Guest Article: Piotr Sierzputowski
HOW TO MOTIVATE YOUR KID TO PRACTICE GUITAR
– THE MOST FUNDAMENTAL RULE
Everybody knows the story:
Your kid announces that they want to play guitar. They say that this is their biggest dream and that they want it so so much- joy and enthusiasm are pouring out their ears ...
You enjoy the view, it might be your child just found their passion ... and the passion is very important in life.
You buy them a guitar. Sometimes also an amplifier, cable, strap, spare strings ... on top of that you sign your kid up for guitar lessons.
Your joy is even greater when you see your child play, practice, or how they enjoy going to every lesson ...
... after some time, however, the enthusiasm fades and the guitar gets thrown into the corner. I often get messages like that then:
"My son has not touched the guitar for 3 weeks now. If I ask him to play something that he already knows, he says he’ll do it later, or that he doesn’t want to ... "
"My daughter only practices when I am at home. As soon as I leave for longer, the guitar gets ditched ... "
"I can see that my son likes to go to the classes very much, but does not pactice home at all. My husband is already nervous about why he is paying for the those classes anyway? "
You are worrying about your child, because lack of motivation is not a happy place to be at. You are worried that if they cannot motivate themselves to practice something as cool as playing guitar, then what about studying for the finals, going to college or work? Finally, you are worried that you already spent all this money on the gear and classes ….. now what?
You are trying to help your child in any way. You are encouraging them with good advice, you tell them you like their playing, maybe you are trying to bribe them with stuff like "if you play the guitar I’ll let you play on the computer" ... However, NOTHING WORKS !!
What to do?
Motivation Dips Are Normal
These stories happen quite often and the decline in motivation is common among every person trying to achieve their goals – no matter how hardworking, ambitious and organised they are..
I've been playing guitar myself for many years and I practice and learn new things all the time - also under the tutelage of the teacher. There have been days, sometimes even weeks when I could hardly look at my guitar.
In addition, I know many other guitarists - from other programs, workshops, seminars …. There are many of them that play professionally and the vast majority are very hardworking and organized people. However, it often happens that we solve problems such as "I can not motivate myself to play guitar for a month".
It Probably Happened To You As Well At Least Once
I am 100% sure that you have also experienced a decline in motivation in your life ... not necessarily related to playing guitar. If you were able to graduate, pass major exams, find a job, complete a major project at work, get promoted ….. RAISE UP A CHILD ...
... You certainly know that life is not a bed of roses. Not everything is always 100%. The road to achieving your goal is not easy, but full of ups and downs ... sometime even traps.
Imagine what would happen if, for example, at school, you’d always require 100% from yourself. Do you think that if you worried about all the small fails that you do you would have been able to graduate? What if something actually serious happened? According to the "perfect" approach, you should either give up or start over. According to common sense, you simply go on with what you get.
Anyway, we now understand that motivation declines are a common thing. Does this mean you should ignore them? Of course not. You have to be able to deal with them and this is why I wrote this article. Things that you've read so far until this section will already help you to tackle motivation drops. That said, at the end I will give you 1 MOST FUNDAMENTAL RULE on how to help your little one when he / she needs it.
...but first, few words of caution:
Few Words Of Caution
It is not possible that we completely eliminate lack of motivation from our lives – even if we read all psychological publications and applied every advice they gave ... even if we hired the best Olympic trainers - declines in motivation will always happen.
That said, If you do apply this simple rule that we are about to discuss, you can significantly MINIMIZE the lack of motivation for your child. And that's a lot because:
When your child is more motivated, they are going to achieve better results playing guitar
Consequently, they will enjoy it more
... which means that they will enjoy life more in general, because they are going to prove to themselves that they can achieve a goal, increase their confidence, gain more energy for work and other things (eg school)
... which for you means better return on investment in guitar lessons for your child
So, here it is
THE MOST FUNDAMENTAL RULE ON HOW TO MOTIVATE YOUR KID TO PRACTICE GUITAR
Good advice - how often do you give it?
Tell me if you can relate to one of the following stories:
Your child is doing something wrong, you tell them what they have to do to make it good ... but they don’t listen and continue to do it their own way.
You ask your parents for advice. However, instead of supporting you, they give you a lecture on what should and should not be done.
Why do I bring it up? Because it is a very common mistake in interpersonal communication. It is based on the fact that we talk too much and we listen too little.
If your child does not practice guitar and you want to help them, no matter how you try and how good of advice you give to him / her, it will not work if you do not first understand how exactly your he/she is feeling and why.
Surely, you will agree that it is very difficult to teach someone anything if that person does not want to learn.
The situation here is similar. Your kid will not want to listen to your advice if they don’t see that you understand how they feel. Therefore, instead of putting out a lecture, it is worthwhile to spend a little more time checking out the situation.
How To Do It?
There are many ways and most of them are very intuitive, especially for experienced parents... All of them, however, require PATIENCE.
Watch. Ask questions. Remember when you were a kid yourself. How did you feel then? Is there a chance that your kid feels the same? What happened at school / at home / in the yard ... what could have influenced your child's mood? Think about it and once again - ASK QUESTIONS. Give advice only when you are SURE that your kid is open to receiving it.
If you want to read more about this principle, there's a great book by Stephen Covey entitled "7 Habits Of Highly Effective People" and the chapter that goes much more into depth when it comes to this principle is called "Seek First To Understand, Then To Be Understood".
About the Author: Piotr Sierzputowski is a performer and songwriter, and teaches guitar at Lekcje Gitaryo Otroleka.