Practice timetables for young students ~ harpyness

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Practice timetables for young students

A new year, a new start. This week it's all been about practice timetables with my students.

I'm a big fan of less and more often, rather than a big splurge of practice a day before a lesson.

I find with many of the young people I teach, harp is just one of many instruments and extra-curricular things that they learn. It's genuinely a bit of a nightmare trying to fit practice in with everything else they do.

Once someone has "the bug" then you'll never be able to get them off of whatever they are doing. My son has the music bug, and can be playing his bass all day if he didn't have to go to school.

But how many people ever really get "the bug?"

So, until then - practice timetables.

I recommend 3 practice sessions a week, plus a harp lesson, and 4 practice sessions a week if there is no harp lesson that week.

A practice session is 20 minutes and consists of
  • 5 minutes warm up exercises / scales / arpeggios
  • 10 minutes work set by teacher
  • 5 minutes FUN! This can be anything: improvising, trying out different sound effects, playing through some pop songs, or just playing through some solo pieces previous learnt. Whatever is found to be fun by the student, and is not set by the teacher.
This can be scaled up into longer practicing sessions but it should remain near enough in the same time proportions and order.

Exercises, scales and work set by the teacher are easy to do when practicing but it's the "fun" stuff that can sometimes can be left out of daily practice.

Why do people want to learn an instrument? Because they want to have fun.

Fun = Enjoyment = wanting to play / self motivation, and it's that self-motivation that will lead to improvement.

20 minutes may not seem a lot of time to recommend, but it's do-able to fit into a young person's schedule and won't frighten them off from practicing more regularly. Personally I think it's better than that quick burst of practice the day before the next lesson!

And you never know, they might get the bug.......

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