how to practice

Using Practicing Personalities in Music Lessons

This summer, I bought Practice Personalities: What's Your Type? by Thornton Cline in the hopes of gaining new information to help my music students practice more efficiently.

Making a Practice Schedule

Some times and links to help you organize your music practice schedule.

A Rainbow of Handouts and Studio Incentives

A few tweaks and new bells and whistles make this year's student incentive program and practice aids a rainbow of colours and very much, game inspired.

6 Steps to Self-Regulated Practicing

According to super-cool professor Dr. John Picone, there are six steps to self-regulated practicing. Master these and you will learn your music quickly and efficiently.

Every Other Bar Drill Demonstration for Piano and Melodica

The Every Other Bar Drill has proved to be a successful drill with my students this month. Some need to clean things up, especially their notes, rhythm and fingering. Others need to make their music flow more smoothly. This drill addresses these issues. The student plays the odd numbered bars in a troublespot, while I play the even numbered bars on the melodica. Then we switch.Afterwards, when I get them to play the entire passage, the difference from their first runthrough at the lesson and the latest is like night and day.

A melodica is a "wind piano". A very fun instrument to play. Photo by R-M Arca.

It really doesn't matter what that second instrument is - voice, French horn, percussion. What I have been finding is that this drill really forces my students to count and "feel" the pulse. For me, this is proving to be a great way to practice "Instrument #5" - the melodica. This wind piano is a fun little instrument. It looks like I'll need to work on breath technique a bit more, though.

Special thanks to my student "S" for giving me permission to share this clip from last week's lesson.

Using the Circle of Fifths to Practice Technique

This popped into my head while I was teaching a lesson  last week. I asked my student to play her Grade 8 piano technique by going through the Circle of Fifths. Not only was it quickly evident that my student needs to review her key signatures, but it also was clear that she was used to practicing her technique in a certain order. However, during a music examination, you have no clue which of the required technical elements you will be asked to play. It is important to mix things up regularly.

In this piano lesson tutorial, I demonstrate what how my student practiced her piano technique using the Circle of Fifths approach.