How to Motivate Kids to Practice for Music Lessons

Our readers share their best ideas for encouraging kids to rehearse their music.

Use the Ole (Jelly) Bean

Violin-drum-instruments illo Illustration by Macrina Busato

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.
Rachel Garner
Tracy, CA

Phone a Friend

My grandson calls my husband and me, then rehearses while we listen. It's fun for him and for us.
Lorraine Seiller
Boonton, NJ

    Play Favorites

    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.
    Kim Bruguier
    Mitchell, SD

      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.
      Heather Verdick
      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!
        Jennifer Passantino
        Doylestown, PA

          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.
          Penny Doremus
          Grimes, IA

            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.
            Ellen Snyder
            Jacksonville, FL

              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.
              Ann Hallock
              Editor-in-chief

              Originally published in the September 2014 issue of FamilyFun magazine.