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#1251021 - 08/17/09 08:38 PM homework tasks? what does this mean?
ToriAnais Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/24/08
Posts: 244
Loc: Australia
Ok, so I know there are teachers out there who set specific tasks for practice during the week, but I'm incredibly disorganised and don't really get what this means anyway. I'm just like, ok, work on these three pieces. But I think this is a bit vague, and maybe more specific requests would yeild better results.

SO.

What do you tell them to do? Play these three bars 10 times each practice session this week?

What specific things do you request of your students?
_________________________
Piano teacher since August 2008.

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#1251037 - 08/17/09 09:16 PM Re: homework tasks? what does this mean? [Re: ToriAnais]
Ebony and Ivory Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/05
Posts: 1179
Loc: Minnesota
Sometimes I will be very specific like that. I will write down exact measures that are giving them trouble and tell them to play those 5 times for every 1 time for the rest of the piece. Other times I just tell them to play each piece x times per day.

It can be difficult to know what to focus on. In general, just work the hardest on the stuff that gives you the most challenge.

I tell students to master one piece before moving on to another. This is assuming each piece is 1-2 pages and they have 1-2 pieces plus scale/chord assignments. It's also assuming they have the patience to work on one over and over, some don't.

I'm sure if you ask your teacher to be more specific, she will accommodate you smile
She probably just doesn't want you to feel like she's "baby-sitting" you. lol
_________________________
It is better to be kind than to be right.

Professional private piano teacher since 1994.

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#1251040 - 08/17/09 09:22 PM Re: homework tasks? what does this mean? [Re: ToriAnais]
pianomommy1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/10/09
Posts: 54
Loc: Florida
I ask students to start with scales (a certain # per scale) -- depending on level, etc My advanced students do 4 octaves as such: 1 oct in quarters, 2 octs in eighths, 3 octs in triplets, and 4 in 16ths -- there is NO stopping between sets - As they work on "this homework" they are to be focusing on correct technique, tone, etc

I assign Theory - a certain number of pages or whatever --

Composition - if they are working on this then I assign a specific "exercise" or project -

I assign a "reading" piece -- they work on it based on the information they have about music

Repertoire -- I assign specific segments to be worked on a certain way -- slowly for correctness, with alternate rhythms for fingerings, etc , build up tempo with metronome, etc, etcf -- With beginners I assign a certain NUMBER of times CORRECTLY (they use counters such as candy, etc to count the number of times -- passes time quicker for them)

I require memory so I will assign a certain section or piece to be memorized by the following week -

Sometimes I will assign a reading assignment for History/appreciation or some other project

Does this help?
_________________________
Piano Teacher



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#1251077 - 08/17/09 10:28 PM Re: homework tasks? what does this mean? [Re: pianomommy1]
Pianos_N_Cheezecake Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/15/07
Posts: 150
Loc: Saskatchewan, Canada
I think it's important to teach a student HOW to practise as opposed to telling them what to practise. Try practising something together in each lesson, this gives them an idea of how to practise certain things. Then ask the student to write down what he does when practising in a log book for you to moderate.

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#1251081 - 08/17/09 10:31 PM Re: homework tasks? what does this mean? [Re: ToriAnais]
Barb860 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/09
Posts: 1646
Loc: northern California
Originally Posted By: mitts_off
Ok, so I know there are teachers out there who set specific tasks for practice during the week, but I'm incredibly disorganised and don't really get what this means anyway. I'm just like, ok, work on these three pieces. But I think this is a bit vague, and maybe more specific requests would yeild better results.

SO.

What do you tell them to do? Play these three bars 10 times each practice session this week?

What specific things do you request of your students?


I ask students, "What are you going to do with this piece when you get home to practice?" Sometimes they just shrug their shoulders. So I keep asking till I get some good dialogue going. "Does this section need hands separately?" or "Where are the spots you need to work on?"
It helps to make the students accountable so they will go home and teach themselves what we teachers are introducing to them.
_________________________
Piano Teacher

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#1251095 - 08/17/09 11:13 PM Re: homework tasks? what does this mean? [Re: Barb860]
beccaY Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/06/09
Posts: 23
I agree with Barb and cheezecake. I talk to my students about how to practice and make the most of their time. I also will question them on how they practiced something when they come back with little to no improvement on a piece. Usually they give a wrong answer then we talk about how it could be practiced correctly to make improvements. But yes I try to be very specific as to what they should practice and I write it all in their assignment book. Just tell your teacher you would like more specific instructions on what to practice and how.

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#1251103 - 08/17/09 11:29 PM Re: homework tasks? what does this mean? [Re: Barb860]
EDWARDIAN Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/16/09
Posts: 89
Loc: New York, USA
Each of my students has a notebook or assignment pad on which I write what they need to practice. Usually it consists of a scale or scales, an exercise or exercises, and a piece from their method book. If preparing for NYSSMA, that piece is also included.

The next lesson consists of going over what they practiced during the week, seeing if they've done everything correctly, and then adding on to that with the next scale, exercise, piece, etc. When it is written down, both the student and I know what was done, and there is a record to look back on as to what was learned, which I find very helpful.

It's also good for the student to keep to see their progress. I remember finding the notebook my piano teacher used after many years had passed. It brought back fond memories of the lessons, and my teacher.

Joan
_________________________
Joan Edward

Private piano teacher, 20+ years
EDWARDIAN45@hotmail.com

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#1251116 - 08/18/09 12:08 AM Re: homework tasks? what does this mean? [Re: EDWARDIAN]
ToriAnais Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/24/08
Posts: 244
Loc: Australia
Thanks for the ideas. Can you be a bit more specific about "how to practice"? Aside from separate hands, isolating a few bars, practising slowly, and varying rhythms...what else is there?

Also to clarify, I'm a teacher asking for suggestions. A student as well at conservatorium level, but I am asking this question as a teacher smile
_________________________
Piano teacher since August 2008.

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#1251188 - 08/18/09 06:58 AM Re: homework tasks? what does this mean? [Re: pianomommy1]
TimR Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3200
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: pianomommy1
My advanced students do 4 octaves as such: 1 oct in quarters, 2 octs in eighths, 3 octs in triplets, and 4 in 16ths -- there is NO stopping between sets -


Pretty standard approach. I've always thought it was backwards though.

Here you are doing the most difficult speed with the most difficult reach. So your technique is limited by the weakest link. To push the envelope on speed, you'd work one hand on an octave or less, wouldn't you?
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#1251308 - 08/18/09 11:42 AM Re: homework tasks? what does this mean? [Re: TimR]
beccaY Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/06/09
Posts: 23
Mitts...I like this exercise for my students, I call it the leg tapping exercise. When they have trouble putting hands together, sometimes it is a coordination issue. So take away the note reading and just worry about rhythm with hands together. I have them count out loud and tap the rhythm of the piece on their legs with the correct hands. We do it several times. I will also have them do it as part of their practicing. I often have to tell my students to pay attention to details, such as dynamics, articulations, etc. I don't know what else you are looking for as far as specific practicing.

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#1251311 - 08/18/09 11:49 AM Re: homework tasks? what does this mean? [Re: ToriAnais]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11915
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: mitts_off
Thanks for the ideas. Can you be a bit more specific about "how to practice"? Aside from separate hands, isolating a few bars, practising slowly, and varying rhythms...what else is there?

Also to clarify, I'm a teacher asking for suggestions. A student as well at conservatorium level, but I am asking this question as a teacher smile


How to practice specifically depends on the content of what needs to be practiced and what the particular issue is for a student. Often I will break down the issue they are having in an area of a piece into some sort of exercise and actually practice it during the lesson. Then I send them home with instructions on practicing it as we did in the lesson. Most of a piano lesson is focused on how to practice the rest of the week, and only part of it is learning new concepts.

Sometimes it can be something as simple as "practice these 4 measures very slowly 5 times in a row" and as they become better pianists we add new practice ideas as they encounter new situations. Eventually, my goal is that they will be equipped with enough different practice ideas that they could learn pieces on their own and be able to creatively think of ways to address issues without my input. At the advanced level, a student should have a few tricks up their sleeve -- an arsenal to choose from, if you will -- on how to address one particular problem encountered in a piece.

Often these creative ways are not just slowing down, although that is a good way to practice in general. But ideas on how to change what is written to break it down into a simpler task which gets at the heart of what is causing the problem is what works best. It also makes practicing a lot more fun because it's not simple repetition and requires creative thinking and problem-solving skills.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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