- Discover the Optimal Practice Time
Practice time can be limited, especially with the hectic schedules of many of today’s students. Therefore, it is especially important to make sure that students make the most of the time available. Determining when a student is at his or her best can impact the quality of the practice. Some students have told me they practice really well before school in the freshness of the morning, whereas others have related that practicing at the end of the day is a way to wind down and relax before bed.
- Understand the Thought Process
Next, I want to observe the thought process that goes into the practice. Perhaps it could be: “I still don’t understand this rhythm,” “This fingering is really tricky,” or “I want to play this piece fast, but my fingers seem so lethargic!” What I would like to eliminate is excuses for not practicing on the grounds of not understanding, without brainstorming plausible solutions at that moment. If I can figure out what inhibits each student’s progress away from the lesson, we can problem solve together during the class and develop some tools needed for successful home productivity.
- Encourage Creative Thinking
I’m eager for students to write about the character of their music and how to build a narrative interpretation of the title. I’ve had students create elaborate stories about their music, and this always greatly assists in imaginative playing. At school, they are likely accustomed to writing stories, so this could be an interdisciplinary activity with their piano studies!