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#28301 - 08/16/01 11:35 AM Re: Practice Guidelines
Grace Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 07/25/00
Posts: 223
Thanks, guys. Yes, I had read the tips at Practicespot, and I took some good notes. I just found it all a bit too wordy for my needs. I liked your last two posts, Jalapeno. Thanks.

#28302 - 08/16/01 11:35 AM Re: Practice Guidelines
Jalapeño Offline
Star Member

Registered: 11/04/00
Posts: 5712
I have more, most of which are from You can visit the site & read them for yourself. ;\)

I also have my own practice steps, which I believe are still in the Piano Club archives.

#28303 - 08/16/01 11:37 AM Re: Practice Guidelines
Grace Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 07/25/00
Posts: 223
Oops! Make that your last three posts, Jalapeno. You snuck one in there while I was typing!

#28304 - 08/16/01 11:47 AM Re: Practice Guidelines
Jalapeño Offline
Star Member

Registered: 11/04/00
Posts: 5712
Here's one from Frances Clark, for the parents:

Parents Are Important People

Parents play a vital role in their child’s musical growth, both because they initiate the lessons and choose the teacher and because only they can create and maintain the atmosphere of interest and encouragement at home so necessary to real pleasure and progress in music study. Their questions deserve careful, thoughtful answers.

What is my part in my child’s music study?

The greatest help you can give your child is active, constructive, daily interest. Being interested takes no special training or skill. It can consist of just asking, “What did you learn at your lesson today?” It can mean listening to him play one or two of his pieces, or checking to make sure he has covered his whole assignment, or even helping him during an entire practice period.

This daily and continuing interest of yours is the most expensive part of music study, far more expensive than the cost of lessons or the music you buy, but the rewards to you are limitless. What could be more satisfying than watching your child learn to enjoy listening to music, acquire a new mental discipline and physical skill, and gain poise and self-confidence through performing for others?

Are there others ways in which I can help?

Some Dos:

1. Do try to see that your child never misses a lesson except for illness or real emergency. He needs the inspiration of the teacher and the impetus of a new assignment regularly every week to maintain his interest and rate of progress.

2. Do see that your child arrives at his lesson five minutes early, allowing him time to remove his wraps, get out his music, and catch his breath before the teacher is ready for him.

3. Do check regularly to make sure that your child has taken all of his music and study materials to his lesson (and brought them all home again!) Arriving at the lesson without one’s music is a little like arriving at the tennis court without a racket.

4. Do buy new books or sheet music as soon as they are assigned. Children leave the studio eager to see their new music, anxious to get to work on it. The teacher wants to capitalize on this eagerness.

5. Do keep an open mind if the teacher you have chosen for your child teaches differently from the way you were taught, or uses different teaching material with a different look. Try to find out why he teaches the way he does, why he uses this material, why it looks so “different.” Chances are, when you understand, you’ll be delighted with the changes that have taken place in piano teaching since you were a child. If you have chosen your teacher carefully, you must expect that his methods and his teaching materials will be up to date.

6. Do encourage your child to play for you, your family, and friends. Since practicing is a lonely activity, the more you can do to make it socially rewarding the better. Every opportunity to play for others will increase your child’s self-confidence, poise, and enjoyment of music study.

7. Do keep your piano tuned. Music is “sound,” and it is the ear more than anything else that is being developed. An untuned piano can undo much of the good that was done at the lesson.

8. Do keep in close touch with the teacher. Feel free to ask questions and make suggestions. Teachers need your constant interest and help, too. They are better able to plan your child’s work and gauge his progress if they have accurate reports from you about his practice habits and attitudes at home.

Some Don’ts:

1. Don’t give your child piano lessons if he is already taking ballet, riding, and swimming lessons. Either drop a few of the extracurricular activities to make room for piano study, or wait to begin lessons at a less busy time.

2. Don’t “try out” music lessons with the lady next door with the idea that if they “take,” you’ll switch to a real teacher. Always choose the best teacher for the beginner.

3. Don’t expect your child to maintain a consistently high level of interest in his music study every day of every week throughout the year. Months of high interest are apt to be followed by short periods of lower interest. You should expect this. Progress is an interesting paradox; sometimes when it’s happening fastest, it shows the least.

4. Don’t express displeasure when your child “doodles” at the piano. Just make a clear distinction between doodling and practicing. Doodling is important, a necessity to the child, but it should never be confused with, or allowed to take the place of, real practice.

5. Don’t allow your child to skip a lesson because he hasn’t practiced. The student who hasn’t practiced is most in need of his next lesson.

When should my child practice?

Every day. Learning to play the piano involves developing new mental disciplines and acquiring new physical skills. A short, regular practice session every day is worth far more than a longer period every other day or an irregular schedule.

How long should his practice period be?

Long enough to cover the assignment, short enough to stay within the student’s attention and interest span. For this reason, two short periods are often better than one long one, especially for younger children.

Don’t insist on your child’s remaining at the piano for a specific length of time. From the outset, your emphasis should not be on how long he practices but on how much he accomplishes. Ideally, the clock should enter into practice only as a starting point. When he has completed the outline for his daily practice, he is through for that day.

The thing to remember is this: practicing is not a matter of time spent, but a matter of mind spent.

Can I help my child practice even if I don’t know anything about music?

Yes. Parents who don’t plan the piano or read music often feel unable to help their children, but they can. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Immediately after the lesson, ask your child to tell you what he learned that day, to show you his new assignment , perhaps to play one of his new pieces for you, and especially to tell you what his teacher had to say about his lesson.

2. At the first practice period following the lesson, spend a few minutes with your child talking over his new assignment and helping him practice one or two of his new pieces (even those of you who don’t play the piano can be a great help to your child in making sure that he understands every step of the instructions in his assignment).

3. Each succeeding day of the week check to make sure that he has covered the entire assignment, and perhaps ask him to play one or more of his pieces to show you how they have improved.

[ 08-16-2001: Message edited by: Jalapeno ]

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