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importance of teaching a student how to practice

Posted By: keystring

importance of teaching a student how to practice - 06/20/19 08:45 AM

Right now there is a discussion going on in the ABF, with a subtopic forming. One idea seems to be that the only thing that is important is the teaching itself, by a good teacher. That if the teaching is good, how a student practices doesn't really matter as long as the student puts in the hours.

What importance do teachers here put to a student's practising. THAT a student practices is a given, because that has often been mentioned. What about how they practice? Is good teaching already 90% of the equation?
Posted By: mostlystrings

Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice - 06/20/19 12:02 PM

Putting in "hours of ineffective practice" would seem to defeat the purpose. "Bad practice" on the (likely six) days between lessons can wipe out whatever good teaching was received. On the other hand, there is an aspect of leading a horse to water; if a student absorbs the knowledge but chooses not to apply it, there is not much the teacher can do about that.

Something I see often with children students is they get to a trouble spot, then start over from the beginning of the piece. They stumble again at the spot, and perhaps this cycle happens a few times until they slow down, maybe start at just a phrase before, eventually they get it once and keep going. To me, good teaching would be uncovering that this kind of practicing is occurring and addressing it. (And pointing out that for performing, you do need to be comfortable with how to recover and move on from a slip, but you should not be spending all your time "practicing performing".)
Posted By: Dr. Rogers

Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice - 06/20/19 12:52 PM

Originally Posted by keystring
That if the teaching is good, how a student practices doesn't really matter as long as the student puts in the hours.


Oof. Who said such an inane thing? On second thought, don't tell me. I don't want to know.

Quote
What importance do teachers here put to a student's practising.


HIGH importance.

Quote
THAT a student practices is a given, because that has often been mentioned. What about how they practice? Is good teaching already 90% of the equation?


IMNSHO, "good teaching" will include instruction on how to practice effectively. That's something I start teaching from the very beginning, stressing the need for practice to be focused and intentional. I always harp on good practice techniques, mentioning them again and again whenever I can tell they are not being used. (Experienced teachers can not only tell whether or not a student has practiced, but very often how they practiced. I must have driven my teacher crazy when I was a kid...)
Posted By: dogperson

Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice - 06/20/19 01:16 PM

@dr Rogers
It’s great to hear that teachers are including how to practice in the lesson. It was never discussed with me as a child student, so my practice habits were the most inefficient possible. I practiced so many hours per week that I’m sure it did not sound like I had been struggling and therefore my teacher never knew how inefficient I was.

It was only as an adult re-starter that I realized there had to be a better way to practice and did a lot of personal research on how to make it more efficient. I wish I would have known all of this as a child😢
Posted By: Nahum

Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice - 06/20/19 03:01 PM

Originally Posted by Dr. Rogers


IMNSHO, "good teaching" will include instruction on how to practice effectively. That's something I start teaching from the very beginning, stressing the need for practice to be focused and intentional. )
For me, this is just a trivial truth; 87% of the time the student teaches himself. Or doesn't teach ...
Posted By: pianist_lady

Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice - 06/20/19 03:47 PM

Originally Posted by Dr. Rogers

Quote
THAT a student practices is a given, because that has often been mentioned. What about how they practice? Is good teaching already 90% of the equation?


IMNSHO, "good teaching" will include instruction on how to practice effectively. That's something I start teaching from the very beginning, stressing the need for practice to be focused and intentional. I always harp on good practice techniques, mentioning them again and again whenever I can tell they are not being used. (Experienced teachers can not only tell whether or not a student has practiced, but very often how they practiced. I must have driven my teacher crazy when I was a kid...)


Exactly. So much of my teaching is devoted to leading the student through practice procedures. They don't always follow through at home, I think because it's human nature to always look for ways to cut corners and finish faster!
I wish my own teachers had helped me develop better practice techniques. As a student I had a lot of enthusiasm and drive, and accomplished a lot with brute repetition, which resulted in some bad technical habits that I later had to unlearn.
Posted By: AZNpiano

Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice - 06/20/19 07:10 PM

In my experience, a student who is mindful and keenly aware during lessons CAN get away with very little or no practice at home. Such students tend to have a great memory and can pick up right where we left off the last lesson.

However, the majority of students falls into the category of mindless, brain-challenged, "why am I even here" bottom dwellers. No matter how much I stress the importance of practicing at home, they either:

1) don't practice at all, or

2) practice by playing the piece once from beginning to end.

I do give very specific instructions on how to practice, and many times I turn the entire lesson into a mock practice session. However, there is no follow through. This problem is compounded by those "hands off" parents who can't or won't enforce practice at home.
Posted By: Mariner

Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice - 06/21/19 02:31 AM

You’d be surprised how inefficiently some kids practice and the weird reasons why.

My wife became the boss of my 5 year old’s piano practice. Here’s what she did:

- She made him practice once per week (said daily practice is too extreme). His complaints and protests made once a week bad enough I suppose.
- She only allowed him to practice the fingering on a cushion while sitting on the couch the whole time. She said the finger movements are the same anyway, so why bother getting off the comfy couch? She also didn’t want the keyboard taken from storage because dust would off the bag as it had been up there so long.
- In frustration I eventually took the keyboard down from storage one day (we don’t own a piano). She then said it had to be stored under the bed, so that the younger child won’t pull it it down to injure himself.
- One day I really got frustrated with her method and forced them to practice on a keyboard. She insisted the keyboard had to be kept on the floor while playing, because the stand is unnecessary and the finger movements are the same anyway, right? Next week she returned back to the sofa cushion method.
- We saw a tv show on the brain. It said you can improve at darts and a musical instrument just by imagining you’re doing it. Further proof you don’t need an actual instrument to practice on.
- In group music class my son’s finger movements were good enough since they don’t learn much and the teacher only watches the child for 2 seconds. Teacher never had the time or interest to ask precisely how we practice, so it went on like this from age 4-5. This appalling lack of interest in the students is yet another reason I’m switching to a private teacher (to my wife’s disappointment).
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice - 06/21/19 03:58 AM

Originally Posted by Mariner
This appalling lack of interest in the students is yet another reason I’m switching to a private teacher (to my wife’s disappointment).

I'm certain the new private teacher will be much impressed with your wife's methods of once-a-week sofa-cushion practice.
Posted By: PianoStudent88

Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice - 06/21/19 05:16 AM

Mariner, do you have a new agreement in place with your wife for how Mariner Jr. will practice when he starts with the private teacher?
Posted By: Mariner

Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice - 06/21/19 06:19 AM

She’s agreed to allow him to learn properly once he leaves his current music school. In the meantime I’m paying $30 a week for him to be not-taught in a group class with an oblivious teacher and practicing weekly on a sofa cushion. Only two more weeks until the class finishes for the term thank goodness.
Posted By: Animisha

Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice - 06/21/19 07:08 AM

Originally Posted by Mariner
His complaints and protests made once a week bad enough I suppose.

Hi Mariner, with all sympathy for your efforts to give your 5 year old a good start with the piano, does he want to learn how to play the piano? Is there any joy for him in playing?
Posted By: AZNpiano

Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice - 06/21/19 07:15 AM

Originally Posted by Mariner
She’s agreed to allow him to learn properly once he leaves his current music school. In the meantime I’m paying $30 a week for him to be not-taught in a group class with an oblivious teacher and practicing weekly on a sofa cushion. Only two more weeks until the class finishes for the term thank goodness.

Just make sure your wife is not THIS bad when it comes to actual school work.

Moons ago, I taught one of those once-in-a-lifetime students whose mother is kind of enterprising like you, but her husband just wants the daughter to "have fun" and "enjoy her childhood." Grandma (mom's mom) is the one who brings the girl to lessons, and each time she brings with her some sob story about the drama at home. I got the girl as far as Beethoven Sonatas and Bach Well-tempered Clavier by third grade, and then her lessons ended. I don't want to guess what happened, but it seemed like her parents were headed for a divorce.
Posted By: Mariner

Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice - 06/21/19 10:18 AM

My son enjoys music depending on his mood, but he’s still very immature. Even if he changes to another instrument when he’s older it’s no loss because piano’s a good base for music.

When we meet his new teacher we’ll establish *the importance of teaching a student how to practice*, because in my household it was done incorrectly. I think a teacher who takes an interest in whether the student’s practiced and also how they’re practicing is taking an positive interest in the student.
Posted By: Pinkiepie

Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice - 06/22/19 01:56 AM

Originally Posted by Mariner
You’d be surprised how inefficiently some kids practice and the weird reasons why.

My wife became the boss of my 5 year old’s piano practice. Here’s what she did:

- She made him practice once per week (said daily practice is too extreme). His complaints and protests made once a week bad enough I suppose.
- She only allowed him to practice the fingering on a cushion while sitting on the couch the whole time. She said the finger movements are the same anyway, so why bother getting off the comfy couch? She also didn’t want the keyboard taken from storage because dust would off the bag as it had been up there so long.
- In frustration I eventually took the keyboard down from storage one day (we don’t own a piano). She then said it had to be stored under the bed, so that the younger child won’t pull it it down to injure himself.
- One day I really got frustrated with her method and forced them to practice on a keyboard. She insisted the keyboard had to be kept on the floor while playing, because the stand is unnecessary and the finger movements are the same anyway, right? Next week she returned back to the sofa cushion method.
- We saw a tv show on the brain. It said you can improve at darts and a musical instrument just by imagining you’re doing it. Further proof you don’t need an actual instrument to practice on.
- In group music class my son’s finger movements were good enough since they don’t learn much and the teacher only watches the child for 2 seconds. Teacher never had the time or interest to ask precisely how we practice, so it went on like this from age 4-5. This appalling lack of interest in the students is yet another reason I’m switching to a private teacher (to my wife’s disappointment).



Lol! That's sooo funny. I almost spit out my coffee. grin


It seems your wife enjoys provoking you (and letting you feel your powerlessness in this area).

But raising two little kids ... that's a challenging time for any relationship. You're not alone. wink


Children of this age are often lazy.
My (four-year-old) daughter actually likes to play. But when I asked her last time to lift her wrist, she replied: You hold it for me!

Haha.
Unfortanitly I am not as sweet-tempered as your wife. I told her firmly "do it either properly, or leave!"

Well, she left.... blush

(She's so damn stubborn).

Maybe I should think about a cushion too?
Posted By: Mariner

Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice - 06/22/19 07:49 AM

My wife was actually strict. If an activity’s not tv or running around then a child will often automatically resist.

To be fair, many of the music homework sessions included whole body movements and rhythm tapping, so no piano was required for them. It was never clear when children should be pressing the keys properly (when he was 4 the teacher said “oh just let him press anything, it doesn’t matter, he’s too young”. In other words, who cares?). He’s still never been taught how to sit properly or place his hands and fingers in the way.
Posted By: Nahum

Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice - 06/22/19 08:43 AM

Originally Posted by Mariner

- She only allowed him to practice the fingering on a cushion while sitting on the couch the whole time. .

I tried to find literature on the method with cushions; but alas - found a zero material!
Posted By: keystring

Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice - 06/22/19 03:32 PM

As the OP who started this thread and then went AWOL (sorry - got busy) - Mariner's story gives an interesting twist. The original thing I was exploring was the premise given that with good teaching, "how you practice" doesn't matter - only the good teaching itself matters. Mariner, from everything you've told us in this and other threads, the "good teaching" part doesn't seem to be there. Or not much of it.
Posted By: keystring

Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice - 06/22/19 03:35 PM

Originally Posted by Pinkiepie
[Children of this age are often lazy.
My (four-year-old) daughter actually likes to play. But when I asked her last time to lift her wrist, she replied: You hold it for me!


An OT thought. Has your daughter's teacher talked to you about bench height and distance from the piano? If she needs to "lift" her wrist, are either of these things a factor?
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice - 06/22/19 04:04 PM

Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by Pinkiepie
[Children of this age are often lazy.
My (four-year-old) daughter actually likes to play. But when I asked her last time to lift her wrist, she replied: You hold it for me!


An OT thought. Has your daughter's teacher talked to you about bench height and distance from the piano? If she needs to "lift" her wrist, are either of these things a factor?

Speaking as an adult student, some of us people just have lazy wrists. I'm actually sitting too high (by classical piano best practices), yet my wrists are still drooping when I play as if I have no muscular tension in them. To keep them up is one additional piece of awareness I need (other bits: keep fingers from collapsing, keep pinkies, from curling automagically, etc. etc). It's a wonder I have any awareness left for the notes themselves as roughly 157.3% wink of my attention is spent on matters of pianistic form/technique! shocked cry grin
Posted By: keystring

Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice - 06/22/19 04:20 PM

It is still a thing to be aware of, in case it hasn't been mentioned by the teacher. If you sit too high your wrists might droop. If you sit too close they might also drop, or twist/kink, in order to make room. So awareness of height, distance, and body in general is a "thing". wink

Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
[It's a wonder I have any awareness left for the notes themselves as roughly 157.3% wink of my attention is spent on matters of pianistic form/technique! shocked cry grin


Tell me about it! laugh
Posted By: Iaroslav Vasiliev

Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice - 06/22/19 04:36 PM

Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
[It's a wonder I have any awareness left for the notes themselves as roughly 157.3% wink of my attention is spent on matters of pianistic form/technique! shocked cry grin

Oh... shocked
Something must be done about that...
Posted By: LarryK

Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice - 06/22/19 05:29 PM

Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
[It's a wonder I have any awareness left for the notes themselves as roughly 157.3% wink of my attention is spent on matters of pianistic form/technique! shocked cry grin

Oh... shocked
Something must be done about that...


I’m thinking of a system of sensors arrayed around the pianist which will alert him or her to a drooped wrist, tension, awkward position, etc. A fire alarm could be triggered whenever poor form was detected.
Posted By: bennevis

Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice - 06/22/19 05:37 PM

To return to the original question - good teaching means that the teacher shows the student what his/her problem areas are during the lesson, and therefore what need to be practiced. There's no need for the teacher to keep telling the student stuff like: "Don't ever play the piece through from beginning to end every time, that's not practicing. Practicing means you work on the problem parts as slowly as you need to until you get it right." Unless, of course the student is very young or has no clue and doesn't understand that 'what needs to be practiced' means exactly that.

After all, even young children know the importance of doing things again and again until they are perfect (like walking, speaking, cycling, kicking a ball).

And it's always helpful to have a 'homework book' (or whatever you want to call it - 'practice book', 'play book', Teacher's Instructions Book, My Piano Book......) that the teacher writes in at every lesson, so that the student is in no doubt what needs to be worked on, and cannot come back to the next lesson claiming to have no memory of being told that he was meant to have practiced the RH quarter notes in measure 2.

The 'homework book' can include anything, including instructions like: "Count beats very time" or "Watch your wrists to make sure they don't droop" or "Make sure your LH 5 is always heard". Or even: "Don't stoop!". All that assumes of course that the child can read, otherwise a parent will have to help.

All teachers should observe how their students tackle a new piece (i.e. a piece that the student has never seen or heard before) from the beginning without 'help', after having taught them how to approach new pieces (- looking at the key signature, the time signature etc) in previous lessons. This seems so obvious to me - after all, the ultimate goal of teaching is to get the student to a good standard and able to learn new pieces properly by himself, independent of the teacher - that I'm amazed when I read that some teachers never do this.

Students who have been properly taught will not just know how to learn, but also how to practice, because one follows from the other.........
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice - 06/22/19 05:50 PM

Originally Posted by keystring
If you sit too high your wrists might droop. If you sit too close they might also drop, or twist/kink, in order to make room.

Is drooping of wrists different than dropping? I started moving my bench higher because my wrists were too low (below level of keys). But it still didn't fix, so I moved it still higher. I didn't realize too high a bench causes drooping. Isn't this the same thing? I will try to lower my bench again and see if it fixes anything. Either that or else I'm going to go with braces on both wrists (joke)
Posted By: rocket88

Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice - 06/23/19 01:30 AM

I have had several students who, when playing the piano, "drooped" the wrist of their non-dominant arm.

In each case it seemed as though this was due to a lack of muscular strength in that arm because it was not used and worked very much in daily life. In each case, the wrist of their dominant arm exhibited no drooping when playing the piano.

Perhaps you have weak non-muscular arms? Do you work out? What does your teacher say about this wrist drooping problem and your seat height?

ps...you seem to do a lot at the computer...do you use a wrist support at the computer keyboard? If so, that could cause a lack of muscular strength and tone because the support block reduces the need for arm strength to keep the arm in proper posture.
Posted By: LarryK

Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice - 06/23/19 02:32 AM

This is my problem too, I droop my non-dominant hand’s wrist. My teacher has suggested trying to do everyday tasks, such as brushing my teeth, etc, with my non-dominant hand. This is hard to do!
Posted By: Animisha

Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice - 06/23/19 03:45 AM

Originally Posted by keystring
Right now there is a discussion going on in the ABF, with a subtopic forming. One idea seems to be that the only thing that is important is the teaching itself, by a good teacher. That if the teaching is good, how a student practices doesn't really matter as long as the student puts in the hours.

What importance do teachers here put to a student's practising. THAT a student practices is a given, because that has often been mentioned. What about how they practice? Is good teaching already 90% of the equation?

I am not a piano teacher, but I have worked at a school. In the past (a century ago), teachers just taught, gave homework and checked that it was done. But during my lifetime, teachers have started to discuss with pupils/students how to learn, how to take on a certain task, how to memorise. And I think this is a very good development.
So Keystring, I think that even if the teaching is good, how a student practises does very much matter! For instance, mindless practice at a too high speed. You can put in so many hours and will get so little in return...
Apart from discussing how to practise, I think teachers also need to discuss what they teach and why. Not only teach a certain technique, but also explain why and in what situations to use this technique.
Posted By: Animisha

Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice - 06/23/19 06:50 AM

I would like to add to this that finding out which practice works best for this particular student should be part of the teacher's and student's joint endeavor.
Posted By: Pinkiepie

Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice - 06/23/19 08:56 AM

Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by Pinkiepie
[Children of this age are often lazy.
My (four-year-old) daughter actually likes to play. But when I asked her last time to lift her wrist, she replied: You hold it for me!


An OT thought. Has your daughter's teacher talked to you about bench height and distance from the piano? If she needs to "lift" her wrist, are either of these things a factor?


Thanks, these are important hints.
But in her case, it's really laziness. I make sure that she sits correctly on the piano (height and distance).
Nevertheless, she often leaves her arms hanging and supports her wrist on the keyboard floor. It looks really funny.

But she can also do it right, if she feels like it.
I have stolen the idea of ​​forming a nest with the hands, in which a little bird sits and has to have space. She likes that a lot ... but apparently she has a macabre sense of humor. Everytime she flattenes her hands (on purpose btw), she wants me to make dying sounds .... (poor little bird frown ).
Posted By: Iaroslav Vasiliev

Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice - 06/23/19 02:44 PM

Originally Posted by Animisha
Originally Posted by keystring
Right now there is a discussion going on in the ABF, with a subtopic forming. One idea seems to be that the only thing that is important is the teaching itself, by a good teacher. That if the teaching is good, how a student practices doesn't really matter as long as the student puts in the hours.

What importance do teachers here put to a student's practising. THAT a student practices is a given, because that has often been mentioned. What about how they practice? Is good teaching already 90% of the equation?

So Keystring, I think that even if the teaching is good, how a student practises does very much matter! For instance, mindless practice at a too high speed. You can put in so many hours and will get so little in return...

It surely concerns not only the piano practice, but also studying in school, college, university and everywhere. First of all we need 'to learn to learn'. We need to learn how to approach every new topic, how to make conspects properly, how to find key ideas, what and how to memorize, how to apply theory to practice, how to review knowledge. But unfortunately there is no such subject in school called 'Learning'. Why?

Oh my goodness, how much time and knowledge I've wasted in my life not knowing how to learn properly...
Posted By: ClsscLib

Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice - 06/23/19 09:41 PM

Originally Posted by LarryK
Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
[It's a wonder I have any awareness left for the notes themselves as roughly 157.3% wink of my attention is spent on matters of pianistic form/technique! shocked cry grin

Oh... shocked
Something must be done about that...


I’m thinking of a system of sensors arrayed around the pianist which will alert him or her to a drooped wrist, tension, awkward position, etc. A fire alarm could be triggered whenever poor form was detected.


Best coupled with a pressurized seltzer bottle?
Posted By: ClsscLib

Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice - 06/23/19 10:14 PM

Originally Posted by ClsscLib
Originally Posted by LarryK
Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
[It's a wonder I have any awareness left for the notes themselves as roughly 157.3% wink of my attention is spent on matters of pianistic form/technique! shocked cry grin

Oh... shocked
Something must be done about that...


I’m thinking of a system of sensors arrayed around the pianist which will alert him or her to a drooped wrist, tension, awkward position, etc. A fire alarm could be triggered whenever poor form was detected.


Best coupled with a pressurized seltzer bottle?


"...And what did he ask in return? Not much. In his own words, 'A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants.' "
Posted By: Mariner

Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice - 06/24/19 01:56 AM

Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev

It surely concerns not only the piano practice, but also studying in school, college, university and everywhere. First of all we need 'to learn to learn'. We need to learn how to approach every new topic, how to make conspects properly, how to find key ideas, what and how to memorize, how to apply theory to practice, how to review knowledge. But unfortunately there is no such subject in school called 'Learning'. Why?

Oh my goodness, how much time and knowledge I've wasted in my life not knowing how to learn properly...


The International Baccalaureate (IB) has a compulsory subject on the theory of knowledge in the later years. I don't know what it teaches but it sounds interesting.

My son's primary school (following the IB program) is teaching maths completely differently to when I was a child. Children are encouraged to make mistakes, find their own methods to solve maths problems, and basically explore numbers. There don't seem to be 'right' or 'wrong' methods to get the answer, though the teacher will offer some kind of guidance along the way.

There would be ways to do this with music education too, I assume.
Posted By: keystring

Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice - 06/24/19 06:29 AM

I'd like to thank the teachers who answered my question. The answers I got:
Originally Posted by mostlystrings
Putting in "hours of ineffective practice" would seem to defeat the purpose. "Bad practice" on the (likely six) days between lessons can wipe out whatever good teaching was received.

That's an important point.
Quote
Something I see often with children students is they get to a trouble spot, then start over from the beginning of the piece. .... To me, good teaching would be uncovering that this kind of practicing is occurring and addressing it.

So the poor practising can actually destroy what was taught. It would seem worse than not practising at all. And you're also taking a role as a teacher in checking and guiding that practising.

Originally Posted by Dr. Rogers
IMNSHO, "good teaching" will include instruction on how to practice effectively. That's something I start teaching from the very beginning, stressing the need for practice to be focused and intentional. I always harp on good practice techniques, mentioning them again and again whenever I can tell they are not being used. (Experienced teachers can not only tell whether or not a student has practiced, but very often how they practiced. ..)

I was glad to read that.

Originally Posted by pianist lady
Exactly. So much of my teaching is devoted to leading the student through practice procedures. They don't always follow through at home, I think because it's human nature to always look for ways to cut corners and finish faster!
I wish my own teachers had helped me develop better practice techniques. As a student I had a lot of enthusiasm and drive, and accomplished a lot with brute repetition, which resulted in some bad technical habits that I later had to unlearn.

Another teacher who guides students in practising.

What you wrote about "finishing faster" --- as a student I found that in the long run, proper practice is "faster" but in the instant it may seem slower.
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
In my experience, a student who is mindful and keenly aware during lessons CAN get away with very little or no practice at home. Such students tend to have a great memory and can pick up right where we left off the last lesson.

However, the majority of students falls into the category of mindless, brain-challenged, "why am I even here" bottom dwellers. No matter how much I stress the importance of practicing at home, they either:

1) don't practice at all, or

2) practice by playing the piece once from beginning to end.

I do give very specific instructions on how to practice, and many times I turn the entire lesson into a mock practice session

This post left me a little confused, maybe. You write about students who don't practise, or practise wrongly, your giving instructions but those instructions not being followed - but then there is also the mindful and aware student who doesn't need to practice, or only a little bit. I think I sort of get it.

The thing about this is, even if you are mindful and aware, don't things get into the body and nervous system through regular practice - and intellectual understanding doesn't do that?

But here too it seems that the student who don't do well are the ones who aren't practising or doing it wrongly.
Posted By: barbaram

Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice - 06/24/19 12:35 PM

Quote
Quote


I’m thinking of a system of sensors arrayed around the pianist which will alert him or her to a drooped wrist, tension, awkward position, etc. A fire alarm could be triggered whenever poor form was detected.


Best coupled with a pressurized seltzer bottle?


where can I sign up for your KIckstarter?
Posted By: Andamento

Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice - 06/24/19 08:43 PM

A little late to the thread here, but, as a teacher, it is extremely important to me to pass along effective practice strategies to my students.

One of the things I encourage students to pay attention to is, well, how well they're paying attention during practice. smile If they find their mind wandering, they should take a break. Stand up. Stretch. Go outside and run around the house three times. Then come back in and sit at the piano again.

There are a whole bunch more practice tips I could list here, but I will stop for now. It does seem that a lot of my teaching centers on how to practice a specific section, or how to approach practice in general. (Try to get in your first practice session within 24 hours of your lesson. Read your assignment notebook [where I write specific practice directions]. Etc.)

Teaching them to be independent learners who can develop critical listening skills they apply in their playing between lessons saves a lot of repair work. That way lessons can be more proactive (preparing for the upcoming practice week), and not so reactive (fixing things that went wrong because of faulty practicing the week before).
Posted By: Nahum

Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice - 06/25/19 05:30 AM

One of the methods I use is to tune the student’s smartphone to a video and place it on the left or right side of the keyboard ( or on both, if there are 2 smartphones) at such an angle that you can see almost the whole hand while playing. The student becomes an outside witness to what the hands are doing. And, of course, take a video of teacher’s hand for comparison.Main task: to constantly indicate the combination of what the student sees; and the accompanying sound effect.
Posted By: keystring

Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice - 06/25/19 08:18 PM

Originally Posted by Nahum
One of the methods I use is to tune the student’s smartphone to a video and place it on the left or right side of the keyboard ( or on both, if there are 2 smartphones) at such an angle that you can see almost the whole hand while playing. The student becomes an outside witness to what the hands are doing. And, of course, take a video of teacher’s hand for comparison.Main task: to constantly indicate the combination of what the student sees; and the accompanying sound effect.

Are you saying that this is a thing for the student to practice at home?
Posted By: Nahum

Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice - 06/26/19 05:56 AM

Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by Nahum
One of the methods I use is to tune the student’s smartphone to a video and place it on the left or right side of the keyboard ( or on both, if there are 2 smartphones) at such an angle that you can see almost the whole hand while playing. The student becomes an outside witness to what the hands are doing. And, of course, take a video of teacher’s hand for comparison.Main task: to constantly indicate the combination of what the student sees; and the accompanying sound effect.

Are you saying that this is a thing for the student to practice at home?

Yes, of course: make a video in a lesson; and use at home. Having accumulated experience, the student can begin to use independently.
Posted By: Candywoman

Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice - 06/28/19 06:39 AM

When we speak about practicing, we should indicate the age of the student. Also, what does the teacher want to have happen?

For me, if I'm teaching a seven-year-old, I want them to play the piece over and over. Usually it's two phrases long; they have gotten it correct a few times at the lesson. My hope is that they try a few different things with it, such as play it staccato, legato, or play it faster. I hope they sing the words and enjoy the piece. However, they often just play it a few times. My second hope is that they play their old pieces, perhaps performing them for their family. That way, they get used to seeing the notes and recognizing them more quickly.

It may be too much to expect them to start a piece on their own. Most of them cannot apply the many techniques of learning a piece. They just don't have the interest and creativity to do a lot of thinking, or even to read the words of the next piece. Teaching is a big part of the equation. For me, the purpose of their practicing is mainly for them to be more ready for the next lesson. A child who practices is much easier to handle at the lesson and can take more in.
Posted By: malkin

Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice - 06/28/19 01:38 PM

Originally Posted by Candywoman
When we speak about practicing, we should indicate the age of the student. Also, what does the teacher want to have happen?


For me, if I'm teaching a seven-year-old, I want them to play the piece over and over. Usually it's two phrases long; they have gotten it correct a few times at the lesson. My hope is that they try a few different things with it, such as play it staccato, legato, or play it faster. I hope they sing the words and enjoy the piece. However, they often just play it a few times. My second hope is that they play their old pieces, perhaps performing them for their family. That way, they get used to seeing the notes and recognizing them more quickly.
[/quote]

Thank you for stating what you "want" and what you "hope." I am interested in hearing how these things are communicated to the student (and parents if appropriate) and how frequently they are repeated to the student.

Do you ask students specifically to try different things with the piece? Do you speak with them about playing old pieces?
Posted By: malkin

Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice - 06/28/19 01:49 PM

Originally Posted by Candywoman
When we speak about practicing, we should indicate the age of the student. Also, what does the teacher want to have happen?

For me, if I'm teaching a seven-year-old, I want them to play the piece over and over. Usually it's two phrases long; they have gotten it correct a few times at the lesson. My hope is that they try a few different things with it, such as play it staccato, legato, or play it faster. I hope they sing the words and enjoy the piece. However, they often just play it a few times. My second hope is that they play their old pieces, perhaps performing them for their family. That way, they get used to seeing the notes and recognizing them more quickly.


Thank you for stating what you "want" and what you "hope." I am interested in hearing how these things are communicated to the student (and parents if appropriate) and how frequently they are repeated to the student.

Do you ask students specifically to try different things with the piece? Do you speak with them about playing old pieces?

Here's my post, edited with the quotes properly marked.
Posted By: malkin

Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice - 06/28/19 01:50 PM

Maybe I should just go back to bed.
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