Hi, Alexa!
I know exactly what you are talking about. Sitting at the piano for a specified length of time can be difficult. I'm kind of a clock watcher myself. \:\)

The most important thing about practice is not how much you practice, but what you do with your time. You didn't mention your age or what kinds of things you are working on or how many things you are assigned. All those things will play a part in how long you actually spend at the piano.

If you have been studying at least two years, I think 30 minutes a day is probably reasonable. As far as breaking it down into two 15-minute slots . . . well, that's up for debate. I should think that you would spend at least 5-10 minutes warming up (not just at the keyboard, but stretching and loosening your muscles just like an athlete would). You really need to do that every time you sit down to practice. It will help you avoid injury (and yes, musicians can injure themselves!).

So, there's a portion of that 15 minutes already gone and you haven't touched your pieces yet!

My advice to you is this:

1) Don't keep a clock by your piano. It's more of a distraction than you think!

2) Set reasonable, daily goals for your practice. For practice to be interesting, you need to be involved in the "how" of it, not just the "what" of it. When you plan your practice and focus on what you are accomplishing, the time passes faster.

3) Remember that quality of practice has to be combined with quantity to be effective. Once through a piece isn't enough. Ten times through a piece isn't really enough unless it is thoughtful. Make sure that as you work through a piece, you check to see that what you are doing is getting you good results.

4) Cover all of your assignment every day. Divide the pieces into manageable portions and always review what you learned in your previous practice sessions so that you don't forget it.

5) After you finish working on one piece, get up and stretch. Give yourself a mental break and prepare to work on the next piece. Sitting at the piano for 30 minutes straight is probably not ideal, but with short breaks, you should be able to fill up the time without getting to burned out.

I could probably go on for hours . . . and so could your teacher! Think about what I've said and please feel free to ask more questions!

[ 08-27-2004: Message edited by: Arlene Steffen ]