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Motivating Your Musical Child

Your child's saxophone is collecting dust in the corner, and when you remind him to practice, he refuses. Is he done with music?

If he recently started playing, then probably not, says Mark Campbell, operations director of the South Shore Conservatory, a school for the arts in Hingham and Duxbury, MA. Unlike younger kids, who often have endless determination to master new activities, preteens may quickly give up on something they don't excel at from the get-go. To help your child stick to it:

Sit nearby. Even if it's just for several short sessions per week, you can limit distractions by staying close by while he plays.

Keep the instrument handy and in plain view. Seeing it each day will remind him to practice, and he might be more likely to pick it up if it's right there.

Build practice time into his daily activities. Setting aside time before leaving for school or right after dinner each day will help your kid remember to make rehearsing routine.

Hold "concerts." Have your child perform for you and your family on a regular basis. Tell him specific things you love about his playing, and keep yourself up-to-date with what he's working on so you can comment on improvements at each show.