The Basics

  • Find a quiet place for practice that will be conducive to focus
  • A consistent time each day can be helpful

A sample practice routine for a beginner (book 1 or 2) might be:

  • Review song
    • Must be a fun, easy review song
    • check position before playing
  • Newest song
    • Play “hard parts” only- anything circled or “bracketed” slowly and carefully
    • If the song is very new, don’t be overly concerned about tackling the whole piece all at once.  One line done well is great!
    • Be careful to stay calm, and take a break if things get frustrating.  If you encounter a portion of the song that is confusing or you’re not sure how to do it, save it for lesson- don’t worry about it or get overwhelmed.
    • this is a good time to practice calm and focus!
  • Scales (if you have them! If not, skip on..)
    • practice only a few, changing each day
    • practice calm and focus
    • use scales to practice for technique
  • Review song(s)
    • any review song will do
    • practice for where you are on *this* song…are you memorizing it?  Polishing? Beginning each song with a specific purpose can be helpful
    • number of review songs can be adjusted depending on how long the student practice, the time available, the mood and focus level, etc.
  • FUN
    • This might be a review song, or maybe a music game?  Listening to a recording?  Duets?  Just having mom and dad leave the room and getting to “improvise” or perform?
    • This is not the time for corrections or really, for focus.  This is the “anything goes” portion, and whatever the struggles of the previous practice, this is a great time to end on a good note!

For advanced beginners:

  • Add in your etude somewhere in the “focus” portion
  • Add in any shifting or vibrato exercises, and do them daily- these are things that depend on repetition
  • This can be a stage that there is a lot to work on, and sometime the list is so long for “at home work” that it seems like it will take hours and hours to do it all.  If you are feeling overwhelmed, time how long it takes to do everything on the practice list, and discuss with the teacher how much time is appropriate.  Keep in mind this depends on the family and kid as well- more (as in more time, more practice) is not necessarily better.
    We like to think that music is a lifelong cult activity, and in the “long game” a year of hour long practices with year end burn out is not a win.