Quality, consistent practice is a necessary component of
PROGRESS, ENJOYMENT, & SUCCESS
in all music study!
I teach students HOW to practice, and I set clear expectations and goals
to help them achieve successful practice.
I expect students to practice 5-6 days every week, and to practice the amount of time it takes
to work on assignments correctly, with attention to quality.
Choosing to take piano lessons = choosing to make practice a priority!
It isn't enough to just attend the lesson -
Learning piano requires daily, committed practice to apply, develop and master
all the skills learned at the lesson.
For Students age 5-18:
Extra-curricular activities such as sports, drama, dance, gymnastic, etc. are NOT considered valid excuses
for not practicing on a regular basis.
Students AND parents should be clear about their readiness to make the necessary time commitment
that is required for piano practice.
(1) SET UP A REGULAR SCHEDULE.
Excellence is a habit! Don't leave it to chance, for when you "feel like it," or "if" you have time. Make an appointment each day when you plan to practice, and stick with it!
PRO TIP: Set it up in your phone's calendar and create reminder alerts.
PARENTS: Young students need a lot of help learning time management skills, and how to use time productively.
(2) CHOOSE YOUR TIME WISELY.
Choose time to practice that: (1) is optimal for YOUR concentration, and (2) puts to good use ANY available time you have!
Do you have 15 minutes in the morning, or maybe 20 minutes in the afternoon, or 15 minutes in the evening? Small pockets of practice time can be very productive!
For students in school: Schedule it BEFORE homework. I know! Homework is important... but trust me: Don't wait until everything else is done, because most likely, you'll skip practice, only practice a small amount, or it will be so late that you're too tired to practice well! Right after school, or early in the morning before school, is an ideal time. Schedule it before other activities fill up your time, and you'll have better energy and focus to achieve quality learning.
(3) TAKE BREAKS.
If practicing 30, 45 or 60 minutes straight is too hard, seems overwhelming, or you're losing focus, take a break! Break up your practice time into smaller 15-20 minute chunks and divide up your assignments to get things done in each mini-session. Just be sure to go back after each break and get it all done!
(4) REVIEW ASSIGNMENTS & INSTRUCTIONS, AND SET GOALS.
Do this before you begin every day, so you don't waste time playing randomly or forget important tasks. Plan two or three big goals that you need to reach by the end of the week. Then, set small goals each day that will help you stay focused on assignment instructions and make smart practicing choices. PRO TIP: Keep a practice log or practice journal to track and organize your goals & tasks.
(5) REMOVE DISTRACTIONS.
Be sure your practice space is quiet and free from distractions:
Ask family members to not interrupt you and to stay out of the practice room while you're working.
Put devices and phones on silent mode - better yet, put it in Airplane Mode so alerts don't pop up! Don't text, answer calls, go on Facebook, or play games during practice time - unless it's an assigned music game!
Turn off the TV, if it's in the same room.
(6) GET FOCUSED & BREATHE.
Feeling stressed or anxious? Is it hard to "turn off" busy thoughts or things to do? Feeling rushed for time and your mind can't sit still?
ALL students - both young AND adult - experience this!
If you have trouble shifting your attention out of high gear from the thoughts & activities of your day, you may feel distracted, unmotivated, or unable to concentrate on practicing piano.
To find focus and enjoy better practice, try some mindful deep breathing exercises before you begin.
Get started here:
Visit the Wellness page for lots of breathing ideas & other resources.
(7) RECORD YOURSELF!
Use your mobile device to take audio or video recordings of what you're practicing, then play it back - be your own teacher, and listen for things that you can fix and improve!
(8) HAVE FUN! Try incorporating some toys and games to make practice more playful! See my ideas in: Practice Toys.
Instead of working harder, WORK SMARTER! Think outside the box, and try some unusual (fun!) strategies; Start here: THE PIANO STUDENT'S GUIDE TO EFFECTIVE PRACTICING.
Visit my other pages for fun ideas & inspiration: