Good things take time, as they should. We shouldn’t expect good things to happen overnight. Actually, getting something too easily or too soon can cheapen the outcome.

— John Wooden

The rule of…Three!

This is a totally ambiguous, super helpful, and random “rule” that helps both teaching and practice. Everyone knows the best things come in three: These guys:  These things: This show?  Definitely this:  And  Okaay, maybe I got carried away with the “logic” there. The “rule” of three is: Say it, do … Continue reading

Say It Different Ways (and awesome teacher fails)

I used to work with an assistant rowing coach who would shout at the rowers “More dynamic! Not dynamic ENOUGH, MORE DYNAMIC!!”.  I’d see the rowers wildly trying different things with their bodies, trying to please the coach, until they heard “that’s it! That’s it!”. The next day, the whole … Continue reading

Practice at home is a real struggle…time to quit?

One of the reasons we hear in the studio for wanting to quit is “Practice is a nightmare”. Often this is coupled with “my child doesn’t enjoy practice and/or the instrument anymore”. We hear parents often (sort of understandably) make the leap of “doesn’t like lessons” or “doesn’t like practice” to “doesn’t like … Continue reading

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 … Continue reading


Repetition is what a lot of us were taught practice was all about.  There is definitely a place for repetition in practice, but it is more like salt in your food…a little bit can work wonders, too much and you have to start all over from square one.  At its … Continue reading

Quick! I need a practice gimmick…

The Five guys game (hint: it doesn’t involved hamburger)! Practice Cards and Practice Cards Stage a stuffed animal concert! Stage a relatives and friends concert! Play with fire!  Okay- this one needs some parent supervision.  Light a birthday candle, and practice until the candle burns out. Practice sprints*:  Practice for … Continue reading

Practice In General

Go EASY on yourself!  Practice is a science AND an art, and sanity and satisfaction come first! Short practice sessions most days is better than longer practice fewer days End with something easy or fun.  Start with the new/difficult/focus oriented items, or sandwich them in between easier things Slow and … Continue reading

Preparing (or helping your student prepare) for recitals

Beyond the day to day work of learning an instrument, here are some extra ways to prepare for a good recital experience! The following are just some quick suggestions for the mechanics of performance practice, for more on performing also check the Performance Anxiety FAQ. Listen and play. Listen to … Continue reading

How should parents support lessons at home?

For more on practice and how to practice with your violinist, see here The best help from parents is help with the discipline of practice. It is far better to practice a little bit each day, than in large chunks of time only a few times a week! Just like … Continue reading