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Rewarding Practicing Hacks for your Musician

September practicing reward chart
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I remember when I was taking piano I would quickly run through my assignments and rush to complete theory before walking to my weekly lesson, Even though I loved music, I didn't see practicing as a delightful addition to my day...rather it was a chore that I conveniently forgot until the last minute. It's embarrassing to think back to those early lesson days! As a piano teacher, I see the same struggle to practice in my students and it got me thinking...there must be a better way- a way that brings students joy, accomplishment, and satisfaction. The fact is, practicing doesn't have to be a battle between parent and student.

This is a NEW SCHOOL YEAR...a fresh beginning, and this year, I am eager to help my students look at practicing in a completely new, life-giving way. After all, my goal is to help create beautiful humans as well as marketable musicians, and this requires a mindset shift for us all.

Here are some mindset hacks to take you from an endless practicing battle between you and your child (or you and you if you are an adult student!) to a meaningful at-home piano practice.

  1. collaborate with your child. If you do one thing this year to enhance your child's practice habits, do this. Talk with your child about what they enjoy about piano, and what they want to accomplish this semester. Have them close their eyes and visualize themselves at the spring recital and ask them what they see. What are they willing to commit to in order to reach this goal and how can you help.

  2. practical reminders. once your child has chosen a goal and decides what they are willing to commit to, they are now the owner of their decision! Commend them for this achievement! Their schedule may adjust depending on time of year and other activities, but its great to set short, reasonable practice goals- think 15-30 minutes each weekday, possibly before or after school, before or after dinner, etc. Then, set a reminder in your phone! Any time you are trying to remember a new habit, all forms of reminders are welcome!

  3. Habit Stacking: this proven system is fantastic for implementing a new habit into your routine. once you decide what time of day works for you to consistently practice, think about what you already are in the habit of doing. Place practicing between two habits that are already a part of your routine. If you are practicing in the morning, and you eat breakfast and brush your teeth...plan to practice between the two other tasks.

  4. Reward their hard work! In this post, find a free printable that they can track their practicing. (My students can keep track of practicing with Tonara as well.). If they cross off each leaf on the practice chart, decide on a reward they can earn! Maybe its ice cream, a date night with mom or dad, etc. Decide together and make it fun!

I hope these simple but powerful practicing hacks help you and your musician set up a rewarding piano or voice practice this school year! I know for me, once I took ownership of my musical goals, I was eager and dedicated with my practicing. The sooner it is the students decision and goals, the more willing they will be to practice. Of course kids still need reminders and there may be days they just don't feel like practicing.. Reward their hard work in a way that works for your family!


Ms. Anna

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