Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Music Tip - Start Good Practicing Habits Today!

January always motivates me to set goals for the new year.  I, in turn, am trying to motivate my piano families to set goals for the new year of consistent piano practicing.

Two of my families have come up with some great ideas.  A mother of twins, whom I teach, who is a violin teacher herself, wrote this:
We started something in my studio on January 1st and we are all doing it.  Me included!  We are going to practice for 100 days in a row.  We are on day 13 now!  We have discovered that on normal days it's easy to remember and find time to practice.  It's those other kinds of days that make it hard.  We have been trying to anticipate those days and come up with creative ways to still find time and practice.  So far it's working!  I also discovered that it took 10 days in a row of practicing with the twins before they stopped complaining or whining when I say let's go practice.  They just quietly sit down and it's no big deal now!

Wow, 10 days of being consistent, and the whining stops.  Seems to me worthwhile to try that idea.

I had a student come to lessons today bringing an ipod and a microwave bag of popcorn.  He had videotaped himself playing his Beethoven Sonatina, so while he found the video, I popped the popcorn.  Then we sat on the floor and watched the video of him playing his piece while eating the popcorn.  It was so much fun!

Videotaping is a great idea to help students polish up a piece.  They can visually and aurally hear where they need a bit more practicing, and also hear where they do well.  Warren said, "Did you hear my dynamics right there?" A great way to self critique their playing.

As teachers and parents, we need to key into what motivates our students and children.  A transfer student who is age 12 and on level 3 is not interested in playing from method books.  She wants to play popular and fun music.  That is exactly what she should be practicing then--that will be what motivates her to continue to practice. (She chose "What Makes You Beautiful" by One Direction--a great piece that's easy but fun and the Beatles, "Here Comes the Sun", another easy-to-learn song.)

Another student who is age 13 and in Suzuki book 4, doesn't have time to do his homework and practice a lot of different songs each week.  He doesn't want to quit piano, but has limited time to practice.  He is going to focus on learning hymns and just practice one hymn a week.  That will motivate him and not overwhelm him.

I'm throwing my students a Pizza Party.  At the end of February, we will have group lessons and pizza.  They have a weekly pizza chart to mark off the days they practice and times they practice flashcards.

Consistency.  Motivation.  Fun music.

That's what it takes----(and popcorn and pizza help too!)

Thanks for reading,



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