What is practice all about?
That is the big question. What is practice all about?
Everyone wants to be able to play the piano or sing really well and they want to feel happy with the way they are performing. Everyone wants it all to sound really good with no mistakes, stumbles, hesitations or wrong notes. This is the ideal aim but how do we go about achieving that?
It is all in the consistency and discipline of practice and the practice methods.
- Practice is not playing the piano or singing only when you feel like it, that is fine but it is not practicing it is just playing for your own enjoyment.
- Practice is often playing the piano or singing when you don’t feel like it. That is why a routine is advisable for practicing. Perhaps a set time each day or practice chart as part of your weekly routine.
- Practice is all about discipline and that is the best thing you can do for yourself in all areas of your lives is to teach yourself “Self Discipline”. Self discipline is doing something you don’t feel like doing but doing it anyway because you either have to, or you want to achieve your goal of playing the piano or singing.
- Practice is playing new pieces, songs or scales over and over slowly and correctly. This actually trains your fingers, muscles, vocal chords and breathing for singers to do the right thing. It takes repetition to train your fingers and make the actions automatic.
- If you practice too fast and keep making mistakes you will only learn mistakes and keep on making them.
- For the very little ones three times for each new work is usually enough but if they are willing to do it more times that is good.
- Once you get to grade 1 and above you will probably need to practice sections (not straight through the whole piece), and practice them more times to achieve the sound that you want to hear.
- One you get to the higher grades you need to practice a lot more times as the music becomes more demanding and more involved.
- When you are practicing you probably often won’t feel that you are getting better but keep persevering and play it lots of times very day and one day you will be surprised at what you have achieved.
- Practice is a discipline just like you have to practice maths, spelling and reading. You need to do it every day to continue improving.
- There is a reason that I give SR. Exercises, Technical work, pieces and reading pieces. These will help you develop an overall skill in musical development. Therefore it is important to practice all of them every time you practice.
- It is important to practice when you are not tired because your concentration is limited when you are tired and you will not retain as much. You need energy for music practice.
- On stressing the importance of practice, it is not ALL about discipline. There is a place for sitting at the piano or singing with a fun book and just reading through and discovering new music and new styles. This is also a very important part of the learning experience. As long as you practice your set work properly 4 times a week then you have the license to discover anything you like in regards to your piano playing or singing. Make up your own songs, go on the internet, explore the world of music!
This is all just a guide to help you along the way. You have all put a great effort into practicing this year and have reaped the benefits of your hard work. I know I work you very hard but I want you all to know I am so proud of the achievements of each one of you. Congratulations.
I am – Greta Grybaitis, music teacher based in Canberra. I have been teaching for 58 years.
I have been a Music Examiner since 1991. I am a tutor for Australian Guild of Music Education since 1997.
My main areas of expertise are:
Tuition in all of the above for all Syllabi, grades and levels.
B Mus AGME: Adv. Dip Mus Guild ( Examining): A Mus A: T Mus A: Per Dip AGM Voice: F.A.G.M: MAGTR.