Music acts like a magic key, to which the most tightly closed heart opens.
~Maria von Trapp
Private Lessons and Instrument Classes
Playing a Musical Instrument is Mastered at Home. The purpose of the music lesson is to provide guidance and support for the time devoted to playing the instrument at home. As a parent, you are an important part of this process.
Practice - Your child will need your involvement. Most children will not practice without being reminded, and up until about age 11 your child will need hands-on help with home practice. Don't worry - even if you don't play an instrument or read music there is much you can do to help! Your help can take the form of reading lesson notes, organizing practice time wisely, and providing encouragement.
Just being nearby, even doing something else in the room while listening and encouraging them once or twice as they practice, can make a big difference. Do not criticize. Find something good to say. If you feel they need help, tell them how much you appreciate how hard they are working and then suggest that you read together the “Daily Practice Routine” below and see if perhaps your child has missed a step. Do this gently and lovingly. Your help at home will make a substantial diﬀerence in your child’s progress.
Learning the piano is rewarding and fun, but also can be challenging. If your child is arguing or getting frustrated, it’s time to take a break and come back to it later or maybe the next day. Let your teacher know if this happens often so that they can reevaluate the assignments they are giving. We strive to pace the lessons so that your child is successful.
How much time at home should my child devote to playing their instrument? Without regular practice, your child's fingers won’t do what their brain tells them to do quick enough to play the instrument successfully, even if they understand what to do. Playing an instrument requires muscle development and “muscle memory” which only comes from playing scales, exercises, and songs correctly multiple times every day.
The more time your child spends at home practicing and learning to read music, the faster they will make progress.
Practice Time Goals. Life these days is busy. We ask our students to work with their families to set their own achievable practice goals. The more the student practices, the faster they will progress. If the goal is not being met consistently, it should be revised so that it can be met even if the goal seems too small. Once the practicing becomes routine and the student meets the goal week after week, the time can be increased successfully.
How long should each practice session be? 15-20 minutes each day is a good goal for beginners. Time each day will need to increase as difficulty of music increases. Students usually move up to 30 minutes, then 45 minutes, and advanced students who want to master their instrument will practice an hour or more. The time may be split into more than one practice session each day. More practice days per week is better than more time on a few days.
How many days each week?
Optimal: Daily practice.
Acceptable: 5 days per week is a good goal.
Minimal: 30 minutes each day for 3 days per week. (Progress will be slow.)
What time of day is best for practice? It works best to schedule practice time at the same time every day, taking into account when the student is the most alert. This helps to develop a consistent practice routine. Practice time includes the time spent on the writing assignments. Be sure your child completes the assigned written work--it will help them get better at reading music which will make playing easier and more fun.
Practice Awards Students who meet their goal get a star for the week placed on our Practice chart. At the end of the month those have meet their goal every week choose a sparkly gem to add to the practice chart and they receive a small prize.
A gold pin is awarded at the end of the school year to those who meet their practice goal every month. A trophy is awarded for the longest practice streak. In recent years we have had a number of students practice every single day of the school year - they all receive the Practice Streak trophy!
Daily Practice Routine Following is a good daily routine to follow. Be sure to start each practice session by looking at the assignment emailed to the parent or given to the student by the teacher.
1. Warmup: Scales, Chords, Finger exercises
2. Play a song they have already mastered.
3. Work on new songs. Play through the entire song. Choose a difficult section to isolate and practice several times. Play through the entire song again.
5. Play a a song they have already mastered.
6. Do their written work or a note learning app
7. Fill in the box on the “Practice Streak” chart.
If You Miss a Lesson We learn a lot every week, so try not to miss any lessons. If your child must miss a lesson due to illness or an emergency, the only way to notify your teacher is to cancel your attendance online. This is also the only way to obtain a make-up credit. It is the responsibility of the student/parent to schedule a makeup with the teacher within three months, when the make-up credit will expire.