Practice makes progress.
“Our aim needs to be the nurturing of children. The moment we rigidly convince ourselves, “Education is what we’re after,” we warp a child’s development. -1- First foster the heart, then help the child acquire ability. This is indeed nature’s proper way.”
— Shinichi Suzuki, Nurtured by Love
Getting People to Practice
This is big. Really big!!
In fact, everything I have written in this book so far leads up to this crucial point. From cultivating our own positive mindset to having a Teaching Blueprint, everything we do all leads to setting students up for success. Success means learning. In order to learn, students must practice at home. Without at-home practice, students cannot be successful. Without at-home practice, I cannot foster a joyful studio.
As teachers, we all know the importance of practice. But for some reason, the idea of at-home practice escapes many students and their parents. I think this may be in part because piano lessons are one of the few extra-curricular activities that require practice outside of actual class time.
Parents aren’t used to having to make children practice baseball at home every day. However, students must practice the piano at home regularly. And this requires some hard work. Piano practice in and of itself is hard work—very hard work that most average people (especially children and teenagers) would prefer not to do. I make a big point to tell my students to listen to their parents when they ask them to practice. I tell them not to argue with mom or dad or promise to practice later. I follow this up with “and say thank you to mom for bringing you to piano lessons and reminding you to practice. Imagine how you are going to feel in a few years when you can play really well!”
Getting young kids to practice requires that parents help or at least remember to remind them to practice. This can be a tall order for busy families. Those of us who are parents also know that it is not easy to get kids to do things they would rather not do. Our students and parents need our guidance and support in order for consistent and careful practice to take place.
Read the Post “10 Tips for Accurate Piano Playing”
Nothing makes me feel happier and more joyful than students who actually practice. Students who come to their lessons prepared and ready to work on new skills and materials. When my students practice at home, the lessons are so much more fun to teach. Parents are happy, recitals go well, and students don’t consider quitting.