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Practice Guidelines

·         Practice must be scheduled at a regular time each day and become part of each student’s daily routine.  Morning time is the very best for quality practice time.   After school will be a bit less productive for piano practice, and after dinner is just frustrating for students and parents.  The most productive practice session of the week is often the one directly after a student’s lesson.  Whenever possible, try to take advantage of this practice time when my instructions are still fresh on your child’s mind.

·         As a general statement:  parents should sit with students during daily practice until there is no difference in outcome with or without the parent present.

·         If a piece of music is too stressful or big, break it up into manageable pieces.

·         Each day’s practice is not finished until the day’s goals have been reached, not when “time is up.”  I give suggestions for daily practice times only as a model.  Students should use the Steps to Success sheet for help staying on track to finish each assigned piece.

·         I have found that students who make weekly “practice plans” excel at astonishing speeds!  Just after a student gets out of piano lesson, the student and parent should sit down and make a “practice plan” for the week.  This plan should be organized into obtainable daily goals.  If you choose to do this with your student, please send the new weekly “practice plan” to each piano lesson.  If something isn’t working, I will make suggestions.

·         Most students will have a “Sight-Reading” assignment each week.  These assignments are generally “one piece each day” from a book I have loaned.  “Sight-Reading” assignments should not be repeated day after day.  The point is to be able to play a piece almost perfectly the first time through (a very rewarding experience!) and to build sight-reading skills in the process.  The pieces I assign for sight-reading should be relatively easy for your child to enjoy the first time they are played.

·         If a student has gone 3 weeks with insufficient practice, he or she will be put on “Practice Probation.”  Once the student and parent have been notified, 3 weeks of probation will be given to get back on track with regular practice.  At the end of the 3 weeks, the student and parent will meet with the teacher to assess progress during the probation period.  If no progress is made, the student may be dismissed from the studio.


Guidelines for different age groups


Children ages 5-9 WILL NEED parental guidance during EACH daily practice session.

·         Parental Responsibilities for this age group are:

o   Create the week’s practice plan with your child as soon as possible after piano lesson.  Help your child to complete and check-off each day’s goals as they are reached!

o   Sit with your child for his/her entire practice session

o   Help your child stay focused by gently reminding which “daily goal” you are trying to complete

o   Log daily practice times in the journal

Children ages 10-12 still need parental supervision of practice, but need to develop independent responsibility for completing assignments.

·         Parental Responsibilities for this age group are:

o   Create the week’s practice plan with your child as soon as possible after piano lesson.  Check to see at the end of the day’s practice if that day’s goals have been completed.  If they have not been completed, add what is left to the practice plan for the next day.

o   Parent should listen actively to what is being “practiced.”  Make sure it is practice!

§  If you hear last year’s recital piece, or another of your child’s favorites over and over, your child isn’t practicing!

§  If you hear the same mistakes made over and over, try to help your child identify the problem spot(s).  Try to work on problem spots in small pieces.  If the problem is 8 measures, get 2 measures correct, then move on to the next 2 measures, etc.  Circle the problem in the music and have your child fix it before continuing.

Students ages 13 and up will be held fully responsible for every part of piano study.

o   Students in this age group should easily be able to organize the week’s assignments into daily goals.

o   Students in this age group should communicate directly with me about piano study issues.

o   Should a student in this age group not be motivated to practice 5-6 days/week, a conference about continuing piano study will be scheduled.