Tips for parents on how to get children to practice

Dear Parents,

Here are some tips on how to help your children practice their singing:

1) DON’T CALL IT PRACTICE- everyone hates this word.

2) Encourage them in a creative way. Ideas for this include phrases such as ‘ Can you sing me that lovely song you were learning in you lesson’ or ‘shall we try and do some of those warm ups you were doing with Charlotte, I would like to try them too’.

Encouraging development of pieces could include things like ‘ I loved the way you sang that song, shall we just look at this part of the song and try it in different voices, louder or quieter, a witchy voice’ etc.

3) 2 stars and a wish. Try to do this with a different song each day. The child sings a song and the parents/ siblings/family member say 2 things they liked about the performance and 1 wish to improve.

4) A little every day is better than 1 long session. They really don’t need to do 30 minutes a day. 10 minutes a day is better for younger ones. If they can manage longer then great but don’t worry. The main thing is that they enjoy singing and sing daily. As they get older this can increase and more diligent practice should be expected.

5) Set a goal. Perhaps this is singing the song to Grandma or family on the weekend or a full performance with a pretend stage. A small performance goal is good if the child likes performing.

6)Privacy. Singing is very personal and children do not want to feel pushed into it. They may need a private space where they feel safe to explore their voices and their music without interruption.

Please speak to me if you are having trouble getting your child to practice. Singing is very personal to the child and they are not always able to tell someone why they don’t want to practice. A song may make them sad, or they don’t like it or they just don’t feel like singing today. That is okay.It is my job to try and understand this and help to turn things around if I can.

Children are natural singers and often sing when really compelled. It is our job to make the right environment for this compulsion to thrive so they feel they can express themselves through singing without judgement but with encouragement.

Above all, remember that singing should be a pleasure. It is important to foster this idea and make it seem natural and fun. It is not like learning any other instrument.The voice is affected by mood, health, psychology, personality and environment. It is very much attached to the well being and personality of it’s owner  and as such needs support and positivity to help it grow.