The purpose of this study was to describe the practice motivation and regulation of sixth-grade instrumentalists (11–12 years of age). A sample of 224 US band and orchestra students, representing 85 elementary schools, completed a 36-item practice inventory and produced two narratives depicting a typical practice session and a practice episode involving a difficult piece of music. Factor analysis of practice inventory responses demonstrated that motivation and self-regulation are distinct dimensions of music practice. While orchestra students reported significantly higher levels of practice motivation, there were no significant differences between band and orchestra students' self-reports for frequency of practice, amount of practice, or practice regulation. Practice motivation and regulation were associated with the quality of home environment in which students typically practice. Written narratives revealed that some students employ a range of practice and regulatory strategies, while others follow practice routines that cannot be considered strategic. Practice motivation was reflected in student comments about personal interest, effort, and emotional responses experienced while practicing.