Tips from Successful Practice!
Practicing your instrument is just as important as completing all of your homework or studying for a big test. A good guideline is to practice for 4 to 5 days a week for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Having a set time to practice each day as well as a 'practice spot' in your home will help with the process. Here are some tips to utilize your practicing time:
Slow motion: Practice small sections of difficult passages slowly until everything is correct.
Focused repetition: Choose a reasonable number of repetitions (3 – 5 times is recommended) for a short passage. Some students might like to use charts or some other type of counting gimmicks (beads on a string) to keep track. Suggest that they start over again when they make mistakes.
Speaking/Singing: If you can say the notes, speak the rhythm, and sing it, you can play it. It is important for the listening portion of the brain to have a tonal image of the sound.
Mental rehearsal: Visualizing how to practice a section of a piece of music is important. The brain must be engaged on the physical aspect of the performing with respect to bowings, fingerings and posture.
Record and assess: Sometimes it’s difficult to remember errors that occurred during a practice session. Recording a practice section and listening to the result can be an eye-opener. It encourages students to self assess and critique privately.