Making the Most of Practice


1. Use a metronome- EVERY SINGLE music student should have a metronome and be using it weekly.

2. Break the song into smaller sections and practice each section individually.

3. Set small goals within a piece. For example, strive to learn the first ten-fifteen measures of a piece well (in one practice session), rather that trying to learn the whole piece in one sitting.

4. Start with the hardest section first then work towards the easiest. You will typically have the most mental energy in the beginning of your practice sessions.

5. Play the piece at varying tempos

6. Play the piece with varying articulation (staccato, legato, etc.)

7. Start playing slowly and gradually increase (by two clicks, each time, on the metronome) up to performance tempo.

8. Have a parent point at the notes as they are being played to help the child learn to track better.

9. Designate a practice space that is quiet and find a time where there won’t be distractions.

10. Do all the suggested warm-ups to start every practice session (including scales). These are designed to build dexterity, flexibility, and endurance and kids will skip them if you let them.

11. Use a timer for practice sessions.

Motivational Practice Ideas


1. Go to and print out a free chart to use as a sticker chart or reward chart.

2. Put a marble or other small object in a jar for every ten minutes practiced. Allow your child to trade a full jar for a prize or treat.

3. Put a small piece of candy (such as an m&m) in a jar for every time a difficult measure is played perfectly. Encourage your child to play it seven times perfectly. Each time it is played correctly, a candy goes in the jar.

4. Trade practice time for screen time (TV, computer, tablet, video games, etc).

5. Encourage your child to give you a lesson to reinforce new concepts.

6. Set a written goal for number of days practiced each week. Celebrate when that goal is accomplished!

7. Set a written goal for number of minutes practiced each week. Celebrate when that goal is accomplished!

8. Fill a jar with dollar bills and remove one for each day your child doesn’t practice. Whatever is left over at the end of the week can be given for allowance.

9. At the last 5 minutes of every practice session, let your child choose his/her favorite song to play.

10. Let your child play along with a recording of the piece(s) that are being studied.

11. Have your child draw a picture to tell the story of each piece being worked on.

12. Let your child pick an after dinner treat each day that practice is completed.

13. Practice along side your child and learn the assigned songs with them.


How to Instill a Lifelong Love of Music


1. Bring them to see a live performance. Every single music student should be seeing live performances at least twice a year. No exceptions.

2. Play a duet with them, even if you can only handle a stick and pot drum jam session.

3. Play music all the time, and play everything. Classical, classic rock, Latin, jazz, spiritual- everything.

4. Dance together, even if you both look silly.

5. Encourage your child to sing in a choir

6. Learn about master performers on your child’s instrument

7. Learn the history of the your child’s instrument. How old is it? What country did it originate from?