websites to help with practice
13 ways to motivate student to practice
"You practice and you get better. It's as simple as that."
-Philip Glass
Basically, when a student understands “why”, “how”, “where” and “when” to practice, they have been given power.  They will feel a sense of responsibility, which will then lead to self motivation and routine.  Ideally we want our children to have ownership over their own learning in every aspect of life, and music education is a wonderful way to teach this!
Set goals for practice sessions. 
Goals are dependent upon the student's ability, what s/he knows and what s/he is learning. 
Goals are challenging, but not impossible to achieve during practice. 
Goals are specific. Words like "good," "like you are really trying" or "without goofing around" are not specific. Try
  • Number of times
  • How much of the piece
  • With the metronome
  • Each note correctly

Be consistent. follow through on everything you say. 

  • Integrate practice into your schedule.

  • Structure practice sessions so the student knows what to expect. 

  • Get some ideas from Practice Games.

  • Engage the student by challenging him/her to play an old piece, add a physical component, for example standing on a box, etc. (I have a challenge for you. Do you remember how to play...?) If the student enjoys "challenges," make them part of your practice routine. 

  • Practice should end on a good note. 

  • Especially with special needs students and if a student feels learning is hopeless,  measure progress by recalling where s/he began, how much s/he learned.  Remind him/her that there were things that were hard at first and are easy now. Notice how many stars or points s/he has earned. 

  • If you have a private teacher observe some lessons. What strategies does s/he successfully?

  • Make mistakes. Model appropriate behavior for dealing with mistakes.