Practice is essential to reap the rewards of musical study. This time and effort can be fun, engaging, as well as productive. Here are a few suggestions for parents working with young children and adult students.
Schedule Daily Practice
Aim to make practice nonnegotiable. Practice can become just like brushing your teeth: dailystructure is helpful for everyone.
Refer to the assignment book for weekly practice guidance on focus elements. Work on the most challenging measures before playing the entire piece.
Short Practice Sessions
For any beginner, but especially younger children, 15-20 minutes is long enough. Two short sessions are better than a long one.
Verbalizing finger numbers, note names, note values and other elements improves focus and reinforces learning.
Play A Supporting Role
Be supportive, but not a second teacher. Just sitting by the student during a practice session and appreciating their playing is all they need. Having multiple teachers leads to confusion.
Reward The Student
Positive reinforcement is optimal in order to learn and develop good habits. (Don't punish mistakes -- that's just negative reinforcement.) Maybe have a cookie! If a daily practice session isn't going well, take a break.
Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus ten thousand times is skill! SUZUKI