Children love games and sports because the goals are so clear. Toss the basketball through the hoop. Earn the most money when playing Monopoly. The objectives are simple and clear. Without such clear goals the game loses its meaning and no one has any fun. Just imagine what playing basketball would be like without the hoops!
Small Goals, Big Motivation
Next time your child lacks motivation to practice piano, add some fun challenge by setting clear bite-size practice goals. Start with something simple, like playing the first line of the song right hand alone with no missed notes. Later, play two lines, and then eventually the whole song perfectly.
Make it clear that it’s not good enough to just get some or even most of the notes right. In basketball, you don’t score any points for almost getting the ball through the hoop. Remember to make each goal reasonable and attainable, not too easy, not too hard, so that the child can enjoy the success of accomplishing it. You and your child will be amazed at how fast practice time flies when you are focusing on a clear practice goal rather than focusing on the clock.
Celebrate Success, Then Reach Higher
As each goal is attained, be sure to recognize the achievement, then continue to set new goals until the practice session is over. If a child works on a certain goal for 10 minutes and still hasn’t reached it, it’s OK to say “Wow, that was great concentration and great effort. Do you want to keep working on this, or should we try it again tomorrow?” Sometimes a child needs a break and will welcome a chance to move on, but I have been surprised by how often children will rise to a challenge and voluntarily choose to keep working on a goal until it is achieved. Remember to always remain positive and supportive.
Remember, setting and achieving small practice-time goals helps children to see progress in their journey, and gives them something to celebrate along the way.