Observe Practice in Lesson
Ruth P., North Carolina
I’ve made a big discovery! It all started when I realized my students must not be practicing very well at home – or they would be playing better. One lady even said she was practicing an hour a day sometimes, but it really wasn’t showing up in terms of her skill level when she came to her lesson.
So… I decided to try something in the lesson. I told the students that the following week they were going to do “five minutes of live practice” during the lesson. During that five minutes I would have all the simply music tools on the piano and they could take advantage of any of them. They were to practice as if they were at home and no one was listening. I vowed not to speak for five minutes while they “practiced”.
While they did this, I observed and took notes. Wow!! I discovered some fascinating things. For example – one student looked at just a few seconds of the video and then spent the remainder of the time trying to sound it out/remember it/get lucky. Although she had the reference book in front of her, I did not see her look at it once. She also was not using her external speaker (the piece was Ode to Joy).
Another student referenced the video, but rather than WATCHING it and processing what was being said, she immediately tried to play along with Neil. After unsuccessfully playing it, she grabbed the music book and started looking at the notation. She said that’s what she did at home.
Another student was playing the piece basically correctly, but was unaware that she was not lifting her thumb and repeating it in the left-hand when the pinky moved down.
After the five minutes of practicing in front of me, I explained what I had observed and coached them on how they could do it differently at home. It was a real eye-opener for me and I think perhaps for the students as well.
Missy M., Nebraska
There was a time several students had been complaining that they could not learn from the videos because Neil played to quickly. After digging deeper, I discovered certain students were trying to learn from the demo. Don’t know how that wasn’t clear upfront but was important to know!
Maureen K., California
I have started using lesson time for sample practice, too. But I’ve put the iPad in front of them and watched them click through to find everything, which is sometimes challenging. I’ll try this intermediate step of putting the iPad for the video but the Reference and Music Books in hardcopy there for them.
Original discussion started March 12, 2018