The 5 best practice tips
(2 minute read)
Practice makes perfect. Of course I’d say that and of course it’s true. But what’s to be said about perfect practice? It takes less time than you think. Incorporate these 5 easy habits and you’re on your way to rockstar success!
1. Plan on participating in their practice. Because if you can’t sit down and do it, why should they? Mom or dad always sat down with my brother and I. And if they didn’t have the time to stay in the same room, they’d be nearby commenting on what we need to do again, what we did well, and reminding us what we’ve got to get to next. No, they didn’t have to sit with us for our entire childhoods’ worth of music lessons, but they did this long enough so that we eventually could do it ourselves. Training. We were children after all. ‘Dedication’ and ‘practice’ and ‘repetition’ were words that had to be taught, not just words to understand. And that incorporated practice gave us one more thing we did as a family.
2. Create a schedule. You know how our adult lives depend on a tangible, actual schedule? I know I’d be lost if I didn’t have tasks categorized with time to complete each. It’s never too early to learn how to schedule and why it’s important. Yes, we veer off on tangents and may not stick to a schedule all the time. But leaving your child’s work up to them to complete can be dangerous. I find some students claiming they just don’t have the time to practice. I’m sure a schedule they can see will help them understand that they have PLENTY of time. Download a scheduling app they set up themselves and check off completed tasks. My rule is that if your lesson is 30min, then so must your practice time. This doesn’t have to be done all at once. 2 groups of 15 min… 6 groups of 5 min.. Whatever works for your schedule. 3 times a week, minimum.
3. Reward consistent practice, and equally provide a consequence to non practice. Because not keeping your commitments in real life results in job loss, financial loss, poor grades… Etc. Let’s face it. Piano lessons aren’t going to make or break your child’s financial future. We can agree though that keeping your word has more value and ultimate gain than letting it slide. And when your child does do well, as with any job or task in life, it should be rewarded. My mom took us to McDonalds as a treat. Probably not the best choice, as I haven’t really stopped treating myself… But you get the point 🙂
4. Sit in on lessons. there’s no better way to understand how your child is doing than by attending their lesson. It doesn’t have to be all the time. Just enough so you understand how your money is being spent, what the teacher expects of your child and how they should practice at home. This will come in handy when you sit and stay with them while they practice. You can reiterate what the teacher has assigned and help them have efficient home practice.
5. Read your child’s notebook. I write everything I say, down in their notebook. From theory, to technique, to books they need to purchase. It outlines what their homework is and how they should practice. So much more homework would be done if parents chipped in and read the notebook too. I want you and your child to get the most out of the money you’ve spent and enjoy the skills they’re learning.
Remember when you took lessons? ‘Twas painful, no? Your parents had you attend lessons for the reasons outlined above and perhaps it’s why you’ve enrolled your kids in lessons too. Perhaps they love music and really want to take lessons. Either way, adding these simple tips to your families regime will make for happier, more satisfied, proficient young musicians.
Creative Director, AK Arts Academy
BA Music, Post Grad Diploma Communications and Public Relations
Producer, Jack Richardson Music Awards