We’ve already discussed how your child needs emotional support in their musical journey, but something else parents can offer is structure. Since your child is still developing time management skills, you can help them set up their environment and routine for maximum success.

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To do so, every parent should know the components of an effective practice session. Music practice should look a lot like a workout with a warm-up, a period of increased effort and exertion, and a cool-down.

Depending on the student’s skill level, a warm-up activity can take many forms. One great way to get the ball rolling is through theory books, which refresh the student’s mind with something familiar. These activities may involve practicing scales, reading stories, or doing simple puzzles. Like with exercise, many music students tend to skip their warm-up activity, but they shouldn’t because it puts them in the correct state of mind for the challenge ahead.

Focused study — or the task the teacher records in the student’s practice journal — should take up the majority of practice time. Students are most likely to get frustrated during the focused study because they’re working on a new concept. The focused study asks the student to do something hard, and they may not always meet the goal we set for them. Your child might get discouraged or be tempted to give up, so this portion of the practice is where your emotional support and encouragement matter most.

Many students end their practice after focused study, but they should cool down with musical free time. In other words, they should do something fun! End the practice with something they feel good about by having them play some of their favorite songs. Giving kids the autonomy to choose how they’ll spend this time helps reinforce their love for music and motivates them to keep learning.

To make the most of their musical studies, your child should always complete all three components of effective practice. Your support in structuring their practice time will ensure that they keep progressing both in skill and dedication.