Every student is smart. Every Student is capable. Every student has potential.
THEY JUST NEED THE OPPORTUNITY TO SHOW IT.
Several years ago, I wrote some articles for my students and parents. I'm excited to be able to share them here...
You’ve invested in a quality instrument and lessons, but have you invested in quality practice? Perhaps one of the most misunderstood and challenging aspects of music lessons is daily practice. Practice is not always going to be something a student wants to do, but committing to this vital component will not only bring the student confidence and joy, but less stress in the process.
In the coming weeks, we’ll talk about a few common practice misconceptions and solutions. Let’s get started with the first:
PM #1: New or young students can practice on their own.
Truth: The vast majority of students are still learning the concept of discipline and developing good habits (like needing to be reminded to brush their teeth before bed) and need help building both. Learning how to practice effectively and refer to their assignment sheet is also a skill that must build on itself over time and this process happens more quickly and reliably with assistance.
Each week, I’ll hear from at least one student:
“I didn’t know I was suppose to practice that.”
“My mom/dad wouldn’t let me practice because I had to do [blank]”.
“I didn’t have time.”
Though sometimes students may exaggerate or misunderstand a situation, it is appreciated among music teachers that ALL students, no matter their age or level, need assistance to practice in some form and all teen students benefit from a degree of oversight.
What can you do? I strongly recommend that parents, even if they don’t feel they have much to offer in the way of help, participate in the practice process. Sitting with young students and helping where you can is vital to your student’s success.
Examples of how you can help:
These things contribute to their success and build confidence in invaluable ways. Above all:
Let your student know that their practice time and learning is valuable. Prioritize it!
AP #1: Leaving a young or struggling student to themselves.
These students often don’t practice, or if they do aren’t sure how to be effective and not much is accomplished in the time they do spend. Each week these students must relearn the same concepts and materials and after awhile their confidence and enjoyment erodes until they no longer wish to continue. Of course they don’t!
When a student must relearn the same material week after week or after several prolonged absences (summers off), it is understandable they would feel frustrated and no longer enjoy playing.
Progress is essential to a student’s sense of well being.