Saturday, March 16, 2013



“If it is important to you, you will find a way. If not you’ll find an excuse.” 

“I am too busy; my schedule doesn't allow time for me to practice.” 

I know that some of my students do have pretty crazy schedules, but I wonder if our fast-paced culture has conditioned kids to think that they’re too busy to do things that they really could fit into their day if it was important enough… In going above and beyond the call as a teacher to keep piano lessons fun and engaging, I wonder if we sometimes forget to tell students the reality: 
  • Sometimes daily practice will be hard. 
  • Sometimes you will fall short of what you want to achieve. 
  • Sometimes practicing will not be fun. 
  • Sometimes you will feel like quitting. 
  • Sometimes you will wonder why you are learning to play the piano. 
This is normal. It’s okay to feel these things. But you must press on. 
You must be diligent to practice every day. 
You must put your whole heart into doing the best you can. 
Because it will be worth it. It is worth it!

Is your student practicing enough? 
See this Table of Practice Times
1 x 60-minute Practice per Week = 2 Months Progress in 12 Months 
1 x 30-minute Practice per Day = 6 Months Progress in 12 Months 
1 x 45-minute Practice per Day = 12 Months Progress in 12 Months 
1 x 60-minute Practice per Day = 15 Months Progress in 12 Months 
1 x 90-minute Practice per Day = 24 Months Progress in 12 Months 
2 Hours Practice per Day = 36 Months Progress in 12 Months

The Top 10 Worst Ways to Practice

  • Start from the beginning and fumble through to the end. 
  • Repeat Step 1. 
  • Continue to repeat Step 1 while growing tired of making the same mistakes in the same places over and over again. 
  • Make mistakes and correct/continue without making mental post-its of where or why they occurred. 
  • Repeat Step 4, probably while repeating Steps 1, 2 and 3. 
  • Practice the parts you can already play, and neglect the ones you can’t. 
  • Repeat Step 6, probably while repeating Steps 1-5. 
  • Too fast—too soon—too often. Get pulled over for speeding. 
  • Ignore all those numbers above and below the notes. 
  • Last minute cram-sessions. 

The Better Ways to Practice 

  • Play at a speed (tempo) that allows for accuracy and no fumbles, frustration, or stops and starts. 
  • Note where, when and why mistakes occur and analyze for solution. 
  • Cut out hard spots and work ‘em to death, then back up a bit and paste them back in. 
  • Remember: 3 times in a row without a mistake. This can be done on a small section, larger section, or the whole piece. 
  • Patience - practice right no matter what. 
  • Take plenty of patience pills (breathe!). 
  • Start today, don’t delay! And plan fingerings early! 
  • Engage the ear and brain! 

Read more great articles from Grace on Artiden