By: Jessica Petrus
NWE Voice and Piano Teacher
I've taught music privately for the last 13 years, and one of the most common questions I receive from parents and students is: "Are we practicing enough?" As a parent myself, I completely understand this question! We want to see our children delve into their interests with tireless effort. But it is important to remember that a large part of learning a musical instrument is also learning how to develop the dedication for it.
As a kid, I was not good at building a practice routine. This frustrated my teacher, who felt like a broken record when every week she informed my parents that I (yet again) didn't practice enough. The evidence she cited was that my assigned pieces always seemed under-practiced. I may never have mastered the 15-minutes-a-day practice, but I did find myself spontaneously engaged at the piano for long random stretches of time. Lost in my music books, I would start out playing an assigned song for the week, and then move over to a few previous songs, or even tackle a new one that looked within my reach.
I share this story because while I'd love for my students to play all their assigned homework diligently every week, I know that's often not how it goes. And it's completely ok! So, as your student works on developing their relationship to music and practice, I encourage you to consider these questions:
1. How has my student felt inspired by music this week?
2. Did my student have adequate downtime to enjoy exploring their instrument this week?
3. Is there a song (or two) that I've heard my student play or sing a lot this week? If so, why do they enjoy it?
I believe a student's dedication to music will ultimately come from their own inspiration for it. It is my job to help guide them towards that inspiration :)