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#1262421 - 09/04/09 02:39 PM Do you teach your students how to practice?
BSP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/03/07
Posts: 209
Loc: Hudson Valley, NY
Please forgive me if this is covered in the "how to motivate my son to practice" thread. What I am asking if any of you actually "instruct" your students in what practice is? I'm writing something for the students in my studio today... They all tell me that they practice, but I think that they think that playing the songs twice is enough.

My Mom used to sit there and listen to me practice, which was how my hour long practice sessions went as a child. She would criticize me if something was wrong, and make sure I stayed on the bench for an hour. I figured everyone's Mommy made them practice!! LOL

I'm just getting the distinct impression that my students haven't a clue what practice means, and that's my fault. I just wondered what the rest of you do..

and again, forgive me if this is covered in the hot thread about the parent getting the student to practice..

cheers!
BevP

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#1262485 - 09/04/09 04:05 PM Re: Do you teach your students how to practice? [Re: BSP]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
BSP: "What I am asking if any of you actually "instruct" your students in what practice is?"

Most definitely! Every step of the way! They are not born knowing and they need instructions to follow through in the ways that will help them meet the teaching concepts and asignment completion goals.

I think a "lesson" is a complete "lessoning" of attitude, intentions, work ethics, and getting results from them. A transer of our knowledge about such things is what the parent is really paying for. Just turning pages in a method book and getting past the lesson isn't enough of a patterning for students it adds up to little or nothing if the thinking, planning and work out of the music is not gained.

I think that the piano playing part is the much needed discipline of an athlete's body and brain development - one only accomplishes that with in depth training and repetition. I've often told my students that playing the piano sometimes requires that they wear sweat bands on their foreheads and on their wrists to catch the drips of exertion and stamina and endurance they are putting into their learning. Time and effort are bywords. "Under construction" of new pieces and I talk about the work men we see on the streets and their "hard hats" and their machinery and their long work hours. That concrete we see just poured is work effort. The runner coming across the finish line is a product of work and effort. We at the piano produce that product to the maximum, too. Accomplishments require our avid and knowledgable participation together as teacher and as student.

Kids will follow directions if they know they are part of the requirement for practicing. Explanations of why, how, when and action words written in the assignment book will work better than just listing the piece and the page to find it on.

Search: "Practice" in PWF
Google: Phillip Johnston and Practiceopedia
Google: Martha Beth Lewis

I'm looking for a word or words that replaces "practice" but means the same plus more of what we do at the piano. "Practice" sounds so inadequate in scope and so boring because of the repetitions.

I would want this word to mean" "Bring Life to your Music!" "Strive for Good Results!" "Enjoy the Process!"

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#1262826 - 09/05/09 08:04 AM Re: Do you teach your students how to practice? [Re: Betty Patnude]
BSP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/03/07
Posts: 209
Loc: Hudson Valley, NY
Hi Betty,
I do appreciate your response. I like the metaphors you use, too... 'under construction' is priceless!!

I wish my teachers from my early years would have told me such things... I had no idea how to practice piano until I got to college..as an adult returning to school.

I wrote a practice sheet to distribute to my students this year.. I wonder if there's a way I could PM it to you?

BevP


Edited by BSP (09/05/09 08:05 AM)

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#1262864 - 09/05/09 10:24 AM Re: Do you teach your students how to practice? [Re: BSP]
Karisofia Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/13/08
Posts: 201
Loc: Wisconsin
I wasn't a bad practicer in my youth, but I've learned so much since then that I wish I had learned earlier. Philip Johnston would be a great place to start. He has good ideas for how to communicate to children what their "job" is.

I've also made up some sheets for use with my students. If you want to see any of them, PM your email address.
_________________________
Private Teacher
Member MTNA, WMTA, CVMTA
Local Association President
The Achievement Program Center Representative

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#1262895 - 09/05/09 11:40 AM Re: Do you teach your students how to practice? [Re: Karisofia]
Mrs.A Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 155
This is a good question. I have a Quality vs. Quantity speech I preach the parents. Kids are involved in many activities so there has to be a way to maximize the often limited amount of practice time kids put in to piano? I do not tell parents 30 minutes a dya. 30 minutes is grueling and kids watch the clock tick by as they improvise “Thunderstorm” (I figured that out once I started teaching my own children)


Instead, I suggest that young elementary students place five legos, hot wheals, mms (or whatever appeals to them) on the piano. The child plays the piece and moves the hot wheel to the other end of the piano. Repeat this for all five hot wheels. The student can easily see the goal . Start over with the second song. Do this once or twice a day. Much easier then watching the clock. The parent can easily say, “Play technic five time before breakfast“. They can play it again five time after school. It is much more doable then finding 30 minutes.

I tell late elementary and above students that they should take a few measure at a time and learn it well. Then move on to the next. Much more affective then playing the piece all the way through over and over again. I use the analogy of studying a list of spelling words, football playbook etc. You don’t read it over and over, you take it in sections. When you are studying a textbook you don’t start at the beginning and read it all then start at the beginning again. You study each section. They get the picture.

There are studies that indicate when children learn to read (books) it is much more effective to practice reading a short time every day then it is to read 2 hours once a week. When my children were learning to read the teacher sent home a Calendar. They had to read 20 minutes a day and were not allowed to read all 120 minutes in one evening. It may have been the same quantity of time bunt once a week 120 minutes isn't as affective. Quantity vs. Quality Piano requires similar thought process as learning reading skills. A little every day is better then cramming the night before.

I am hoping you get responses from other teachers because I am always looking for ideas to help student maximize practice time.
_________________________
Piano Teacher.
Church Music Director.
Kindermusik Instructor.
Mom to four boys.


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#1262909 - 09/05/09 12:12 PM Re: Do you teach your students how to practice? [Re: Mrs.A]
jnod Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/04/09
Posts: 794
Loc: Toronto
If I could insert an addendum here, how much is enough? For, say, an 8 year old, is 20 minutes a day sufficient?
_________________________
Justin
-------
Bach English Suite #5
Scarlatti Sonata K141 . L422
Mozart Sonata K333
Schubert Impromptu opus 90 D899
Schubert Moment Musicaux opus 94 D780

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#1262930 - 09/05/09 12:45 PM Re: Do you teach your students how to practice? [Re: jnod]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
I would rather have an 8 yr old practice twice a day at different times. You can't really come up with a time span for their practice because assignments vary in both quantity of things to be accomplished and the level (review things/new things) varies.

As long as they are getting through the assignment and accomplishing the goals outlined by the teacher, they are finished with the practice.

Of course, if the teacher hasn't clearly identified goals for the practice, you have a completely different problem!
_________________________
B.A., Piano, Piano Pegagogy, Music Ed.
M.M., Piano

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#1262987 - 09/05/09 02:38 PM Re: Do you teach your students how to practice? [Re: Minniemay]
jnod Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/04/09
Posts: 794
Loc: Toronto
No the goals are clear enough - he's usually learning one or two new pieces a week. Interesting idea about multiple, shorter practices but I'm not sure how well this would work.
_________________________
Justin
-------
Bach English Suite #5
Scarlatti Sonata K141 . L422
Mozart Sonata K333
Schubert Impromptu opus 90 D899
Schubert Moment Musicaux opus 94 D780

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#1263000 - 09/05/09 02:51 PM Re: Do you teach your students how to practice? [Re: BSP]
heidiv Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/21/09
Posts: 579
Loc: piano bench, usually
Originally Posted By: BSP

I wish my teachers from my early years would have told me such things... I had no idea how to practice piano until I got to college..as an adult returning to school.
BevP


Yes!! Me too. I was an adult before I figured out how to pick a piece apart. I am just recently returning to teaching now that my daughter is a bit older, but I have always found asking questions of the student is very effective. The first time we pick up a piece, I like to say, "What can you tell me about this piece?"

Then they can tell me something like, "It's in G major, in 4/4 time, the left hand has a repeated pattern, etc." This forces the student to look at the piece critically, and allows them to do some of the work instead of me telling them about the piece. It's a good building block toward teaching them to work independently.

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#1263379 - 09/06/09 10:15 AM Re: Do you teach your students how to practice? [Re: heidiv]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7393
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Teaching students how to prepare their lessons is part and parcel of learning piano. Obviously, a seven year old isn't going to be able to do at home, unsupervised, what a fifteen year old can do.

As many have pointed out or intimated, the younger students need to play through a piece multiple times. Why, because they are learning the feel of the keyboard and learning to sequence their fingers. As they mature, they need to learn that playing through a piece isn't really practicing, and shift to taking a piece apart and solving technical and musical problems.

It is highly unlikely that parents will be able to impart this to students, so the responsibility falls on the teacher. If you say: "Practice 45 minutes a day," students will return week after week with poorly prepared material. If you teach a student how to dissect the piece and solve problems, they will spend 45 minutes a day without you telling them, and come to lessons with great sounding music.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#1264189 - 09/07/09 05:47 PM Re: Do you teach your students how to practice? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
BSP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/03/07
Posts: 209
Loc: Hudson Valley, NY
Thanks, everyone, for your help... learning to practice effectively is an art unto itself.

BevP

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#1264552 - 09/08/09 12:00 PM Re: Do you teach your students how to practice? [Re: BSP]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Originally Posted By: BSP
Hi Betty,

I wrote a practice sheet to distribute to my students this year.. I wonder if there's a way I could PM it to you?

BevP


Bev,

Please email me with your attachments:

bpps98374@comcast.net

Actually, I'd appreciate other teachers input with things they have designed, too. Our exchange of good ideas is important to each of us in the giving out and the receiving end.

Betty

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