Are you having a hard time getting yourself or your child to practice? You already know that just showing up for lessons isn’t enough to get you to your musical goals. The work you do between lessons, your practice time, is when you really build your skills and start to make serious progress. So how do you beat the summertime blues and start making your dreams come true? Two of our top TakeLessons instructors, Kathy B. in Detroit, MI, and Ginni A. in Chandler, AZ, were kind enough to share some of their expert advice for students and parents who need a little help getting into the practice groove.
Have you ever noticed that sometimes the hardest part of practicing is simply getting yourself to start? Piano and vocal instructor Ginni A. has several great recommendations to help you get started!
- Choose to learn songs that you love, songs that pull you to practice because you want to hear them!
- Call it playing, not practicing; playing is fun but practicing sounds like work. You never want to lose the element of fun!
- Remind yourself to practice by scheduling reminders on your phone or putting up post-its, whatever works for you.
- Make a practice schedule or calender and mark the days that you practice.
- For singers, vocal technique can be applied when you are silent or talking, pretty much any time! You can work on your technique while you are doing other things such as talking to friends, texting, driving in the car, watching TV, on the computer, walking, standing, on a plane, etc.
- On any instrument, it’s okay to play in short bits of time. Five minutes here and there can add up and even a little bit of practice is better than nothing.
- Get inspired to play by looking up information about a favorite composer. Even the greatest musicians are human just like you and none of them turned into famous geniuses overnight.
If you’re having trouble focusing your practice sessions, piano, violin and cello teacher Kathy B. has more great advice for you or your child to stay on track:
- You can use flashcards to teach beginning students the basics of music notation, but for kids and older tech-savvy students there are also great apps like NoteWorks available for your phone or tablet that use games to teach music notation and theory. If you’re always on your phone or if you’re working with a kid who’s hooked on video games, these apps are a great way to make learning fun.
- Find a way to add practice to your routine. Make it the first thing you do when you get home from work or school.
- If you’re a beginner, start with just 15 minutes of practice each day. As you learn more and feel more comfortable and confident, gradually increase your practice time. Don’t feel pressured to practice for hours when you’re just starting out.
- Make sure you or your kids see live music! Being exposed to music in the real world, whether it’s an open mic night at a coffee shop or your local symphony, will inspire you to play too.
Hopefully these tips will help you or your child to get more from music lessons this summer. Turn practice time into play time and watch as musical challenges become easier and easier!
Do you have any other practice tips for music students this summer? Share them with us in the comments!
Photo by Shenamt