Preschool Practice: Why does Progress Seem So Slow?

Preschool Practice & Slow Progress
This post is second in a series about Preschool Age Students. You can read the first article here: Secrets to Successful Practice With Preschoolers.

Often when we practice an instrument daily with our preschool age child it can be hard to see any progress at all.

Progress is often happening, but it ca be very slow and gradual . As a teacher who only sees students once a week, I often notice the week to week improvements more than parents notice changes happening from day to day.

I always warn parents of students this age that it will often seem like nothing is happening from one day to the next,  and that as long as they keep practicing and listening, it will happen over time.

A lot of what is happening at this age is actually invisible:

  • Fine motor development
  • Connections in the brain
  • A sensitive ear
  • A sense of musical pulse
  • The ability to feel and keep a steady beat
  • and many more . . .

What’s happening on the actual instrument your child is studying may seem maddeningly slow to us as adults. But, what is happening in the brain and body is really quite amazing.

I encourage you, as a parent, to document progress from month to month. You can take a video or jot down bullet points of what your child is doing in practice each month and then from month to month you can better track progress.

Notice the tiny details.

If you are regularly practicing and listening to music at home . . . and if you can keep noticing the little details as your child progresses I think you will be very encouraged by these monthly check in sessions.

Older students may judge progress by learning new pieces or by seeing difficult music become easier to play but, in the preschool years we see progress in little tiny increments.

If you look for big leaps forward or learning new music as a way to gauge progress with a preschool student it is easy to feel like things are moving slow.

You may see an 8 year old beginner learning music quickly and feel discouraged

but that isn’t a fair comparison.

What will your preschool age child be able to play at age 8 if they are starting now at age 3 or 4?

The best environment for your child to learn in now is one where you celebrate the small wins, encourage them to do their best for their age and maturity level, and celebrate the process along the way.

Try to think of progress and momentum in lessons from this new perspective and stay encouraged!

You are giving your child the wonderful gift of learning music and the gift of being a parent willing to invest in their development.

Remember the sometimes invisible aspects of their development that you can see improving & enjoy the process as they learn and grow!


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