Since my last blog some of my pupils sat piano exams. I was delighted with how well everyone did. The day before the results came out I read a proverb which I’ve been thinking about ever since.
The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.” Prov 21:5
I’ve been thinking how
- we put a plan in place in order to learn what was needed for the exam;
- we got busy, diligently working on new pieces and other challenges such as ear tests, sight reading and scales;
- we saw how all that hard work led to profit gained in areas of confidence and going up a new skill level.
The plan involved a commitment from 3 parties:
- the pupil,
- the parents,
- the tutor.
There were times when pupils felt they were not going to get it all learned in time. That’s where they had to work to a timetable of preparation I gave them each week so that they peaked at the right time. The parents had to support that practice and make sure it happened – especially for those who were new to the idea of exams.
The second part of the proverb addresses haste. There were also times when we had to work slowly through difficult passages so they were learned well. Without working on this attention to detail, the results would have been much poorer.
All of this raises the question: What are your practice plans? Maybe you have a project you are working towards, or a piece you really want to learn to play. Or maybe you want your child to just learn the piano. The latter needs a bit more direction. If you want to talk to me about aiming for something in particular (it doesn’t need to be an exam, but I do work hard to make sure that is not the scary thing some folks think of), please get in touch. Also, keep asking those post-lesson questions that we talked about in the last blog.
I am finding in my personal life and business that a 90 day plan works well. I can break it down into days, weeks, months and 90 days, and see measurable things to aim for in a range of areas.
Recently, using this method, I was really pleased to finalise my second book for Headstart Piano and get a first print done. Before this my current pupils had been learning their music from copies of its pages off my printer. I’m convinced I’d not be at this point without a clear plan in place.
So, as you think about your situation, here are just a few possibilities you could plan to aim for:
- Have a particular piece in a tutor book to get to by the end of a term.
- Plan a date for a mini recital to play for.
- Decide with your tutor (so that the level of ability is right) a particular piece to learn.
- Work towards a music exam.
- Scales help with so much. Why not aim to learn a particular number by a certain time?
- Get quicker at various stages of note recognition with timed exercises.
There was something else I noticed with the outcome of my pupils’ exam results. For those new to exams there was a special gratitude to those around them who had helped them achieve a fairly challenging goal. For those pupils familiar with the exam process, they took better charge of their own learning from previous experiences and were able, to a larger extent, to put their own practice plan in place.