For consistent improvement elementary school aged students should be practicing 5 days a week for 20-30 minutes each session. Older students should be practicing 5-7 days a week for 30-60 minutes. For most of us improvement will be directly related to practicing so the more quality practicing the more improvement.
Getting Your Kids Involved
Nothing is better than making music with other musicians. Is your drummer playing in the orchestra, jazz band or marching band at school? Does she have a group of friends who play other instruments? Does mom or dad, brother or sister play an instrument or are they interested in learning? Any of these will really give purpose to our private lessons.
Playing vs. Practicing
I encourage my students to have as much fun as possible while playing the drums. "Playing" the drums is sitting behind the drum set and playing the beats and fills that they can already play, the ones that groove and come easily. "Practicing" the drums is sitting at the drum set concentrated and determined, working through the lesson material and being diligent until they get it. In my lessons I will assign just enough homework that with 20-60 minutes of "practice" 5-7 days a week my students will have made progress, learned something new and feel good about the accomplishment.
For all of my students parental involvement is critical. Parents should look in the lesson folder each week to see about the current assignment. Talk with your drummer about scheduling her 20-60 minutes of "practice" 5-7 times a week. Maybe even ask her to explain what they're working on and have them demonstrate the lesson.
My greatest strides have come when I've been inspired about what I'm learning and why I'm learning it. Performing in the band, orchestra and marching band all through my schooling inspired me to do well in private lessons, performing in my cool rock band in high school inspired me to play with confidence (as well as have tight pants and big hair), going to college for music, participating in jazz combos and wind ensemble inspired me to practice every day and living in New Orleans inspired me to learn to play jazz.
I will look for what inspires my students and from there we will learn to make music on the drums.