Yes that old chestnut! I’m often asked by parents – when will a child take responsibility for their practice schedule. In my experience, children of a young age need help from their parents to create a structured environment where a regular practice schedule fits into their normal daily routine. This is the quickest way to help build the technical skills needed to allow students to play satisfying music. Little people are only beginning to discover what their internal motivators are and in these early days it is our role as parents to help guide them in useful routines like a practice schedule. We discuss the difference between a hit and miss practice schedule and one which allows that slow burn towards musical fluency.
There are many different ways of recording and monitoring playing time and a host of apps and logs to capture all those minutes spent at the piano which I will save for another time. But for now my main advice is to compare it to the idea of savings and earning compound interest. Starting your savings young has a massive impact on your ability to achieve long term financial stability or even freedom. Using a compound interest model can really accelerate that growth and turn your investment into something meaningful.
The same applies to putting in the hours at your music practice. Research shows that it takes 10,000 hours of deliberate, thoughtful, focussed practice to achieve mastery in any chosen interest. Of course not every music student will take it to those lengths but the concept is the same and for those who manage to create that regular time their progress accelerates accordingly – they play better, can take on more interesting music, have a deeper understanding of how the music should sound and feel and have a better chance of having a lifelong skill which will always be available to them. But yes you have to put in the hard yards to reap the benefits so ……practice, practice, practice!!!