Ten Boredom Busters to Motivate the Musician in your Family

Looking for a way to motivate the music student in your home to practice their instrument? Beyond the more obvious strategies such as providing a quiet space, having the instrument at hand and keeping to a consistent practice routine, try these ten boredom busters for some fresh ideas to get the sounds of music happening in your home again!
Use a colored bean jar (or other reward token) that is a visual reminder of practice being done, or not done. Spray paint some dried beans with your child (this can make a nice craft activity). The beans can be used as tokens for practice earned. Each time a practice session is complete (or a specific goal is obtained), have them place a bean in the jar. A certain number of beans results in a small reward of your choosing.
Make rewards meaningful! Rather than candy or stickers, how about allowing your child to purchase a music-related item such as a new instrument accessory, a new piece of music or CD? Sheet music is easily purchased online and ready for immediate download.
Hold a family concert and set the date in advance! Make sure you and your budding musician keep to the arrangement. Have them make a concert program or a ‘save the date’ card for the refrigerator. Siblings can act as announcers!
Join an orchestra or performing ensemble! When children have the opportunity to perform alongside peers, often their motivation and sense of satisfaction increases.
Attend concerts as a family. Professional and community orchestras often hold family concerts throughout the year. Check local entertainment listings for details.
Use many fun online music resources to increase your child’s exposure to music. Many professional orchestras have such sites, including the Dallas and San Francisco Symphonies!  www.dsokids.com; www.sfskids.org
Listen frequently to good music! Do you ever put on sound recordings of classical, pop or jazz music or other styles that interest your musician? Do they listen to recordings of their own repertoire? Not only does this present great models of musicianship, it helps to develop their aural skills and familiarity with the elements of music, especially pitch and tone.
Use the Practice Routine Pie Chart written about in my other article.
Have your student set up an online practice record and keep to it! A free resource is found at www.onlinepracticerecord.com   The results can be tallied online and even sent to the teacher! Of course, let the teacher know in advance first to expect this in their inbox and to ask for their permission first.
Take videos of your student during practice or in mock home concerts ready to share through email with family and friends who may not live close by. These types of gifts or spontaneous gestures are almost always well-received.

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