1. CONSISTENCY IS KEY: set the same time to practice each day, i.e.: 20 minutes before leaving for school, 4:30pm every day, right after brushing your teeth, etc. The more automatic you make it (so it's part of a routine), the easier it will be to sit down and do it. Shoot for 6 days of practice per week... if you miss a day or so, you're still on track.
2. SLOWER IS BETTER: I know everyone wants to play fast (it's fun!), but you gotta crawl before you can walk (and run!). Just like lifting weights, what matters most is form. It's harder to play slowly with perfect technique, but you get a lot out of it... building finger strength and good habits. Only play as fast as you can maintain perfect hand position, and work up speed from there. Never compromise your technique!
3. PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT: Younger kids may need a parent to sit with them during their practice time to be sure everything is accomplished. Watch for teachers' instructions written on each assignment and be sure each direction is followed.
4. REWARDS! Nothing is better incentive than a reward at the end of the month for achieving goals for regular piano practice. A calendar (or check list) can be utilized to keep track of how often the student is practicing. Set a goal of 6x per week (or 5x) and when the student achieves 4 weeks of consistent practice, give them a reward! Having the student choose their reward at the beginning of the month (so there's something to work toward that he/she really wants) is a great idea!
West Seattle's Best Private Instruction