“How to practice” guidelines for students
Found in: Practicing & Playlists
Joan H., Canada
Does anybody provide students with a “how to practice” guideline, especially when they get to higher levels? I just put together a draft for some students beginning Foundation 4 and Reading Rhythm. I welcome your ideas/comments! This is 40 minutes – what do you expect of Foundation 4+?
1. Play a favorite song – 2 minutes
2. Compose or improvise – 5 minutes
3. Reading Rhythm – 5 minutes
4. New project for the week (Foundation/Accompaniment) – 10 minutes
5. Playlist Review: Play 5 songs from each Foundation, plus their arrangements – 10 minutes. More time if needed.
6. Accompaniment chord review (use chord chart) – 5 minutes
7. New project for the week (review of #4) – 2 minutes
Amy L., California
I love the idea of “how to practice’ guidelines. I also like to address practice goals, e.g. play a piece for the joy of it; play a piece and then choose a practice goal and work toward it using strategies like “chunking”, “5-penny spot” (play a tiny spot, such as a Bishop Street I chord to a CAGE chord, then move a penny, until you’ve moved 5 pennies from their starting pile to an ending pile); play fast passages (such as Ballade, scales in Sonata in C) with varying rhythms in order to work toward increasing speed.
Laurie Richards, Nebraska
Most students do need to be taught HOW to practice in addition to WHAT to practice. Having a guideline to follow is likely super helpful for a lot of students and their coaches.
For a long time I’ve used the Teacher Workshop Series ‘Managing Practice Time’ by Kerry Hanley. Strongly recommended for the most efficient practice possible! Your guideline would still be great to use with this, with maybe a few slight modifications.
At this point in the curriculum, I direct students to keep the 15-20 minute daily practice they’ve established but to use it for Current Projects. Playlist Projects (finished projects on the playlist) can be practiced at any time – tacked on to the end of the 15-20 minutes, or done in chunks throughout the week, or a few songs here and there with the bulk done on a few days 0 whatever is best in their schedules. I think that makes the practice time seem more manageable, if they feel like they can choose the length of their practice time. Also addressed in Kerry’s workshop is “working the piano” vs “playing the piano”. Really great perspectives.