Learning to practice is the first step!
I would say the number one concern parents have in regards to music lessons is how to get their kids to practice! It is no secret that kids need to practice in order to improve in anything, but practice is not something we are simply born with. Many people have this idea of, "now you're in lessons so now you are going to practice." Tell that to a five year old, most of them will have no idea what you are talking about!
Of course we want every student to be so excited about music lessons that they play their instrument every day (and some do...but they really are the exception to the rule). Practice is a GOAL that takes time to cultivate as a part of your daily routine. No habits happen with the snap of your fingers. There will be ups and there will be downs. The best place to start building good practice habits is to discuss these 3 things:
1. What is a habit? (trust me....many kids, and some adults, cannot answer this question!)
2. How do we learn good habits?
3. When is a good time to build music into our routine every day?
When students learn to work at things that are hard until they become easy, to incorporate new things into their daily life, and to have longterm goals, then they will apply those skills to many, many tasks and skills throughout their lives. This really is the first gift of music.