Many times I am asked the question, “How often should a younger student practice?” This is a very good question, and the practice strategy should be different with younger students. First of all, let me define a younger student. I would say that any music student especially between the ages of 5-7 years old should follow a different practice routine.
For older students, it is easier to sit down and practice for at least 20-30 minutes at one sitting at least 5 days per week, but with younger students, the factor of shorter attention span must be taken into consideration. If you are the parent of a younger student, you may discover that it is quite a fight to get your 6 year old to sit down and practice for any considerable length of time.
I have found it helpful to suggest that the younger student will progress better if practice times are kept down to 5 minute increments two-three times a day. Following this guideline may actually change practice time from a drudgery to something your child can actually enjoy. Also, at this age, parental involvement in the practice time makes a big difference. Some of the most rapidly progressing students I have taught have been the ones where I know that the parent participates with the student in practice times regularly.
Try using these tips to turn your students practice times into something they actually look forward to. It may actually help keep your students interested in lessons for years to come.