Motivating Students to learn music theory during Final Drive To Christmas

Are you finding it difficult to keep your child motivated during the final countdown to Christmas?

This can be a challenging time to keep your child focused on homework – homework from school, homework from music lessons, homework from theory lessons, any type of homework. When children start their studies in September after having a nice, long break over the summer they are naturally motivated to start learning again. However, two months after lessons have started they start to crave a break and begin to get excited and start to look forward to the Christmas break. Often parents and teachers require additional motivational ideas in their bag of tricks to get through this timeframe. As teachers we work very hard to incorporate that “fun element” but even that frequently won’t work on the homework front. What is the solution?  As a piano teacher and a music theory online teacher you might find it interesting and informative to find out what techniques I use to motivate and what I encourage parents to use to motivate students at home.

learn music theory

learn music theory

Set Realistic Expectations

Whether the student is practicing the piano or doing music theory homework setting small, daily goals can help towards motivation. If there are five theory questions to be completed by the end of the week, doing one a day is much more manageable. If learning one page of music is the goal for the week, break this down to one line, or even to bars per day. When the parent knows what the overall goal for the week is, it’s much easier than to break down those goals to daily activities.  make sure the child is aware of what the goals that have been set are. If the child is not aware of what the goal is, it’s very difficult to realize when that goal has been met.


Choose a fun activity when the homework has been completed.

This fun activity can be anything from computer time,  playing outside, basically anything that the child is interested in.

Set up a realistic practice / homework routine

Children like routine, which means scheduling homework and music practicing into the routine is crucial to success. By including homework into the routine you are removing one more set of variables and you are removing one more possibility of failure. Of course it’s best to choose on a set time in consultation with your child, but ultimately you are the parent and you must take the responsibility of scheduling.

In my many years as a music theory and piano teacher the successful students have always been the ones that have successful practice times. The same principles can be applied to any discipline – math, science, English, gymnastics.  for our children to be successful in any and all of their endeavors that practice ethic must be a part of their daily lives.

Is it always easy for the parent? No, but it is simple and it is really not anymore complicated than expecting your child to brush their teeth, comb their hair, any of the parts of their day that they do automatically. These automatic chores that they do are only automatic because they have been instilled as a routine at an early age.  as parents you do have a lot of support through your teachers, coaches, and other parents. You want your child to have as many opportunities as you can provide for them however you want your children to be successful with the opportunities that you present so they do become a positive force in their lives. What that means is that in addition to providing these opportunities you need to provide the structure and the practice time necessary for these opportunities to become successes in their lives. It’s always sad when a young music student quits before their year is finished. Generally when they quit it’s not the child that is quitting but the parent that can’t follow through with what’s been accomplished at the lesson. I worry a great deal about that child’s self-esteem when they are not able to complete commitments that they or their parents have made on their behalf.

Parents, choose your children’s activities wisely and follow through.

There is lots of support for you, all you need to do is ask.

As a Music Theory Teacher I can help you or your Student learn 5 times faster.
Roxanne McGahey

learn music theory

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