I set my next piece on the stand and glanced up at the timer sitting on top of the piano. “Just 15 more minutes, just 15 more minutes, just 15 more…” I thought to myself, before reaching up and moving the timer down 5 minutes, “Just 10 more minutes.” I chanted to myself. After playing through my piece, I again glanced up at the time, “7 more minutes…” a sigh escaped. Playing through my assignments one last time, I wondered how 30 minutes, with just a little adjustment, could take so long. Leaping from the bench as the timer dinged, I heard my mother.
“5 more minutes.” She called from the kitchen.
“But, it dinged.” I called back with some annoyance.
“5 more minutes.” I sighed again and sat down again. Never could get anything by her.
Practicing can be challenge for any student studying music and any parent helping a student study music. However, practicing doesn’t have to be a complete drudgery. Here are 5 tips for making practice both beneficial and fun.
1. Place a practice chart where the student can easily see it and recognize the achievement of each practice on the chart. A practice chart is a visual representation of the student’s work. Situating it in a place of honor allows the student to see his/her accomplishments and gain a sense of recognition for a job well done. http://www.desertsoundsofwellness.com/practicechart.pdf
2. Make the student’s practice time a bonding time. Parents with young students have the opportunity to make a student’s practice time into a “quality time” activity. By working towards a common goal together, such as completing a piece or preparing for a recital, a unique opportunity is created for both the parent and child.
3. Include musical games during practice times. Parents working with their students can turn up the “fun” factor by including musical games. Musical “Concentration” can work on either note identification or rhythm. Games like” Measure Up!” work on rhythms in a variety of time signatures. “Dominotes” works on recognizing values of notes and rests. There are many ready made musical games that can be purchased and for those creative parents, numerous games can be developed to learn various music concepts.
4. Establish a set practice time each day and honor it. Once establishing a time to practice, stick to it. Keep distraction and noise to a minimum during practice times.
5. Be free with the praise. Find something to praise and compliment about each practice. Focus on the positive and the improvements the student has made during the practice. A “Good Job!” can go a long way with a child and make him or her more willing to continue working toward the goal…to play the piece well.
If you want to know more about the benefits of musical study, please like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/desertsoundsofwellness and follow us on this blog, as we will be visiting other music related topics in the future. If you are interested in studying music, please visit our website at www.desertsoundsofwellness and read about the music instruction opportunities that we offer to students in the Phoenix Metro area.