mom and baby at piano

What To Do When Your Child Doesn’t Want To Practice

  • st
    Posted at 06:38h, 01 November

    hi scott
    well just retired and turned 60…always wanted to learn the piano…whats best way to start..what kind of keyboard to buy??etc..looking forward to answer and path to follow

    • Scott Houston
      Posted at 17:25h, 01 November

      You are pitching me underhand “st” … 🙂 I would strongly encourage you (and you can look around this blog and the testimonials for confirmation from actual students) to consider the online method found right here at You’ll get all the printed materials shipped to you as part of the tuition cost. In addition you have access to feedback from someone (99% of the time me…) for any questions or issues you may ever run into. Look around the site for more complete info, but suffice it to say that we really seem to have found a sweet spot for adults wanting to learn to play all non-classical styles of piano purely for personal enrichment and most of all – fun!

  • Lisa
    Posted at 08:49h, 01 November

    Marvelous suggestions! Thanks for your creativity & concern, Scott.

    Also, allowing duets and/or creative assisstance with fun songs between the adult & child is a great motivator.

  • Kevin
    Posted at 09:17h, 01 November

    Any suggestions for online courses to engage…

    • Scott Houston
      Posted at 17:30h, 01 November

      Although this post was truly not written with my online course here at in mind (as it is primarily focused on and designed for adults), we are seeing some younger students having a ball in the program. If your child is over 8 years old, and has had at least 6 mos. or so of lessons, it would probably work out just fine. On the other hand if the student has never taken a lesson of any kind before and is younger than 8(ish), you are probably best served finding a qualified private teacher to get his/her kind of “shoved off the cliff” in the right direction.

  • Damian Renty
    Posted at 09:57h, 01 November

    Scott, I strongly agree with you about implementing technology to keep children motivated while learning piano. I am constantly convincing my 9 year old daughter that she should keep pursuing this, “boring” foundation in music. With that said, I am in search of a child oriented midi tutorial software, because my daughter loves all of the sounds and potential of a midi based keyboard. I want to keep her convinced that the piano will aid her in future keyboard exploration. Any suggestions?
    Thank you in advance,
    Damian Renty

    • Scott Houston
      Posted at 17:20h, 01 November

      I hate to say it Damian, but I am not the right guy to advise on apps and software and the such for kids since I focus primarily on adults. However, I know in my kids case, she LOVED the fact that we had a digital piano (with a lot of sounds other than just acoustic piano) and she simply played a lot using different patches on the piano. It was kind of “ear candy” to change things up once in a while…

  • Helen Smoot
    Posted at 11:15h, 01 November

    This is excellent advice. Thank you. I reprinted it to give to all parents of the 10 students I teach. I added a bit at the end. see below

    My thoughts………………
    I would like the parents to come into the lessons and stay quietly and listen for the half hour- once in a while.

    Don’t make your child practice too long- 15- 20 minutes a day is enough. If they are tired they won’t get much good out of sitting there being bored. It will be drudgery. Give them a break and let them skip a day once in a while.

    I like what he says about being involved. Occasionally sit and listen to the practice session and make only positive comments. Most kids are taking lessons to impress and make their parents happy. Ask to hear pieces you like.

    Be involved. Make up words to a song and you both compose it together. I will help. Most important- we need to make it fun to learn music.

  • Bradley A Sowash
    Posted at 11:29h, 01 November

    Good practical tips here. I especially like the last one about mixing it up.

  • William Hayes
    Posted at 12:49h, 01 November

    For what it is worth we never made our two boys practice. As you suggested we provided music that they liked. One son went on to a master’s degree in conducting. The other is an accomplished musician. We just made music fun.

  • Keith Fullmer
    Posted at 18:43h, 01 November

    These principles work well for even the 2nd childhood, a bit challenging at first but I was in my 60’s+ when I started. You are never too old to learn to play – thanks Scott.

  • Keeva
    Posted at 10:46h, 02 November

    Hey, I love your article!

    Just wanted to add a website that may be of great help. This is

    Often, kids don’t want to practice because they don’t have sufficient understanding and love of music. This is perfectly normal. If they don’t understand what they’re doing or why they’re doing it, (and this is even truer of the younger generation) they won’t do it.

    Whenever I encounter a problem like this with a child, I work with them on the fundamentals and on fun listening exercises. This work on the fundamentals allow them to ‘relearn’ the joy of playing music and being creative. After all we don’t want our children to simply be robots, constantly repeating pieces of music without truly feeling or understanding…

    • Scott Houston
      Posted at 14:37h, 02 November

      After all we don’t want our children to simply be robots, constantly repeating pieces of music without truly feeling or understanding…

      Nor do we want to do that as adults! The goal is to “create” music every time you play, not just “re-create” what someone else has already written or arranged. That’s the beauty of playing from Lead Sheets as we do …

  • Peter
    Posted at 19:19h, 02 November

    Hi Scott,

    These work great even when I am struggling with my inner child. I also use chocolate in the rewards program.

    Thank you for the tips.

    • Scott Houston
      Posted at 12:24h, 03 November

      Ha! Well done… 🙂