Practice Panic

We have begun our adventure in music-making once again. To me, September 1st is the real New Year’s Eve. The new school year, new friends, new games, new stickers, new school supplies, new fresh crisp books. So what happens with the shininess wears off the newness of returning, and the reality of practice and routine hits.

Are you having practising struggles? If so, you’re not the only one. Summer vacation and holidays have a great deal of freedom with little focus and structure. Practicing requires both structure and focus, and this change can create some panic with the associated feeling of loss of previously learned skills. You might start to hear “I can’t remember my notes”, “I don’t want to sit still and practice”, and the struggle ensues.

Here are some tips to get over this practising panic:
♪ Always being practising with something that quickly has a feeling of “I can”. To some kids that’s a scale they can play with their eyes closed; for others, it might be their recital piece from last year or a quick warmup from the “W” section. It could even be the K-page they played well yesterday. Then sandwich in something that is new and more challenging. End with the “I can” feeling so ending the practice session is a positive experience rather than a desire to run!
♪ Set a regular time each day to practice – help your child find structure by negotiating the time together (never negotiate if they will practice, but rather the when it will happen)
♪ Stick to that time. You have a set time for going to school. going to work, brushing your teeth, now have a set time for practicing. If your child likes to play with friends or is in afterschool activities, then practice in the morning.

As an adult you make the important decisions for your young children – what they eat, where they live, what sports activities they will have, and so you have decided that your child will improve his self-discipline, dexterity, coordination, self-esteem, thinking skills, creative abilities, and personal expression by studying music.  By playing an instrument you’ve changed the fine anatomy of the brain (according to neuroscientists like Dr. Chugani). Music lessons teach children critical thinking skills needed in today’s workforce.  When children learn to play rhythm, they are learning ratios, fractions and proportions – an eighth note is half a quarter note.  No wonder learning music helps the whole person.

Good luck with the upcoming times of change, with the upcoming lessons, and with all the practicing.  We all know IT’S WORTH IT!!

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