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How much should my child be practicing?
In order to maintain interest and make meaningful progress, students should
be practicing a minimum of three total hours per week. That averages out
to one half hour a night for six nights each week.
If a musician practices and makes progress on a given day, they will only
retain that progress if they go over the material again on subsequent days.
With each day of missed practice, a musician's previously attained skills erode.
Any student that maintains a practice routine along these lines will have
great success. It is understandable that every musician experiences weeks,
here and there, that are too busy to allow for this kind of routine. This
will not be a problem as long as the student gets right back into it.
Routines are hard to keep once broken. Help your
child schedule their practicing into their week. This may prove to be the
Each practice session should consist of several components:
- Warm-up- Each student has a few routines that help them warm
up their muscles and their brains. These activities should focus on
reinforcing good habits for sound production, posture and hand position.
The warm-up should begin with long, slow moving notes, during which the
musician is focused on tone production and quality. Scales or
flexibility exercises should then gradually increase in speed.
- Scales- Each practice session should include a quick review of the
scales the musician already knows, so that they don't get forgotten, and then
a little work on a new scale.
- Lesson Assignments- Each week students get assignments in their
lesson. This portion of practicing usually focuses on reading new rhythm
or note combinations. It often requires lots of repetitions of short
sections of music.
- Band Music- It will sometimes be necessary to work on specific
parts of the band music for an upcoming rehearsal. It is very important
that students spend some time on any sections of music that have given them
difficulty in band rehearsal.
- Recreational Music- Try something new or just play something that
you really have fun with. There is a lot of sheet music out there that
is available for every instrument. Browse at your local music store or
search on-line for something that interests you.