March 5, 2006 at 7:14 AMA great many of my students thrilled me today with their strong efforts at practicing. One student has practiced 60 consecutive days, and many others have long streaks going, too. So I wanted to share the secret once again, which I discovered when confronting my own practicing woes with my 5-year-old son:
The 21-Day Program.
Here is what to tell parents, to tell students, maybe to tell yourself: It takes 21 days to form a habit. You must practice 21 days in a row; if you skip a day, you must start again from one. For the first 21 days, it is possible that you will meet with resistance. Just work through that, and keep doing it anyway. It helps to find a time during the day that works, and try to keep consistent with that time. But even if the time varies, don't fail to do it every day for those 21 days.
After the 21 days, you have formed your practice habit. Your child (or you) will expect to practice, will want to practice. Your child, or you, will be...
Addicted to practicing violin.
The resistance will be very low, and in fact you'll all feel more upset about not practicing than about practicing.
Once you create the practice habit, then feed the addiction. It just builds on itself. Practicing causes you to get really good at playing the violin. Then, all you want to do is practice.
And practice and practice!
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