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On Practicing

Parents, you can give your children the gift of focus and discipline by assisting them in learning the art of practice! With so many things vying for their attention in this age of video games, internet and texting, the ability to focus on an activity for an extended length of time is one of the most important skills they can learn. The great skill of practice they can acquire studying the piano can spell success for them in their studies at school and beyond. I do my best in class to teach the students how to practice, and inspire them to do it with incentives and rewards. Parents can reinforce good practicing at home with rewards as well. Remember parents you can help your children develop this great life-skill early which will payoff now and into adulthood!

I cannot stress enough that playing the piano requires consistent daily practice; without it, the student is doomed to failure and is wasting time and money taking lessons. "Failing to prepare is preparing to fail." Each lesson introduces new concepts and skills and the student must be diligent in doing the work required to master the skills. All students are asked to play the week's music assignment a minimum of twice daily, five days a week, between lessons. Generally, beginning students can do the practicing required to succeed within 15 minutes time. As the year progresses, the difficulty of the music does as well, therefore more time may be needed to cover the week's assigned material. It is a good idea to break up practice time throughout their day. Studies show that more than one visit to the piano daily often produces better results than doing it in one sitting.

Group piano is a dynamic approach to piano study. In private lessons, students can repeat the same materials over and over in each lesson due to failure to practice. However, the group piano setting discourages non practice, as the student who fails to practice will find it very difficult to keep up with the rest of the class. Remember, daily practice, at least five days weekly produces results. Cramming all of their practice into one or two days before their lesson actually actually discourages the student in their piano endeavours. Letting days go by before settling down to practice leads to forgetting much of what was taught in the lesson, resulting in the music becoming difficult. This difficulty produces anxiety and frustration, which makes the student want to avoid practicing altogether. It becomes stressful work instead of enjoyable learning, and it is no mystery why lack of practice is the main reason students end up wanting to give up piano study.

Intermediate and advanced students often need to reestablish their practicing skills, not only to continue to perform at a consistent level, but to excel and attain new heights of ability! For some, this might mean 30 minutes of daily practice, for others 45 minutes. Some students find more success with practicing in increments and going back and forth several times a day.  Sometimes, a student is working hard but ineffectively.  Always feel free about contacting the teacher about your concerns with your child's practice habits. Parental involvement  can be the determining factor in a child's success at piano studies.