From our Friends at Youth Music Project

It’s always exciting to start something new – nerves, passion, and dreams of the future bubble inside as you begin your journey. Children are no different; they experience the same feelings as they prepare to go back to school and start new classes. While new lessons are exhilarating, when dreams of success hit the reality of hard work, that passion can begin to fizzle out.

We understand. Every musician has struggled with practicing at one point or another. Practice is hard work, but it is worth it! While we typically focus on how to hone those musical skills, the rules of practice apply whether it’s an instrument, sport, or schoolwork.

As we go into a new school year, I’m sure you want to do everything you can to help set your child(ren) up for success. Here are our best tips for working on a new skill at home:

1. Set a Goal
It’s been said: “If you aim for nothing, you’ll achieve it every time.”

It’s important to set a goal for each practice session because it provides focus and helps set expectations. If your child has trouble knowing their goals, encourage them to ask their teacher or coach to help them set some goals.

Take it a step further and use the Youth Music Project Weekly Goal Sheet.

2. Have All Your Equipment and Materials Nearby
Perhaps this one is obvious, but if your child is constantly getting up to grab a pencil, eraser, or glass of water not much work is getting done. For your music students, don’t forget the metronome or tuner. (We are music teachers after all!) Help your child be prepared by asking them if they have everything they need before they begin working.

3. Warm-Up/Cool Down
Start each session with a quick physical warm-up. We often only think about this when we’re getting ready to practice our favorite sport, but it’s important when we’re getting ready to do schoolwork or practice an instrument! Getting those wiggles out will help your child focus, help with creativity, and add a little fun to their practice/homework session.

Take it a step further and encourage kids to finish by goofing around – draw a doodle, do a dance, make up a song on their instrument!

4. Practice Every Day and Write It Down
Schedules are busier than ever, and it can be tough to find the time every day to practice that one skill you love. Just 5-15 minutes a day goes a long way for developing a new skill, especially at the beginning level. The key here is consistency. Practicing a little every day keeps things fresh and sharp.

Take it a step further and use a practice log. Encourage your child to keep their practice log near their homework, instrument, or with their sports equipment. Check off every day after their practice is complete. You can add an element of fun by using stickers or a stamp. As your kiddo advances, encourage them to take notes about their current challenges and achievements.

It is so encouraging to look back and realize what used to be a struggle is now a skill they’ve mastered. These kinds of achievements are usually enough to reignite that passion they felt in the beginning. You can download our practice log here.

These simple steps can help your child be set up for success! We hope you use our weekly goal sheet and practice log to document all their hard work toward that new skill.

If your child is interested in learning an instrument, please contact Youth Music Project. We offer private lessons and group classes in piano, drum, guitar, bass, and more. In addition, we are now offering NEW classes for early childhood and music production. Early childhood classes start as young as 2-months old and up. Join us for a musical journey with classes built around your little one’s development milestones. Music Production classes will teach the basic tools and techniques of modern audio engineering. Classes are available virtually and in person, AND we offer tuition assistance for eligible students. We hope these tips help you create a routine for your child to learn new skills!

PDX Parent Staff
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