on Sunday, February 19, 2006 - 08:31 PM - 11136 Reads
How to Gently Extend the Practice Session for Beginners
Parents are often disappointed in the length of time their children spend at the piano practicing. Most parents think their children should be practicing longer, and theyre probably right. What parents don't usually get, however, is that for young beginners it takes practice to learn to how practice! To overcome this learning gap parents initially need to focus on process and content rather than product.Since everything is new to young children, its a mistake for parents to assume too much.
For example, you may think it would be obvious to your child in piano lessons that they need to play their pieces more than one time, but this just isn┬?t the case with children. Most children assume that because they played a song once at home they have indeed practiced! What the young student doesn't understand is the piano learning process. Help your student by outlining a process that will result in improvement. To do this students need two things.
1. A goal;
2. Specific practice habits that will support that goal.
Example for Beginners:
Goal: Assignment ┬? Play Song on Page 8 in C Position 7 times each day
Good Habit 1 ┬? Keep Your Eyes on the Music (Don┬?t Look at Your Hands)
Good Habit 2 ┬? Sing the Note Names as You Play Them
Beginning songs for children take approximately 1 minute to play. Multiply by 7 and you have 7 minutes of practice. Not a long time, but with good habits this can be very affective initially and achieves the goal over a week of practice. If your child has two pieces of music assigned, that┬?s 14 minutes of practice. If your child does this for a few days, however, they will know their pieces so well that they won┬?t need to play them 7 times. Three times would then be enough. That makes the practice session shorter, not longer. Starting with 10 minutes a day of practice for a young beginner is reasonable.
As students learn more skills, their assigned music pieces become longer and more complex, and thus the practice time as it naturally makes sense to do so. The practice session can gradually extend to 15 minutes, then 20, then 25 until the student knows how to apply themselve at the piano for 30 minutes.
The focus at the beginning should not be solely on length of practice, but on daily practice strategies that are effective. In this way young students gradually gain the musical foundation of skills they need to play more complex music that will require more time to learn. By focusing on weekly goals and specific habits that apply strategy to learning students acquire a repertoire of practice habits that develop skills they can rely on to learn more difficult music and practice longer.
For great home piano activities parents can use to help children ages 5 to 11 develop their musical talent, visit Piano Adventure Bears Music Education Resources You┬?ll find a treasure box filled with piano resources to create an exciting musical adventure for your child - right in your own home! Visit their website and subscribe to their f┬?ree internet newsletter so you can download f┬?ree piano sheet music and mp3s of original piano compositions.
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