Life is so busy.

Piano practice may not be at the top of the list of things to do. But hopefully, our pupil is at least getting to it soon after the lesson now.

Two things to help with practice time:

  1. Find a regular time when your child is not tired that can be dedicated to doing exactly what we did in the lesson. We can do so much more in the next lesson if this happens. Even if it is only a short time it will make all the difference.

I had a friend who wanted to keep up playing the cello over his time studying maths at university. He told himself that no matter what he would commit to practising 15 minutes a day. Some days that was all he did and that was fine, but other days once he was there he got carried away and did more. Suffice to say he completed his maths degree and kept up his skills on the cello. It no doubt helped his other learning in useful ways too.

  1. Decide on a realistic length of time for practice appropriate to the age and stage of your child.

When I was growing up the minimum expectation was 1 hour a day, 6 days a week. With modern schedules these days that would be a challenge, but my hope is that you will find a time that is as frequent as possible and a time length that is reasonable and manageable for the age of your child. Talk to me about this further if you need to.

Take a fresh look at practice. It needs to be a realistic length at a regular time.  We want them to finish their practice on a happy note with a sense of achievement. So if everyone is grumpy, reassess the length of time you are allowing. Again, let me know how you get on. Every time I get feedback from you it helps me do my job better in some way or other. Next time I’ll give some thoughts about how to maximise the time we do set aside for practice.

Awaken your musical potential 

My Aim!  

Lately I’ve been thinking of a tag line/mission statement for Accent Music School. It has been a valuable exercise because it has made me realise what I seek to achieve in a young person’s lesson.

There are two things I’m seeking to do:

  1. Help them with the basic and technical skills to actually play music well. (Often these are the things they need to do.)
  2. Find ways that inspire them to keep at that learning process. (Often these are the things they want to do.)

So that’s my job in a nutshell: how I can help you help me to do this, in order to reach your young person’s full musical potential. I want to set them up to enjoy their music for life. 

Over the next little while I will be picking areas to give some attention to that I see across a wide range of pupils over my teaching week. So here is one thing for now that I see as essential for making good use of the time and money you have invested in music lessons.  

Play Straight Away

On the day of the lesson – while it is still fresh in their memory, ask about what they learned. Could they play their latest piece to someone who wasn’t at the lesson? Or could they talk about something interesting we did?

Point 1 above may often be when we are covering the things that need some work, and may not be the fun stuff. Point 2 is when they are doing something that has become enjoyable when the hard work has paid off. We need both to make consistent progress.

I’m a parent too and I know that more often than not, when my kids were learning their instruments, I was guilty of just wanting to focus on the work required to improve, so I could get on with whatever else I was doing. Encourage them to show you the difficult parts they need to work on and have time to play the stuff they enjoy.  It doesn’t need to take long – in fact you may find it is better to have a short, enjoyable time than going into a lot of detail that makes you both tired. The best time to do this is the day they learned it. It will set them up for the week and immediately establish what they have just learned.

I would be really surprised if you do not get a noticeable improvement as a result of this simple but intentional approach. Please let me know how you get on. I want to know successes or challenges so I can keep improving outcomes and continue to awaken the musical potential in our young people.