Parents: does your young piano student practice enough? Are there positive or negative feelings associated with the length of the practice session? Let’s say the student’s teacher has recommended 30 minutes of practice. However, at home, you notice at the end of the practice session, it’s only been 20 minutes. Which of the following is the better response?
A) You didn’t practice enough! I’m disappointed in you. What will your teacher think? Go back and practice for ten more minutes. You are supposed to practice for 30 minutes, and you only played for 20 minutes. You’re not doing a very good job.
B) Wow, that was great! You sat and practiced for a full 20 minutes - excellent work! I’ll bet you could do the full 30 minutes if you really put your mind to it. It’ll be fun to see what happens tomorrow when you practice. Good job!
If you said B, bravo! Sometimes the student is able to complete their assignment in a shorter practice period than what was expected. If that’s true, it would be a good idea to communicate to the teacher that the student may be able to handle more on the assignment.
It’s also sometimes true that the student is not sure of exactly how to practice, and as a result, ends up simply playing through everything. In this case, it may be helpful to ask the teacher to assign specific practice steps. These practice steps may be different for new pieces and review pieces.
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