Six Keys to Successful Practice

  • Practice is essential to learning music; the more you practice, the more quickly you will grow as a musician. We strongly recommend a minimum of twenty minutes of practice, five days a week.
  • Practice slowly and carefully – thinking   constantly of what you are trying to accomplish. Concentrate on the work at hand and avoid automatic practice.
  • Practice short sections of a song at one time. Keyboard players should practice hands separately first, then hands together. Wind players should practice fingering a difficult passage before actually playing it.
  • Repeat each difficult part in the music until it can be correctly played three times in a row. (Once is accidental, twice is coincidental, and three times mastery.) Merely playing the music through once does not constitute practicing.
  • Incorporate the proper rhythm, fingering, phrasing, articulation, and dynamics in your practices from the very first time you play a piece. Playing the correct notes is only a very small part of learning music.
  • A few minutes of thorough practice are worth hours of haphazard, careless work. You’ve heard it said that “practice makes perfect”; though the truth is that only perfect practice makes perfect.
  • Remember, no question you have is unimportant. That is why you take lessons. Communication between student and teacher is essential to learning.


Practice Makes Perfect

Practice makes perfect – or so the saying goes. But how do you help organize your child’s practice to keep them interested and motivated? After all, poorly structured practice could do more harm than good. Your child may not make real progress with the instrument and could get bored. There are ways that you can help your child make the most out of their practice time.

Children can’t structure a half-hour themselves. They need someone to coach them.” -Professor John Sloboda, Psychologist


Top Tips

  • Practice should be a regular part of your child’s daily routine. Good times may be when they get home from school before homework or before school.
  • Don’t push young children into long practice sessions – five or ten minutes will probably be enough
  • It helps if you listen to them and encourage them as they practice, especially with younger children
  • Don’t make practice a punishment, or your child may start to see it as a chore
  • Some teachers recommend a practice record book to fill in, with comments on whether they have enjoyed a particular piece, or found a scale or exercise challenging. This encourages the pupil to be involved and reflect on their motivation and progress.
  • Encourage your child to practice slowly and to take difficult passages apart to try and find out what the difficulty is. Things don’t get better by just playing the music over and over again with the same errors.


Help your child with a practice plan to include:

  • Warming-up
  • Scales and the last song that they have practiced
  • Any new material they have been assigned – they   should try to master any challenging parts first
  • Encourage them to end with a piece that they have   finished and enjoy playing
  • Helping Your Child Pratice Music
  • As a modern parent, making time is the greatest challenge. Beyond this, finding the energy to positively invest in your child during a practice session can be tough. Remember that concepts, physical coordination, and muscular strength development take time. Enjoy their mistakes and laugh them off together! Let them know that making mistakes is the best way to learn how to be better, and that musically it shows them where to practice.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help yourself! If you don’t understand, have the student or their teacher explain it to you. This not only keeps you informed, but also shows your child that it is acceptable to ask questions, a very important part of learning anything. Asking your child for help is a good platform for bonding, but it also helps to empower them as people. Sooner or later they’ll realize you don’t know everything, and it is better to reach that stage before they’re teens and difficult!
  • One of the great miracles of music is that it can lead to a deeper understanding and relationship between people and art. Capitalize on your musical time with your child to open these doors together.