Music lessons only come around once a week, which means that the majority of learning time is spent at home. We capitalize on the weekly lesson time with regular home practice.
Learning any musical instrument, including piano and singing that we teach here at Forte, takes both intellectual understanding and muscle memory. The understanding we can really help with at the lesson. The muscle memory takes time, and must be strengthened at home.
We truly do understand that life is busy and you have many demands for your time. But to practice doesn’t mean you have to sit at the piano for over an hour every day. Often what is needed is just a few minutes on a regular basis. This will ensure that the time at the music lesson will be spent less on reviewing and building the muscle memory and more on new skills and new concepts.
At every lesson we write what we worked on and what should be practiced on the lesson sheet. There are also little boxes with the days of the week over them. Feel free to check off the days that musical sounds happend in your home! It’s a great way to keep track and to encourage the student.
Do you have a practice battle on your hands? This happens. It will end. We hope to help it end sooner rather than later. Try to find a system that both you and your child can get behind. Ask them what would help encourage them to practice. Sometimes all it takes is a reminder, a routine, or a simple strategy. In my (Christina’s) house, we would set a timer and I only had to practice until the timer went off. Then I was done, even if I hadn’t gotten to everything. Eventually I didn’t need the timer anymore. If that doesn’t work for you, see if they can play their song during a break in a show they watch. Or maybe if they practice five times during the week they earn enough points to buy out of doing a chore they dislike, or they get to pick what’s for dinner. Whatever you come up with, make sure it works for both you and your child. Eventually they will see how much more they can get done in the lesson (and how much more fun they have!) and you won’t be able to make them stop practicing!
You can also talk to your teacher – we’d be glad to share strategies and help track your child’s progress to help encourage them in their musical studies.
We hope this helps you with some ideas and building good habits! Happy music making!