Practicing Tips for My Students

Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of questions from my students and their parents about practicing.  Sometimes practicing just is not fun, sometimes it creates a lot of arguments at home, sometimes my students just don’t do it, period.  I would like to suggest some ideas to help resolve these issues.

First of all,

Positive Reinforcement

  • Praise your kid/self for being talented and for learning a challenging instrument.  It really isn’t easy to play an instrument and learn music, so everything accomplished so far is very impressive!

Music is a Way of Life

  • Learning music is a lifestyle.  It means carving out the time to be alone for a little while, a half an hour or so at first, and then getting longer as the music gets more complex, to focusing on yourself, your instrument, and the music.  That might seem a little lonely, so just remember that the goal is not to be alone forever, just long enough to put in some “quality time” and then reward yourself by meeting up with friends and family.
  • Play for others.  It is easier to learn music when it is valued in daily life.  Put on a mini-concert before dinner, at church, or for friends.  Feel like you’re contributing something special to others and that others value what you do.

Communicate with your teacher

  • Since lessons are usually packed back-to-back, unfortunately, we don’t often have the luxury of talking too much.  It also is very easy for me to feel like we have to pack in as much as we can into the lesson and I might start talking at you as opposed to having a real exchange of ideas.  Please feel free to ask me questions, tell me something isn’t working, tell me something that frustrates you, and we will make time to address any concerns.
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