About Practice

11 Jul

Here’s a good write-up about daily practice for parents with young students.   Thanks Billie!

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The success of all educational pursuits is in large part determined by consistency.   This is especially true for string students.  For them, the consistency required for adequate progress must be the result of a collaborative effort between parent and teacher.   It is the teacher’s job to fill the lesson with activities that prepare students for success.  It is the parent’s responsibility to develop and maintain an environment that allows daily reinforcement of what occurs during the lesson.

We know that there are days when it is not possible to fit in a practice session.  However, there are three guidelines to keep in mind when scheduling your child’s week:

  • No week goes by without a minimum of five days of practice.
  • Even under extreme circumstances, never allow two days in a row of missed practice.
  • The first practice session should take place within 24 hours of the lesson.

The best results come from cumulative, daily practice; what we do in the lesson can never make up for lack of practice.

The child who practices at the same time each day makes significantly greater progress than the child who does not.  Because each child has a different schedule, the best practice time is one that suits him or her.  With this in mind, you and your child should set aside a mutually agreed upon time to practice.  This time should be used only for practice-  no interruptions from phone, video games, tv or errands.  Children practice best in private.  Most successful students seem to practice right before school or immediately after dinner.  Don’t allow anything short of illness or emergency to interfere with this schedule.

Practicing is not so much a matter of time spent, but a matter of mind spent.  Your child should practice long enough to cover the entire weekly assignment, including warm-up scales/exercises, new music and review pieces.  Practice should be short enough to stay within the student’s attention and interest span.  Therefore it may be beneficial to schedule two shorter periods to practice each day, rather than one long period.

Other suggestions:

  • Immediately after the lesson, ask your child what they learned that day, and to show you the new assignment in his or her lesson book.
  • At the first practice session following the lesson, spend a few minutes helping practice one or two pieces.  Even if you do not play an instrument, encourage your child through instructions on the assignment sheet in the lesson book.
  • If there are questions about assignments,  do not hesitate to contact me!
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