Practice is just that - muscle memory and developing a skill. Practice needs to be a routine, to support what has been learnt and will be learnt. The more practice becomes 'part of life', the easier and more productive it is.

The more students practice, the better they get, the faster the progress, the greater the enjoyment.

For successful practice:

  • Create time for consistent, dedicated practice when the house is quiet

  • Collaborate with the teacher to establish achievable short and long-term goals

  • Always use the correct posture and a music stand (link to one is here). Most musicians should stand for practice.

  • Support your young musician during practice sessions either as a coach or an engaged listener

  • Celebrate success and achievements all the time

For Students...

  • Practise regularly and often, rather than once a week for half an hour just before your lesson. The length of practice will be suggested by the teacher but 3 x 20 minutes per week is suggested to start with. When you get above Grade 5 standard, you should be looking at 30 minutes per day, 6 days a week.

  • Take note of what your instrumental teachers have said and practise what they want you to practise, not what you want to practise!

  • Set aside a regular time of the day to practise. Avoid being distracted and really concentrate, even if only for 15 minutes.

  • If you play a wind instrument, you may have been told to play long notes first. This is to improve your playing, not to sound an alarm to others that you are about to play!

  • Scales and arpeggios are an important element of music. They are what music is all about. Therefore, you are not being asked to learn them as a punishment. You will be amazed that if you know all your scales, you will find it easier to sight-read and play music.

  • You will be amazed at how much better you will get in just a short space of time. Remember, lesson time is not for practice. Now, how many weeks have you been working on that piece?

For Parents / Carers

Create routines for practice and take a regular interest in what they are practising….

These are the most important things you can do. Students who are left to their own devices are the students who progress the slowest. All students at some time need nagging and nagging and nagging to get them to practise. There is usually a ‘low’ point in their musical life when they will be bored with the instrument. However, with your help, they will get through that.

You can also:

  • Give them a regular time to practise during the week and get others in the family to leave them to it
  • Listen to them practise and give them encouragement
  • Make sure that there is a music stand for their music
  • Nag them during the ‘low’ times!
  • Read through their practice notes and make sure they are doing what has been asked
  • Remind them on the day of their lesson and ask what the lesson time is
  • Ask them what was done in the instrumental lesson when they get home.
  • Even the smallest bit of regular encouragement can make all the difference.