Updated: Nov 4, 2022
Do you have a pre-teen or teen in your house who is reluctant to practice? Let me rephrase that - reluctant to do ANYTHING? Even though many teens are reluctant to show their parents that their hard-earned money that is being put towards music lessons is a great bang for the buck, here are some tips that may help your teen tip-toe towards the piano (or other instrument) when you're not looking:
Suggest short practice sessions. The idea of sitting down for an hour doing ANYTHING is not usually an attractive proposition. 15 minutes a day will do it (at first).
Encourage to find their own time to practice, but give them some guidance. Perhaps 15 minutes before or after school, or before or after dinner. If they have to wait forever for their hygiene-conscious sibling to leave the bathroom in the mornings, perhaps this is a great time to get a few minutes of music practice in. (It may also help distract from any potential morning sibling arguing!)
Decide together on a time and settle on 3-4 days a week. Everyone needs time off from "work", which many students considering practicing to be. (As time goes on, they will likely want to play more as they improve).
Have your teen share with their teacher how much they've been practicing, however much (or little) it is. Two days are better than one, one is better than none. This should be a point of pride for the student, and a good teacher will fill them with praise for even the smallest gains.
Keep the comments casual. Teens feel self-conscious about just about EVERYTHING. After they've completed a practice session, casually let them know that you heard them playing and that you liked this piece or that. Or, ask them a question about one of the pieces they were playing. What is it called? Who wrote it? You'll probably just get a shrug, but it may remind them to take note of these details next time they practice. That said, you know your teen better than anyone. Some things are better left unsaid. Just be thankful for small miracles.