Updated: May 16, 2022
By Christy | The Practicing Pro
You can watch / listen to the Live HERE about today's topic.
Read the Blog HERE and get access to the FREE African Safari Practicing (1 of 6) Adventures. I also share stories about teaching music in Kenya in each of the lives.
It’s a natural feeling to want to be a perfect parent. You love your children so much and you want to give them the very best in their life, including, perhaps most importantly, the best version of “you“. Of course, you can’t be the perfect parent all the time. Instead, you need to focus on the moments where you have said or done the right thing that made you feel good. If you feel good about something, you’re more likely to continue with it and have success. Never feel guilty about how yesterday didn't go as planned, instead focus on this moment and on today and how you can do something differently and how you can have small wonderful moments. It's easy to focus only on the times that things didn't work out and quantify your whole day and your value on those and miss the sweetness of each of the tiny moments that were wonderful.
Daily practicing and playing an instrument is no different. We want them to be perfect from start to end. If you have developed the skills to have amazing music practices, it is very possible, after developing the skills and the resources to have successful, positive practices that you feel really good about. And if your daily practices are currently not feeling successful, it’s something that you can learn and improve at. Just like learning an instrument, having positive and successful practice takes patience, dedication and a good teacher, but is achievable to anyone who puts in the effort. And then like any parenting adventure you will always have some days that are better than others. This is again where learning to focus on and treasure the moments in your practicing that are working and letting go, being kind to ourselves and to our children when things go awry which is part of life, but doesn't quantify our value in any way.
As a parent, you can’t be perfect at everything - but you can have moments that are so wonderful that life feels perfectly satisfying. This can happen often in a well-organized and well-run home music practice, or in a well-structured music lesson.
Did you make a new years goal for practicing this year? Did you know that "quiters day" is Jan 19th? Oh dear that's terrible!!! Most people have given up on their New Years goals after only three weeks. Why is this? Why are goalas so hard to keep?
Well, there are a few reasons.
When we make goals, they are often too general or too big. Like me, I’m sure you too have had your fair share of ambitious New Year’s resolutions that you made when you were full of inspiration and enthusiasm. But, flash forward a few months, your enthusiasm has waned and you find the goal was just too big of a bite to chew. Let’s try to avoid that this year as we head into the spring. Take a look at the practicing goal you made in January 2022. How can you break it up into smaller, manageable pieces? You are much more likely to have success this way.
For example, if your goal is to “practice every day and have great practices”, let’s make it more specific and measurable. I have created a special checklist called the “successful practicing checklist“. Print this checklist off and bring it to your next practice. See which items on the list you’re already doing and check them off. You should be proud of yourself! Each one of these checks represents something that you’re doing really well!
Now, look at the ones that aren’t checked. Can you find one that you know you can easily start doing right away and be successful at it? Put a big circle around it and put the checklist in your practice binder in a place where you can see it every day when you are taking notes during your child’s lessons and practices. This way, you will see the goal that you’re working on each time you open the binder. Now you need to work on this goal and do it every single practice for one hundred days. You can even print off a 100-day checklist for fun so that you can track your hundred days and see how quickly they go. It’s about three months, so it’s not long at all. Before you know it, it’s over! It’s almost like summer break - it FLIES by. You look back in September and think “WOW where did those three months go?”
The next step is to go back to that practicing checklist and pick another item that was not checked off. This time, pick one that you know you can do but will take a little time and effort. Perhaps it is something that you are not quite sure how to accomplish. No problem. You can join the “Practicing Pro Academy“ (PPA) - a six-week online course all about how to have more effective, positive, and fun home practices. You can jump on the waitlist right here so that you don’t miss the next offering of the course. Have your successful practicing checklist with you as you navigate through the course. We will make sure that you are able to put a big checkmark in the square next to your goal by the time the course finishes. In the PPA, you will be joined by other teachers and parents that are also working on a goal that they have made for the course. It is so much easier to be successful when you have the support of like-minded people going through the course with you. And I’ll be with you every step of the way too, of course! You’ve got this!
In your home music journey, do your best and commit to learning and improving your practice one goal at a time. To start, why not set a goal to practice every day with your child? You can use the “African Safari Practicing Adventure” as an example to help you do this more easily. With this activity series, you can break 100 days of practicing into 6 smaller adventures that have fun activities and a celebration at the end of each one!
So long story short - no, you can’t be a “perfect parent“, but you can find things in your life that you do really well and commit to improving and learning over time. You can find in your goal moments when things are going right and you can focus on these moments and not on the ones that don't. I think it’s important to remember that we are all still human. Life happens - things get busy, you are tired from work, there are extenuating circumstances that hold your attention, etc. It’s easy to forget this and feel down about your parenting when you compare yourself to others or to the non-realistic expectations of what a “perfect parent” is. At the end of the day, all you can do is your best and show up to each practice with a positive attitude and willingness to do better. By committing to one new, attainable goal at a time, you will not overwhelm yourself and let the goal slip like those past New Year’s resolutions. You can do this my practicing friend.
“To make a resolution and act accordingly is to live with hope. There may be difficulties and hardships, but not disappointment or despair if you follow the path steadily. Do not hurry. This is a fundamental rule. If you hurry and collapse or tumble down, nothing is achieved. DO not rest in your efforts; this is another fundamental rule. Without stopping, without haste, carefully taking a step at a time forward will surely get you there.” - S. Suzuki
Instead, work on checking off each part of the successful practicing checklist. You can start by using positive words and learning exactly what to say in your practice time when something is not working, or when the practice is starting to derail. It’s so important to keep your child staying positive and to be a team player with your child in your daily music practice. This may be daunting right now if you aren’t sure how to do this, but it’s something that we learn step-by-step in the PPA - Practicing Pro Academy.
You can turn your practices around into more fun and effective quality time with your child. I’ll be with you every step of the way - both with free support resources here on this blog every week, completing the "African Safari Practicing Activity" with you, as well as by diving deep into helping you individually, step-by-step with your practicing goals in the PPA. I can’t wait to see you there!
INVITATION from Christy Hodder:
DIGITAL COURSE the Practicing Pro Academy
Speaking of amazing practices, let me tell you all about the digital course I built and teach for practicing parents and music teachers called the Practicing Pro Academy. It is an at-your-own-pace, six-week online course for teachers and students that will bring you even more successful practices with your players! I am also with you in person the whole time with weekly Q&As to answer all of your questions. It only runs a few times a year so you don't want to miss the next time! I offer a free Masterclass to kick off each course. You can join the waitlist here.
Free PDF download
Checklist for a Successful Music Practice
Your easy checklist to have successful home music practices from Christy, the practicing pro. Whether you are a new or seasoned practice parent, this checklist will help you organize before, during, and after practices for effective and fun practices.
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