There’s nothing quite like back-to-school season. New school supplies, choosing the first-day perfect outfit, and swapping out the swimsuits and flip flops for backpacks and calculators.
It’s also back to routines and schedules, and for many of us, it’s a welcome return. Both kids and parents thrive on structure— and when it comes to learning an instrument, consistency is a crucial part of the learning progress.
Now that school is back in session, it’s time to get back into a consistent practicing routine that works for your family and will help your student maintain their momentum. Here’s 4 easy ways to jumpstart your back-to-school practice routine.
It’s normal to experience a summer learning lag while learning an instrument. Even if your student practiced regularly, the lazy days of summer make it easy to neglect practicing core skills or postpone learning new techniques. This doesn’t stop students from feeling disappointed when they realize they can’t play as well as they could last spring.
Let your student know it’s okay if they can’t play a certain piece as well as they once could, or if they’ve forgotten a series of chords they used to know by heart. Musical training is founded in muscle memory, and the skills will come back with a little patience.
Give your student a sense of autonomy and responsibility for their practice schedule. Talk to your student about when they want to practice their instrument, and work together to establish a routine that works for everyone.
If that means practicing right after school, great. But many students need time to cool down after a long day of learning, which means before school or after dinner might work better.
And if you’ve got multiple kids practicing the same instrument, coordinating together as a family is even more crucial. Routines only stick if they work, so make sure you’re not scheduling practices at times that aren’t sustainable long-term.
The first weeks of school can be exhausting for everyone—parents included! But it’s especially normal for students to come home tired and unwilling to jump into a rigorous practice routine right away.
Remember, they’ve been waking up earlier, learning new routines at school, and likely adapting to a new sleep schedule.
It’s okay to start small and build your practice routines, especially if you’re student wasn’t able to practice regularly over the summer. Even starting with a daily 15 minute practice is better than trying and failing to implement a full 30 or 45 minutes. Gradually work up to your preferred practice times, and be patient with the process.
Now is also a great time to introduce some fun music-related incentives for your student. Whether it’s new music, a cool new bag for their lesson materials, or even a special one on one date with mom or dad, don’t forget to celebrate small successes as you get back into a practice schedule that works.
You always dreamed of sharing your love of classic composers with your child, but now might be a good time to ditch the Beethoven and mix it up musically.
While a consistent practice routine is crucial for learning an instrument, that doesn’t mean practice looks the same every day.
If your student is struggling to get back on track, try some exciting new music, introducing a new skill set, or reworking the order in which they practice certain skills.
Talk to your student about what excites them about learning music, and do your best to incorporate their interests into your routine. You’ll be able to introduce Beethoven again later, and your student will develop a stronger love of music in the interim.
If you’ve spent the summer fitting in practice sessions between road trips and afternoons at the pool, it’s okay! Breaks and vacations are good for everyone, and if you got creative with your practicing over the summer in order to squeeze it in, we commend you!
Now it’s time to get back to school, and back to practicing! What are your favorite tips for getting back to a practice routine? We’d love to hear them!