Musician Wynton Marsalis offers these tips on how to practice. “These will work for almost every activity—from music to schoolwork to sports,” he says.

  1. Write out a schedule. This will help organize time. Make sure your child sets aside some time for the fundamentals—practicing scales, shooting free throws, memorizing vocabulary words.

  2. Set goals. One of the best things to come out of any practice session can be a sense of moving toward a goal.

  3. Concentrate. “You can do more in 10 minutes of focused practice than in an hour of sighing and moaning,” Marsalis says. Turn off the TV and radio.

  4. Practice hard things longer. Sometimes, kids want to spend their time doing the things they do well. Instead, they need to come “face to face with [their] shortcomings,” Marsalis says.

  5. Learn from mistakes. Everyone makes them—so everyone needs to learn how to deal with them.

  6. Look for connections. It takes practice to learn a language, make music, or be a good athlete. “If you develop the discipline it takes to become good at something, that discipline will help you in whatever else you do,” Marsalis concludes.

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