While in India this year, I gave a workshop called "The Three P's: Preparation,
Practice, and Performance". One part dealt with a handout that encouraged
comments from the individuals attending the workshop. The following comments
are taken from the handout as well as from the participants in the audience;
therefore, this forum is in the format of general comments and in no particular
order. What I found interesting was how pervasive our common problems are in
the music community and the unique ways we try to motivate and guide our students.
- The teacher's responsibility is to stimulate the student's interest in practicing.
- Students need to be shown time and time again how to practice
occupy much of the lesson for good home practice.
- Emphasis must be placed on the fact that the student is the teacher 6 days
of the week.
- Make the student aware of what they are doing; otherwise, as in a computer:
GARBAGE IN-GARBAGE OUT.
- What the teacher hears in the lesson is the result of what the student has
done at home.
- The mind is programmed to do repetitive practicing.
- Practicing means repeat, repeat, etc
but with a goal or object in
- Results of practicing are cumulative and not a quick study.
- Make the student aware of what they are doing and be persistent until results
- Encourage students to organize practice routine and evaluate if they have
arrived at a goal.
- Ask student to demonstrate how to practice a piece, tape it and let them
evaluate their practice routine. Compare this with the teacher's evaluation.
- Have student keep a daily practice journal and bring to lesson.
- Have a "practice lesson".
- Ask students to mark problems with a very black pencil.
- Use what the student really knows to build a new concept.
- Teamwork is important for successful practice.
- Look at the score as if you are reading letters
notes need to be
- Mistakes in reading must be corrected and called to the student's attention
- Question: What do you hear when you practice and when do you hear it?
Before or after you play?
- Look first and then try to play without music.
- In "like" sections look for what is not the same.
- Most important tools in practicing are the metronome, the recorder and a
- Never forget that tempo controls everything.
- Setting goals should be a joint project between the teacher and the student.
§ Block the Alberti bass in measures 4-8
§ Practice sonatina for melodic projection by "ghosting" the
§ Listen for all the staccatos in the Bartok .. none must be "sticky"
Undoubtedly, each of us have some special ways of encouraging more meaningful
practice time, so don't be modest
share your helpful ideas with the rest
of us as we begin a new teaching year. Feel free to add to the list! As Pete
Seeger, the famous folk singer said, "Practice does not make perfect but
it sure makes for improvement!"
Mary Tickner, Coordinator
Please phone or fax all ideas for topics and questions for Pedagogy Forum to
Mary at 604.263.1592.