What should your child be practicing?
Only NEW music counts as practicing. I know it’s fun and easy and comfortable to play over pieces they already know and enjoy. That is called “Reviewing”. Not “Practicing”. It’s important to spend time reviewing, as well. Maybe at the beginning or the end of a practice session.
It’s good to review because it helps a student remember the pieces they can play well. It also builds up a repertoire for performances. Over time, it’s like a roadmap of their progress. I have my students keep a repertoire binder of pieces they love from each level they pass off.
But the most important thing to get out of a practicing session is to make progress in learning NEW things. You take on something that is a challenge. It’s hard to play. You can’t even do it at first. So you practice – you use all the tips and practice techniques that you have learned (both from your teacher, or from me). And gradually the challenge becomes easier and easier. By the end of a week of truly practicing every day, you can easily play the very thing you couldn’t do at all. Then it’s time for a new challenge. You go to your lesson and get a new assignment that starts out the same way – it’s a challenge. It’s hard to play. You can’t do it. So you practice…
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Connie Cullum, The Piano University
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