Creating a great music practice schedule
When it comes to music, practicing is at the top of the list of necessities. Although getting students to practice isn't always easy, there are ways to inspire. Below we will take a look at some tips to better encourage kids to practice music. Creating an effective music practice schedule is the first step. Additionally, we will look at the importance of practice. Although it may seem obvious, the need for deliberate, focused practice is often understated. We will work together in creating a great music practice schedule.
What is Practicing?
I know you're reading this thinking, "I know what practicing is, give me a break!" The funny thing is that I used to think I knew what practicing was. I was wrong. For the longest time, my perception of practice as that it was simply 'doing' whatever it was you wanted to get better at. If you wanted to become a better piano player, you played more piano. Get in shape? Exercise more. Expert chess player? Easy fix, play more chess. Boy was I off the mark.
Now don't get me wrong, doing the thing you want to excel at certainly makes you more skillful. However, effective practice is so much more. Effective practice turns an amateur into a pro. Effective practice takes you to skill levels you never thought practice.
The official definition of practice as a verb is simple enough: to perform or work at repeatedly so as to become proficient. I believe that is a definition that we are all comfortable with and not too surprising. Below the surface however, when it relates to us as musicians, we need to expand this definition.
For musicians, as well as many other professions, to effectively practice we must redefine practice as follows: to perform or work at deliberately so as to become proficient. This may seem a small change but it makes all the differcen in the world. I can't tell you the amount of students of the years that tell me, "I practiced X amount of hours!" What I could tell immediately was if they simply "played"or actually practiced.
When we engage our minds into anything, the benefit is multiplied. When we simple go through the motions without engaging, we may see some benefits but we miss out on so much more.
In order to practice deliberately, we need a plan. In order to have a plan, we need to decide our goals. What are you musical goals? Define these s specifically as you can for you or your child. Once you have this list, you can create an effective practice schedule.
There are sone rules for practicing that are fairly universal. For instance, practicing more often for shorter times is more effective than practicing once a week for hours. Additionally, using a metronome and practicing slowly always yields better results. Finally, practicing in small manageable sections makes it easier to bring a piece of music together.
Practice Schedule PDF
Below you will find a practice schedule that I designed for my students. It leaves enough room for 3 monthly goals and notes to add along the way. Click the image below to print out the practice schedule PDF.