Student Practice Tips:
Consider the following suggestions for development of meaningful practice:
- Know your assignment before beginning
- Try to select or reserve a regular daily practice time. A back-up time is useful for occasions when the regular time cannot be kept.
- Organize practice sessions into:
New assignment as given by instructor at lesson
Review of previous assignment(s)
Scales / exercises
Sight or new reading of materials not seen before (commonly referred to as sight-reading).
Repertoire review. (Maintenance of older but useful pieces learned).
- Avoid distractions:
Do not bring cell phones to or accept calls at home during practice time
Make a visit to the washroom and have a quick snack before practice starts.
- Agree on a prescribed amount of time for daily practice. Your instructor can help to determine the best and most useful number of minutes based on your age and level.
- Avoid merely “playing through” or senseless repetition of pieces. Rather, learn to sub divide into smaller meaningful sections. Music can often be broken down into “phrases” which are similar to musical sentences, thoughts or ideas. These are often groupings of approximately four measures. Have your CIM instructor help you to learn to identify phrase groups. Piano students benefit by practicing hands alone per phrase group.
- Stay focused and alert throughout the entire practice session with each task clearly identified, i.e. :
Ten minutes of working at the new assignment
Ten minutes of review
Ten minutes of scales (just one example of a thirty minute practice).
- Practice at a slow tempo. This suggestion is critical to good work. Practicing at a fast tempo often shows carelessness and impatience. Music is detailed with many important components and requires careful attention to detail to accomplish everything that needs to be learned. *See basic elements of music below.
- Record daily practice and keep track of missed sessions for weekend make-up.
- Use positive reinforcement for good work. Attitudes about practice should be entirely positive with no inclusion in discussion about practice “drudgery” which unfocused time often seems to be.