🎻 If you want your child to progress, ensure they practice each and every day! 🎻
- The only way meaningful progress is made on a musical instrument is through daily practice.
- It works best to treat practicing, like brushing teeth, as something that is not optional.
- A good rule of thumb is to practice the same amount each day as your lesson length.
- GOALS, both short term and long term, are essential for helping focus our practice.
- FACT 1: Most kids DO NOT willingly practice on their own. (If yours does, that’s totally great!!) My own kids (now music majors in college) had to be reminded and sometimes nagged every day. So did I!
- FACT 2: The best teacher in the world cannot teach a child to play an instrument unless the child is practicing every day or ALMOST every day.
- When a student practices every day, day after day, they build on what they did the day before. Progress is cumulative and can be rapid. Fun and rewarding!!! 👍
- Don’t skip days! Skipping days makes progress stop. A skipped day means you miss out on that cumulative effect. Practicing after a skipped day is mostly repeating/trying to regain what they had. Frustrating and discouraging!! 😭
- Practicing only the day before your lesson (or the day of!) DOES NOT replace a week’s worth of solid practice. Trust me. 🤦🏻♀️ And yes, teachers can tell.
- Coming “prepared” to a lesson means your child put in thoughtful work each day with the goal of being able to play through their assignment without difficulty at their next lesson. Correct notes, correct rhythm, correct bowings, at a minimum. Little or no need to stop and start. Playing is clean, confident and clear, with a beautiful tone, at the correct tempo, not messy. 👍
- REPETITION is the name of the game. Repeating a tough spot multiple times actually gets a lot done, but it’s important not to lapse into mindless repetition. THOUGHTFUL, improvement-oriented repetition gets results. Once a student figures out how to play a passage really correctly, it's time for MANY CORRECT REPETITIONS!
- PLAYING WITH A METRONOME is a super important skill to perfect rhythmic accuracy, and can really organize practicing.
- "My child is confused/stumped!” Did they really TRY to figure it out? 🤔 If after really thinking about something and trying to figure it out, your child is still confused, skip that part and go on to something else. If a student is stopping and starting multiple times through their assignment during their lesson, not enough figuring out was done at home.
- PROGRESS over PERFECTION. Always ask the question: Did I achieve noticeable improvement and progress on this tough passage just now as I practiced it? If the answer is yes, give yourself a pat on the back. You can either keep working on it to achieve even more results, or you may move on to work on something different, feeling good about what you did. Tomorrow is another day to build on what you achieved!
- If your child is truly struggling to figure out how to do their assignment between lessons, please LET YOUR TEACHER KNOW so they can help! We do not mind questions! Never hesitate to shoot us an email or text if something is not clear.
- Resources for parents trying to help their children practice: Helping Parents Practice and Building Violin Skills, both by Edmund Sprunger, are good resources to help parents understand practice issues and figure out how to help their kids practice.
Exhilarating, obvious forward progress is achievable through sustained daily practice. Lessons are a billion times more fun and rewarding and productive when the practicing was solid for the week. If that work does not occur, the lesson is the same frustrating experience week after week with no progress made, or even backward sliding as skills once gained start to fizzle away from lack of maintenance through practice. Help your child be an awesome practicer!!