PPP055: Let’s Talk About Practice – This one’s for the piano kids!

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Dear Piano Kid,

Practicing is your responsibility. Your parents will help remind you. Your teacher will do their best to make it engaging but the responsibility of getting to the piano and making progress on your pieces falls squarely on your shoulders.

I’ve talked about piano practicing in the past – it’s THAT important. Here are links to previous shows:

Episode 001: Establishing Good Practice Habits

Episode 002: Parent Teacher Relationship

It’s not like sports or gymnastics where you practice together as a group. Piano practice is a solo activity. Sometimes that can be a bit boring or intimidating. We often don’t want to do things, especially if we think we’re not good at them. Unfortunately, the only way to get better at playing the piano is to work through the tricky bits.

Think of it like playing a video game. You don’t complete a level until you’ve tried it several times, right? (If you can complete a level the first time it’s usually lame and way too easy!) Each time you play the game you remember where problems were from previous times. You pick up tricks and hacks to overcome the problems and finish the level. Working on a new piece of music, practicing the piano, is the same thing.

The first time you try it you will make mistakes but if you keep trying you will learn how to avoid the mistakes. Your fingers learn how to move on the piano keys. You will anticipate obstacles rather than trip over them. Before you know it you’ve finished the piece and can play it like a pro.

Practice doesn’t happen by accident. You have to be intentional about making time to practice. Your mom and dad will help you with this and I want to help you with this! I made a time chart for all 168 hours in the week. Use the 168 Chart to block out your responsibilities like school, sleep and other activities. Then use the blank spots to figure out when you will practice.

Download your FREE 168 hours Time Chart here.

Once you’ve decided when you will practice, make it a priority. Put a reminder on your phone. (I like to use Google Keep.) When your parents remind you to practice, don’t whine or complain. Just do it! Most of the time the biggest struggle is making up your mind to do something. If you put practicing off until later, you still play a mental game of tug-of-war. If you just get it done at the appointed time your mind is free from the extra stress.

Your teacher most likely writes a weekly assignment and practice goal for you. Make sure you read his/her notes and aim to accomplish the goals they set for you. They will also help you know what pieces to practice and the order in which to practice your pieces.

Here is the link to James King’s Practice Perfection Progress Game Board to help make leveling up more fun.

Here are some previous shows where I talked about how and why to practice.

Episode 008: How to Approach a New Piece of Music

Episode 014: Realistic Goals of Piano Study

Episode 020: Ten Reasons to Maintain a Play List

Because I think practice is so important and because I know how hard it is to stick to a regular practice routine, I’m issuing a challenge for the month of September.

Invite your friends to accept the practice challenge with you!

You can learn more about the September Practice Challenge here.

 

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