A Touch of Classical Plus, Inc. - Calderon Music Studio

“Teaching is not my main purpose. I want to make good citizens.” – Shinichi Suzuki

Thoughts on Practice

Published: Oct 6, 2020  |   Category: Practice Tips

The thought of practicing evokes different emotions and reactions in students. For some, it seems a difficult chore. For others, they ease into with a fun motivation.  But whether we are learning an instrument, a math concept, or new words in a new language, we must practice.

For us adults, when we set out to accomplish a goal, practicing is needed, too. For some, we use a vision board to get us moving. For others, we relying on a planner or our phone calendars. However we look at practice, we must do it.

  1. Use a practice chart for the young student. Place it on a wall or refrigerator where they can see it and place a sticker on the tasks completed.  Use a reward system. When a goal is accomplished, they receive whatever that reward is. 
  2. Use a planner for the older student. With the busyness of middle and high school, you will not survive properly without writing assignments down.
  3. Your teacher or the chart outlines what is to be focused on in a lesson. For me, it is Scales, Tone/Bowings/Technique, Reading, and Piece. You can designate a time for each segment. Or divide the time you allot for practice each day on a different task. 
  4. Don't worry if you didn't accomplish something on the list. Worry is the worst thing you can do to yourself.
  5. Practice before you do your homework. I promise that if you do those other things first, practicing your instrument will not get done because you'll be too tired. And you shouldn't practice tired.
  6. When you have more time (like a day off from school or a holiday) practice more.
  7. Always, always, always make listening to good music - especially the pieces you are learning - part of your practice time. This can be passive or active listening. 
  8. Always practice reading the music before attempting to play it. Analyze it. What new symbols do you see? What are the key and time signatures?  What is the highest interval?  What is the form? Are there accidentals? Slurs? What are the dynamics? Who wrote it? To what period of music does the piece belong? This is something I do in my groups. In other words, do a little research. This is what studying looks like. It will go a long way when you are practicing the piece and will help you to perform it better.
  9. Be intentional. Growth won't happen without work. Even the most gifted musician has to work at his/her art. 
  10. Push when you don't feel like it. Do not give in to those emotions because they so often lie to us. When you don't feel like practicing or studying, get up, stretch, and then take out that instrument, or pick up that music and read. 

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