How To Practice

The key to your child’s success is both a sufficient amount of practice time as well as the correct type of practice.

After 3-4 lessons, they have learned some techniques for practicing for success. These are some of the things that you should be hearing when they practice:

1. Not all practice means playing the instrument--- in fact, when learning a new song, there should be a lot more non-playing activities than playing.

2. Students should be following the “3 step process” when they practice, which means that they should count the rhythm out loud first, then speak the note names out loud fluently in rhythm while pressing the correct keys on the instrument, and finally play the song, only when ready.

3. Students should repeat each step of the process until it is correct and can be performed fluently.

Many students find that reading the notes quickly can be challenging at the beginning. It is OKAY and expected if they find themselves repeating step 2 (speak the note names out loud in rhythm) several times before playing. This gets easier with time.

Other tips:

1. Spend a few minutes warming up—brass players should buzz on the mouthpiece, all wind instruments should play long notes to focus on playing with a good sound, percussion students should play a few scales or rudiments to get wrists warmed up.

2. Practice slowly and correctly—add speed later.

3. Break up longer or harder songs into sections.

4. Remember to pay attention to proper posture and hand position, playing with a good sound, etc. when playing.

5. DO NOT write the note names in the music—over the long term this can cause problems and bad habits.

6. Spread out the songs over the course of the week. At the beginning of the week, there is more “figuring out” of the music going on, so students won’t get to as much music. Practice a different few songs each day.

7. Remember that many songs are a work in progress. Harder songs may take a few weeks of practice to perfect--- this is OK!

8. Practice the harder songs MORE often than the easy songs -- that’s how to improve.