Updated: Mar 3, 2021
The number one reason parents stop lessons is, "My child is not practicing, if they won't practice they can't do lessons. I think music just isn't their thing."
In some cases they are spot on, some students gravitate towards other forms of expression. But in many cases it is not the case. So how can you tell the difference?
Practice is a habit that has to be taught nurtured, and grown. A child is not going to naturally know how to sit by themselves, to open their music (I cannot tell you how many 5 year olds spend most of their practice time trying to open to the right page of music, only for it to slide right off the stand onto the floor), they do not know how to spot where they are having difficulty and to have the strength of character to work through a challenging piece until it becomes easy for them. The first few years of learning an instruments is spent on music fundamentals and teaching good practice habits. It takes guidance, patience, and a little push for momentum.
So how do we differentiate between a student who simply needs to learn the practice habit and a student who is just not into it? It's very simple- when a student memorizes a piece, when they have learned one piece very well, how much do they play that piece?
A student who loves making music will learn "Mary had a Little Lamb" and will play it 1,000 times (often to the annoyance of their siblings, and avoiding their new songs). We see this most often when students participate in their first recitals. Parents often say, "Little Susie will not stop playing her song! It is all we ever hear!" And we respond, "That's great! It means she LOVES to make music!"
Then we as teachers take that spark and very slowly grow it into good habits and a life long love of music.