Every student, even the most motivated, will go through periods when he or she doesn't want to practice and speaks about quitting their lessons. These periods can last for a few days or even up to a month.
The most common occurrence is when the "thrill" of taking lessons wears off (can be in a few months or up to a couple of years after beginning lessons), and the child must transition between being in love with their instrument to loving the instrument (much like a relationship).
Keep the following in mind:
- Kids enjoy their lessons MORE when they are practicing regularly.
- The less drama you create about the situation, the easier it will be to get through it.
Be certain to listen to your child's concerns and give them due consideration. Negating their concerns will not help. Find out how the idea to quit lessons was planted.
- Is it their idea?
- Are they facing some sort of peer pressure about quitting music lessons?
- Is it because their siblings don't take music lessons and don't have the same pressure?
- Are they not enjoying their lessons?
Encourage your child to have a conversation with his or her teacher about the situation. Teachers have a great deal of insight about how to correct the situation.
Allow the child a week or two off from practicing and don't nag them about practicing during this time off. However, keep the lessons up, and coordinate with the teacher activities that can be done in lessons that don't require practicing, for example sight reading exercises, exploring videos related to their instrument online, musical games, flash cards, etc. Let the child resume practicing when he or she is ready to do so and when the teacher feels it is a good time to resume.
If your child is constantly in this state, it might be wise to consider the following:
- Music is not the right activity for your child. It's true, some kids just aren't and never will be into music, no matter how good it is for them.
- His or her teacher is not the right match for your child. There are as many different styles of teaching and learning as there are students and teachers. It is important to find a good match in order to ensure successful lessons. Also, if your child has been with the same teacher for a long time, a change in style can be a great motivator.
- Your child is playing the wrong instrument. There is a right instrument for everybody and perhaps changing instruments can ignite the musical spark you and your child are looking for.
Practicing must be given the same type of priority as homework from school. You would not allow your child to not complete his or her homework, and subsequently, you should not allow your child to not practice. Practicing is only an option to those who don't take lessons.
Remember that it is the parent's responsibility to ensure that their children practice, and if your child is under 7, it is a good idea to sit in on lessons from time to time so you know what is to be expected of your child. It really isn't fair to expect your child to bear the whole responsibility of having successful lessons at such a young age.