Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Reason to Celebrate

I don't think there's any magic formula for teaching students how to practice. Wouldn't it be nice if that existed?! Or if students could somehow be programmed into becoming good practicers?

It's a constant struggle for me to impart good practice techniques and habits to my students and find ways to make sure that they sink in. And despite my best efforts, I feel like I'm often offering the same suggestions and advice over and over.

Once in a while, however, I find that some of what I've said has actually stuck! Those are the times I celebrate.

Yesterday, one of my students and I were discussing the need to make sure the details were part of the music; things like the dynamics and an idea of the mood and suggested speed.

That's when he turned to me and said:

"Yeah, I was practicing this week and I was really having a hard time with this piece. Then I looked at the tempo and realized that I was trying to play it too fast. I slowed it down and I thought it made a big difference. Then I was playing it this morning and I think it was one of the best times I'd ever played it."

There it was! From his own mouth, completely unsolicited by me! He'd taken the initiative at home to pay attention, and found out all on his own that those details do make a big difference! Definitely a moment to celebrate. I especially love it when my students make these kind of discoveries all on their own rather than through my constant nagging. 

Have you had any reasons to celebrate in your studio recently?

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