For beginner musicians, musical practice is a requirement to improving skills and acquiring proficiency and there is no shortcut around this fact. Beginners are learning some totally new integrated physical skills: breathing, fingerings or hand positions, and embouchure (the way their mouth contacts the instrument) all at the same time. Success comes only with consistent repetition.
How can you help? Here are a couple of tips to encouraging a good practice routine:
· Make sure your child has a dedicated space for practice. They need a chair they can sit up straight in with feet touching the floor, and a music stand to hold their music. Ideally, these would remain in place so that your child doesn’t have to spend time setting up.
· Short amounts of daily practice (even 5-10 minutes) are better than one long practice, once a week. Repeating a skill multiple times is key to muscle memory and retention. Practicing right before bedtime can make it part of your child’s bedtime routine.
· Ask your student to play for others occasionally. You, grandparents, other family, and friends can be the audience for short concerts for reinforcement and encouragement.
· Remind your child to properly clean their instrument when they finish and to take apart their instrument and put it in its case.