What do I do if my child isn’t practicing their guitar?

By Eric Dieter

There are many reasons why a new student is running to practice the guitar right after school. Early on, the mechanics are difficult, the early repertoire isn’t always exciting, and there are a ton of other stimulating things competing for their attention at home. So it is common for children to not seek out their guitar at home (at least at first).  As they gain more experience, they will grow a deeper connection to their guitar playing.

The best thing you can possibly do is get a qualified teacher. Research and make a selection based on qualifications and track record, rather than price and convenience. When a student is starting out it is better that they spend their time practicing under the supervision of a skilled instructor, where the professional can make sure the student isn’t reinforcing bad habits

Think about if your child was part of an activity like a soccer team. You don’t expect them to kick the ball around everyday when they come home from school and you certainly wouldn’t threaten to make them quit if they don’t. Their coaches know that they won’t always practice effectively at home. Which is why they practice so many times a week. If you feel like your child needs more time with the guitar, talk to your instructor about increasing your package to get them the coaching they need.

Ok, I found a qualified guitar instructor, how do I support my child best when it comes to their guitar education? 

The best thing to do is to instill the love of music in your child. Listen to music with them, talk about music you like, ask them to share music they like with you (and encourage them even if you’re not a fan of music). Your child needs to get excited about music they hear before they become passionate about making that music on their own

Its a good idea to ask them to play a song or something they learned in lessons rather than telling them to practice but…do not push a child to perform if that makes them truly uncomfortable. Ultimately you will know what is best for your child, but keep in mind your child wants to impress you and may not feel like they’re ready just yet to perform for you. Keep the door open, let them know you’re interested in hearing them when they’re ready.

Lastly, remember that music is an art. Think about the first drawing your child ever made. Chances are it wasn’t the Mona Lisa, but I bet you were proud of it and praised them for it. It is the exact same with music. There will be a period of time where their playing may not sound like the guitarists you see at concerts and on the radio but they still need encouragement to grow.

About the author:

Eric Dieter is a professional guitarist and guitar teacher in Lancaster, PA. He has appeared on dozens of international albums as a session guitar player and tours with the synth-pop band Hudson K and prog-rock band Hiding Scarlet. Eric has studied guitar at Millersville University and Berklee College of Music. Additionally, he holds a degree in psychology and certifications in behavioral health and hypnosis, making him uniquely qualified to train the minds of young musicians. Contact Eric if you are looking for guitar lessons in Lancaster, PA.