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Keys to Good Practice

Good practices always follow these rules.

  • Good practices are intentional. The student doesn’t rip through the piece as quickly as possible to reinforce the mistakes s/he already makes.

  • Good practice means setting small, achievable goals.

  • Good practice includes review of mastered skills.

  • Good practice means the student feels a sense of accomplishment and pride. S/he can feel this way with or without achieving the goal. Find the successes and celebrate those. The student tried his/her best; s/he can almost play that one part and s/he plays it much better than she did before practice.

  • Practice begins the same time of day and practice ends when the student tried his/her best to meet or met the goals.

  • Especially in the beginning and with young students, the parent need to be a part of practice sessions. This helps the student set meaningful goals. S/he will learn how to practice effectively independently by modeling practice sessions with the parent.

  • Practicing the instrument and performing are related. If you don’t practice, you can’t perform. If you practice you perform well.

  • Practice should always be a positive experience. If the student does not meet the goals and is very disappointed, this is an opportunity to discuss dealing with “losing” and “failure.”

  • Kids will think music is important if parents think music is important.


  • Perhaps your student doesn’t enjoy music because s/he isn’t comfortable playing the instrument s/he chose when s/he was nine years old. Different skills and strengths are necessary to play specific instruments. Study after study proves music education provides benefits beyond itself. Consider trying out a different instrument.

Kids try many different sports and activities over the years. If a kid isn’t good at a sport, they stop participating at the end of the year/season. But that doesn't mean the kid stops playing ALL sports. S/he tries a different one, just like s/he can try a different instrument. 

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