This post will explore how to practice, supplemented with a few checklists you can keep and use at home .
- Get started! Often this is the hardest part. Open your books and put your fingers on the keys!!
- Check the Left: Which clef? What is the time signature? What is the key signature? What is the tempo marking? What are the dynamics?
- Check the Center: What is the title? This may give you clues about the piece
- Check the Right: Who wrote this piece? (This may not apply in the earlier method books)
- Don’t forget your Technic/Technique Book! These are warm-ups for your small muscles, just like an athlete warms-up before a game.
- Practice slowly first
- Practice with your ears—ask yourself: does that sound right? If not, take a closer look. Alternatively, can you sing or hum the song you just played? Can you hear it in your head without even singing or humming?
- Set goals for your practice session, such as playing the dynamics, or increasing your tempo, etc.
- Evaluate-What did you do well? What can you do better at?
What if you have done all of those steps, but the music is still hard/confusing/doesn't sound right?
- Write down any questions you have on the page in pencil, or in your notebook.
- Break it into small steps: focus on the correct notes, only focus on the rhythm, etc
- If you get frustrated, take a break.
- Compose your own song, or improvise during your practice session. Your teacher will love to hear your own songs!
PRINTABLE CHECKLISTS TO ENCOURAGE QUALITY PRACTICE: