By Nana Gaskins Vaughn
Home practice is crucial to making good progress, but a lot of young students don’t have the self discipline or perhaps the executive function to make this happen effectively. Many times, I see students come in making the same mistakes week after week without meaningful improvement in areas that we have worked on repeatedly in the lessons. This makes lessons more frustrating for both teacher and student, because we are essentially using the lessons for practice sessions instead of making meaningful progress and music making.
This week, I studied several students practicing while I sat quietly in the room without comment. Here are some of the common traits I observed. Students who have trouble making progress:
In contrast, good practice technique may seem a bit tedious or boring at first, but by practicing more effectively, students learn more quickly. This leads to a much greater sense of accomplishment and enjoyment.
Mrs. Vaughn’s Totally Made-Up, But Probably Pretty Accurate Chart of Good Vs. Bad Practice
The blue column features bad practicing and the red column features good practice. Notice that the same hours of practice yields far greater results if you practice effectively.
Here are some tips on how to practice more effectively: