….well, what I meant is “Use” your practice time (yup, don’t waste it) to get the results you need by practicing the “smart” way (not the hard way).
Time is precious and if you don’t use it to achieve results, then you would be wasting your precious time.
When we talk about ‘PRACTICE’, I like to classify students into three categories…
Those who Practice HARD
Some students spend lots of time playing their pieces. They start from the beginning and as they play, it is normal to make a mistakes, BUT this is what usually happens…
Realizing the mistake, they simply play that part again and move on.
This continues until they reach the end of the music piece and then they simply start all over again.
Maybe this time, they may make some other mistakes. Every other time they make a mistake, they simply play it over again and that process goes on.
This, my friend is NOT a very effective way to practice.
Don’t fool yourself
PLAYING your instrument is not the same as PRACTICING your instrument.
Before I jump in to how, you should practice, lets look at another category…
Those who HARDLY practice
These kind of students may never develop any skill. There is no person who became an excellent musician simply attending music classes. These students may end up learning ‘about’ music but they cannot ‘become’ musical in their skills and abilities. This, my friend is the TRUTH…and I must break it to you. Please don’t waste your time and money attending music classes if you won’t dedicate time for practice. It is frustrating to both; the student as well as the teacher.
And then we have another category of students…
Those who practice SMART.
These are students who understand theses principles…
“REPETITION” and “CONNECTION”
“Repetition is the mother of all skills“
These students are the ones who practice a ‘bar/phrase’ at a time.
They practice section by section, bit by bit, part by part.
They will then CONNECT the previously practiced ‘bar/phrase/section and glue it all together.
I often teach the students in this manner, but often when they go back home, they end up practicing “hard” and then a few “hardly practice”. Some kids find it boring and prefer to play games on their smart phones instead.
Practicing actually is like a game. At least that’s how I perceive it.
…and so I created this little practice game to encourage students to practice the SMART way and have fun at the same time.
I call it “PRACTICE CANDY”
In a moment, I will guide you how you could use this to enhance your skill and make it fun at the same time.
It’s a fact that your high score on that mobile game won’t matter a few years from now, but the score you achieve on your practice candy will last you for your lifetime. Once you develop a skill, it is yours to keep and nothing can take it way from you.
So gift yourself a talent…
All you need is this Chart and and ten coins. Go right ahead and download this chart. Print it out as a sticker if possible. You may stick it on some Cardboard or any flat surface.
Our goal is to fill all the circles with coins
We first place the “Music Sheet” that we want to practice and choose the first four Bars from it. Yup, we tackle four Bars at a time. If the music has a pick up note, we start from there. Instead of Bars, it makes sense to choose musical phrases, but for now I named it as Bars for the sake of absolute beginners.
To fill each circle, we need to play the music from the Bar/Phrase THREE TIMES correctly in a row. Any mistake will take you back to the start. (Just like Snakes and Ladders,…only thing, we don’t have ladders here)
Place a coin on “START”. Then play your music.
If you made a mistake, your coin remains on “Start”. If you played correctly, you may move the coin to “1”.
Play again. If you made a mistake, your coin goes back to “Start”. If you played correctly, you may move the coin to “2”.
If you played correctly three times in a row, your coin now moves to the Blue circle under “Bar 1”.
Now you place another coin on “Start” and practice only the Second Bar. Repeat the process till you have played the second Bar/Phrase correctly three times in a row. Upon doing so, you may now move the second coin to the Green Circle below “Bar 2”. Please note that if your coin was on “2” and you make a mistake, you go back to the “Start” and not to “1”.
Now that you have a coin on the Blue circle and the Green Circle, your next mission is to get a coin on the Blue – Green circle.This is where we “CONNECT” Bar 1 and Bar 2.
Placing the coin on the “Start”, play Bar 1 and Bar 2 correctly for three times in a row and you may then move that coin to that circle.
Next go for the “Yellow circle“.
Next go for Green-Yellow (Connecting Bar 2 and Bar 3 )
Next go for Blue – Green – Yellow (Connecting Bar 1, Bar 2 and Bar 3 )
Next go for the “Red Circle” (Bar 4)
Yellow – Red
Green – Yellow – Red
Finally play the entire four Bars Three times correctly in a row and you are Home
You may now clear all the coins and get ready to tackle the next four Bars.
You can now challenge yourself to CONNECT, the first four Bars that you practiced earlier with the four Bars you just accomplished.
So you see where we are going with this. I need your practice time to be effective and this way you can track yourself and see whether you are making progress or not.
Every Music Teacher request a certain amount of time for practice from the students. At my School, I need 30 minutes of practice.
After this dedicated process, you may now play your other songs and have fun. As I mentioned earlier, Playing Songs or musical pieces is not the same as practicing…
…so dedicate 30 minutes to practice everyday and use that time to develop quality results.
Click here to download