Making the most of your piano practice

As with any instrument, practice outside of lessons is very important for continued progress.  For most kids, parental encouragement and support is necessary to ensure practicing is done regularly throughout the week.  During the school year, aim to build practice sessions into your child's regular schedule - or into your own schedule!  During the summer, take extra measures to keep practice sessions fun, exciting and productive - Rachel's article below is a great resource in ideas to help stay engaged during these summer months!  Want other ideas on how to help yourself (or your child) make the most of their practice outside of lessons? First, be sure to review the weekly lesson log - these are passed out to piano students in each lesson with information on pieces to practice and other things to work on during the week.  Be sure to practice assigned material - it is also great to spend some time just playing around on the piano and making your own music, but don't sacrifice one for the other. Come to the piano as relaxed and focused as possible.  Try to eliminate distractions and other noise if possible - TV, conversations, etc.   For a lot of students, having a cool drink at the piano and taking a moment to take a few deep, relaxing breaths can help to focus the mind and encourage creativity!  Think of "putting away" any frustrations or worries you may be holding, and let the piano be a place where you can stop multi-tasking and let yourself be in the moment as completely as possible.  The more you can encourage your child - or yourself - to treat practice sessions as fun AND productive, the better. If you or your child gets discouraged in piano lessons, remember to think of progress in baby steps -- no one became a piano virtuoso overnight!  Encourage progress and acknowledge frustrations but don't let them stop you.  Each practice session helps build a stronger, more confident piano player - keep it up, you CAN do it! ~ Jennifer Iovanne

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