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suggested practice schedule for each time you practice


1.  TUNE.   (piano/keyboard players may skip this step!)  Take your time, listen carefully to each tone.


2.  WARM UP.  Warm up your fingers with a simple “warm-up exercise” your instructor has shown you (such as a five-finger-pattern for piano or 1-2-3-4 for guitar).  Always start slowly to avoid strain.


3.  SCALES AND CHORD PROGRESSIONS.  (beginning or younger students may not have these yet).  



  1. Clap and count rhythm.
  2. Divide the piece into smaller sections.

  3. Start slowly, then gradually increase tempo.

  4. Repeat!  Repeat!  Repeat!  Play it again!


5.   REVIEW.  Play some of your favorite songs from past lessons.


Spend as much time as you need on each item.  Some days you may want to focus more on scales, or review, or a tricky new section.


IDEAL PRACTICE TIME FOR BEGINNERS:  (more advanced students should increase time)

Teens and Adults:  ½ hour per day AT LEAST three times per week.

Younger students:  10-20 minutes per day AT LEAST three times per week.


BUT REMEMBER!  It is better to play for shorter lengths of time on as many days as possible than to play for a long time on just one or two days.  Also it is better to play for a short amount of time than to not play at all!  The quality of practice is more important than length of time.


If you feel frustrated, take a break or move on to a different song.  Always breathe, relax, focus, and have fun!  

Some tips for helping your child practice their instrument at home:


  • Sit down with your child immediately after the music lesson.  Ask him/her to show you the teacher's notes, demonstrate the newest material, and tell you what was covered in the lesson.


  • Establish a realistic and predictable practice time that can happen easily every single day, regardless of other family activities.


  • Give your undivided attention.


  • Start practice routines early in the week to avoid “cramming”.


  • Problem solve together when your child gets “stuck”.  Use cues from the book, teacher notes, and previously completed material to aid the problem-solving process.  Be in touch with your child's teacher to ask questions when needed.  If all else fails, encourage your child to improvise a solution.  Inform yourself of the basic skills you will need to help your child at home.  By following along with your child as they learn, you too can gain the knowledge you may need to assist with practice.


  • Allow free exploration on the instrument.  It may sound like “noise” but your child is actually making important connections.  Free play also serves as a confidence-boosting, creative outlet.


  • Encourage frequent and short “stop-overs” on the instrument in addition to your child's structured music practice time. 


  • Be present, attentive, and encouraging.


Here are some things you can “shout out from the kitchen”:  


  • “Wow!  That used to be hard for you!  Can I hear it again?”


  • “That middle section was beautiful!  Can you play it again for me?”


  • “Can you tell me what your teacher wanted you to work on in that piece?”


  • “You play another piece that sounds very similar to that one.  Can I hear it?”


  • (for piano) “Can I hear that again but just with your right hand?” (or left hand?) 


  • “What do you think you need to work on in that piece?”


  • “Can you choose 3 different measures and play them all 4 times each for me?”


  • “That sounded difficult, maybe try starting part-way through and playing it slowly?”


  • “Can I hear a piece you used to play a long time ago?”


(adapted from and inspired by “teach piano today” website)

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