Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Music Lessons and Practice

As with most things, improving in music takes practice. Often, one of the main problems with music lessons is the boredom students feel when practicing.  Add on top the fight between parents and students to practice every day and you have a pretty bleak outcome.

To make practicing an instrument easier, here are some suggestions:

First, set the same time every day to practice so it becomes part of a routine or habit. This method works particularly well with children. Generally the earlier in the day the practicing can occur, the less reminding is required by parents to get the child to practice.

Next, remember that for a young child twenty or thirty minutes can seem like an eternity. Instead of simply setting a time frame, have the child perform a specific number of repetitions.  For example, tell your child to practice a specific piece 4 times every day, and a certain scale 5 times a day - paying close attention to rhythm and counting. Your child will not focus on the amount of time they are practicing their instrument, but instead they have a clear view of what they are trying to accomplish.  They'll also know that if they are on repetition number three that they are almost finished. 

Don't forget to reward your music student! This works very well for both children and adult students. Some adults reward themselves with a special coffee or sweet treat after a successful week of practicing. Parents can encourage children to practice by granting them occasional rewards for successful practicing. Praise tends to be the most coveted award - there just is no substitute for a pat on the back for a job well done. Sometimes we all have a week when little practice occurs, don't despair!  There's always next week!

The Benefits of Private Music Lessons
While group classes work well for preschool music programs and theory lessons, when learning how to play an instrument, private lessons are always a better idea.  Private lessons allow each student to learn at their own pace and not get lost in the crowd.  Teachers do not have to teach a whole class at a middle-of-the-road level, but has the time to work on the individual student's strengths and weaknesses.  

No matter what your instrument of choice is, music should be something that you enjoy for a lifetime.  Try not to put unrealistic expectations on yourself or your children to learn too quickly.  Everyone learns at a different pace and the key is to enjoy the journey.

About Wagner Dance and Music
Since 1989, Wagner Dance and Music, a performing arts school, has been teaching East Valley students. Our 3600 square foot Gilbert facility is conveniently located on the southeast corner of Gilbert and Guadalupe in the Big Lots plaza. We offer classes for ages two to adult in Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Hip-Hop, Lyrical, Tumbling, Cheer, Musical Theater and Voice as well as adult classes.  For more information, or to sign up for a class, visit or call 480-892-7179.

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