Let’s Talk About Practicing

Let’s face it, establishing a routine is not easy. Whether getting yourself motivated or encouraging your child (without nagging), establishing and maintaining a practice routine is a challenge. Over the past couple weeks, I’ve been working with my young students to promote the importance of practicing and setting goals as we begin a new year of lessons.

I am obsessed with finding ways to help your child improve their playing. As our lesson time is short yet directed, I have come to find that time between lessons is when quality improvement can happen. The past couple years, I’ve offered practice cards as a tool to help students know what to practice. That custom will continue at the end of each lesson. This past week we are going deeper beyond setting targets and goals and looking at "How to Practice.”

How to Practice Poster

The essence of our deep dive into practicing comes back to the essence of music: listening. When practicing their violin, students have been instructed to ask themselves while playing.

Am I playing in tune?

Am I playing in time?

Am I playing touch?

I have provided a more thorough explanation in an infographic that also offers strategies to help tackle tricky spots and break down new tunes.

Click to view the full infographic. I am planning to print this in poster format and would be happy to offer prints to families for a small cost.

Prior to working a tune out, students should have listened and committed it to memory. Once internalized, these questions offer clear targets students can aim for beyond just knowing what fingers to play in what order. With consistent practice, student will slowly build confidence in the tune and in their playing.

I will continue to offer tips and strategies students can use  while practicing throughout the year. I am happy to work with any parents who might experience any struggles in maintaining practice routines. Be on the lookout for an upcoming practice challenge and incentives as I continue to put emphasis on practicing throughout the year.