Forming Practice Habits
Many parents want students to practice their music more. How can a parent encourage more music practice at home?
Ask your student, “What is your plan for your music today?” helps foster a habit of daily practice. Approaching your student with a question affirms his or her autonomy to manage his or her time and encourages him or her to take ownership of the goal. This question is more powerful than giving direction to the student with,”Go practice” or “You need to practice.”
The goal for the student is practice habit formation. Forming a habit involves 3 keys:
* Cue – something that signals the behavior
* Behavior – practicing!
* Reward – becomes associated with the cue
The goal is to create a habit loop that gets triggered each day. Examples of cues include: mom starts cooking dinner, family just finished eating and now it’s time for some family music making, an alarm goes off on the student’s phone at the same time each day, etc.
What do all students want? To be noticed in a positive way! Evidence for this is the importance that many students place value on getting a cell phone over getting a driver’s license. Young people want to feel like what they are doing matters to someone. Rewards can notice when their students is doing it right with one or two positive remarks. Everyone enjoys a compliment such as, “I love that song!” or “It’s so nice to have music in our home!” As a show of support, parents can sit in the same room and read or relax as their student practices.