Ideally of course a child will practise because they love it, but more often than not, it depends on the energy of the parent to enforce practice.
My mother made me practise, and there was never any thought of reward. The only benefit that I ever experienced was that I could be excused from washing or wiping dishes after dinner if I did my practice. That was a great motivator, and one which made me very unpopular with my siblings!
These days I have students who have been ‘encouraged’ to practise by means of gifts, trips, money and even a mini iPad.
At Stellar Music School we have just instigated a “PRACTICE STAR OF THE WEEK” poster in the waiting room which features a photo of each week’s most industrious student.
One parent promised their child an incentive if they got their picture on the board. I have to admit that this child’s performance in her class the following week was extremely impressive!
As a music teacher, it is my hope that one day our students will sit down at the piano or get out their instrument because the enjoyment derived from practising and then playing is so great, but in the meantime, we continue to labour to inspire, and to show that the end result and enjoyment is worth the hard work.