Back to School Practice Problems

Lessons have just started for the school year here in Oregon.

As a parent this can be a hard time of year for practicing with our kids.

Here are some things you might be experiencing at home right now:

Your child is getting used to long structured school days again and it feels unfair to make them practice at the end of the day.

Your child is tired after school and doesn’t have much energy left for practice.

Your teen is trying to figure out how to organize time for homework and practice is falling through the cracks.

You are exhausted by the frenzy of back to school activities and to be honest practicing with your kids is less than appealing right now.

Here’s the good news . . . 

this is all really normal.

Fall is a busy, sometimes overwhelming time of year for families.

As a teacher I get it. As a mom, I really get it!

Yes, your child may be tired,

Yes, as the practice parent, you may feel like practicing is not appealing to do right now.

Yes, its not easy.


So here is my advice:

New beginnings (like a new school year) are the perfect time to start new routines (read my article about Gretchen Rubin’s Clean Slate Strategy here).

Rather than focusing on what the practice is like right now, or how much anyone in the household wants to practice, focus instead on building the routine.

If you are struggling right now, take a deep breath, know you’re allowed to be human and then please focus on building the routine of practice into your fall schedule even if you’re not getting in the full, in depth practices you want to get yet.

Figure out what time you will practice each day. For some families this is different each day of the week – no problem, identify a time for each day of the week.

During that time do something!

Take out the instrument and play something.

Alternate what you practice each day.

Focus on reviewing easy music.

And gradually you can work up to full, productive practices again because the routine of practice is already built into your day and starts to become automatic.

At 4pm we practice, at 5pm we go to soccer (or ballet or do homework etc)

It will become much easier to make progress over the course of the year when you are consistent with practice.

That takes some sort of structure and routine.

Maybe it’s easy for your child to hit the ground running and practice full out from the first day of school – that’s great.

For the rest of us, build the routine. Practice practicing. Everyone will settle in and get used to the new routine of the school year and you will be glad that practice is part of the routine and not an extra you are trying to squeeze in here and there.

How you make practice part of your family’s routine? I’d love to hear in the comments below!

Working Productively with Your Child in Practice

Working productively together in practice (2)

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