Students have the BEST excuses to not practice (lets be honest, I have some pretty good ones myself!) but we have some suggestions to get around those pesky excuses.
Excuse 1: I Don’t HaveTIME!!!
Work Around: Don’t spend a lot of time at the bench. Make a plan to do one task only for a brief time, maybe a maximum of 5 minutes for a young child and 10 minutes for a slightly older one. Encourage the completion of the task for that time period and see if they stick around - they probably will! Sometimes it’s just getting ON the bench that’s the hardest part.
Excuse 2: It’s Too HARD!!
Work Around: Have your student choose one bar that’s a bit challenging to work on. See if they can get the bar 3 times in a row without goofs and then encourage them to add on another bar 3 times in a row. Chances are the piece will get a bit easier and they will have accomplished something they felt was challenging!
Excuse 3: I’m PLAYING and I don’t want to STOP!!
Work Around 1: Have a routine where you practice piano at the same time every day. When that time comes around the routine is set in motion which helps with this particular excuse.
Work Around 2: If a scheduled practice time isn’t in your routine, try having them stop temporarily (they leave their toys where they were playing), set a timer they can see for a brief time (5 minutes, sometimes even 2 minutes!) and do a very small task at the piano, then go back to their toys. This might prevent larger melt downs for very small children and who knows, they may want to stick around and do more.
Work Around 3: The final work around is to set the timer, let them leave their toys to resume once they’ve done “something” on the piano and make that “something” making up their own song, or make up a song with them.
My best advice is to practice with your child. Make it a special time to do with them where they get to be the centre of your attention. Have them show you what they know and even teach you something.
Good luck and if you hear any great excuses please forward them on to me! We can figure out more work arounds to help your students’ practice time become easier!