Why Won’t My Child Practice Scales And Music Theory?

Here’s a question I’m frequently asked by parents Why won’t my child practice scales, sight reading or exercises?”

That’s a very good question and here’s the reason why they won’t practice those topics on their own accord.

They just don’t care.

Plain and simple.

But guess what – that’s ok! The main motivation for anyone to learn and instrument (especially young students) is to learn and play songs. Scales, exercises, sight reading and many other areas are great to learn, but the vast majority of guitar students just want to play songs and so that’s what they’ll practice.

One of our points of focus at UGA is to teach students songs so that they become inquisitive about how music works. Eventually their interest in areas such as scales, theory etc. will grow and they’ll be asking to learn these topics! This approach uses their motivation for their own benefit and allows them to eventually learn all areas in music.

Sure, some students will benefit from learning scales, theory, sight reading etc. from their very first lesson – and that’s great! But I’ve had a lot of success using the above method with countless students.

The next question I’m often asked is: So how does this work with their guitar course grades?

That’s quite simple – they will need to learn these areas for their grades. I use the grades of their course as incentive for students to learn and practice their scales etc. For example, many students want to pass Ultimate Guitar Method Step B and so have to learn the sight reading, exercises and scales.

In summary, don’t be too concerned if your child doesn’t want to practice scales. Sure, that would be ideal, but the vast majority of guitarists become interested in these areas as they improve. However, if your child is happy to practice scales and exercises then that’s great too, but the most important thing is that they are playing and learning – and having fun while doing it!

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