I heard this quote from the movie "Playing Father." He was a professional trumpeter who turned to teaching. He told his band students "Live to practice. Practice to live!" Such a good motto! If you want to be good at something, then you have to invest time, money, and energy toward it. With piano, you have to do the same. Music is a gift from God. It is a little taste of heaven here on earth. Not many things here on earth we get to enjoy or take with us, but music is one of the few. With sports, your body wears out at some point, and you can't enjoy it or enjoy it to its fullest as when you are young. But with music, it is a gift you can enjoy for a lifetime. It has it many benefits: therapy, stress reliever, worshipful shared and engaging. I have had students as old as 81 years old. 

Practice can be fun! It just depends on your attitude and the way you spend your time. In order to have success, you must practice a minimum of 5 days a week for 30 minutes. With younger students ages 5-7, you can break it up to 15 minutes twice a day or three 10 minutes intervals. If you practice more, you progress faster. If you do any less, you probably will progress at a slow pace or not progress at all. 95% of success in piano is in the practicing!! If you take an hour lesson, you will need to practice an hour daily. You need to have good tools: good piano, pencil, metronome or metronome app, book bag, practice notebook, flashcards, and timer/clock.

Good practice routine: warm-up (Finger Power book or Technique & Artistry book, scales), lesson book, performance book, special piece, theory book (workbook or worksheets), and flashcards or computer games. Then write down your practice time on your assignment sheet.

How to practice a song....
There are many ways to practice a song. Here are a few suggestions. Note the time signature, key signature, look for familiar patterns or phrases, and notice any changes or accidentals. Try to sight-read the piece to get an idea of the overall picture. You can practice difficult spots or lines by playing hands separately. Problem areas isolate them out and play them VERY SLOWLY and repeat and gradually get the area faster. If you can play three times in a row correctly, you probably fixed the problem area. Then play a little before it and a little after it to see if you have the continuity. Practice the song backwards by playing the last line first, then the next to last line, etc.  Don't learn a long piece in one sitting. Learn the first section and then another section that is similar. Practice the hardest section first. Parents: if you keep hearing pauses in the music or wrong notes, the child needs to stop and work on that section. If they consistently continue to make the same mistake each time, they are just reinforcing that mistake and creating a habit! It is very difficult to relearn a problem area correctly. Repetition is key!  It is better to practice a little each day, than to cram it all in one sitting. A little practice is better than no practice. 

Reward yourself...after a good practice play a past favorite! It is always rewarding to return to piece earlier done to see how easy they are and notice how far you have progressed.

If you can't commit to practicing, you are wasting your money on lessons. Music is very sequential and has building blocks. We must get the basics down well or later it will cause much difficulty and frustration. The ultimate goal is to be an independent pianist/music reader without the help of a teacher. So that you can enjoy the gift for a lifetime. My goal is for all my students to be very musical literate! "Practice, which some regard as a chore, should be approached as just about the most pleasant recreation ever devised." - Babe Didrikson Zaharias
"You play the way you practice." - Pop Warner


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