
Let Music Replace Chores
My three kids can get out of helping with the dishes if they practice while I clean up the kitchen. I like it because I have music to listen to while I work.
Cottage Grove, MN
Perform for Familiar Faces
By setting up a "concert" for her favorite stuffed animals, I get my daughter to practice her violin. She loves playing to the crowd!
Offer Musical Rewards
I keep track of how many minutes my kids practice. When they reach a certain number, I reward them with a music-related prize, either a book of sheet music or a new CD.
Show Them the Real Deal
We took our daughter to concerts by a high school band and the local symphony orchestra. Hearing live music made her more interested in making music at home.
From Our Staff: Change the Scenery
I like to mix up where the practicing happens. For instance, if my daughter isn't in the mood to play, I'll ask her to take her music stand and flute onto the porch or into the yard. Being out in the sun, with birds tweeting along, and hearing how the music resounds differently outdoors add just enough novelty to keep it fun. Once she was even sure that she heard a bird "play back" a tune.
Originally published in the September 2014 issue of FamilyFun magazine.