The longer I teach, the more I understand how tiny my role is in helping a student, compared to one basic thing: practice.
That's right. I can be the most accomplished teacher, the best communicator, with the best curriculum, the strongest program -- and none of it matters unless a student practices. I spend quite a lot of time describing how to form the practice habit, praising those who are doing well with it, trying to get those who have fallen off the wagon back onto it.
Of course, this goes for progress at any stage, whether you are a student or not. If you want to keep growing in your playing, practice is the virtuous cycle that will keep you exploring and progressing and will allow you to expand technique.
How is your practicing going? And by that, I mean practice on your own, not play in orchestra rehearsal, in school, etc. Have you found good strategies to keep your practice routine going? Have you ever fallen off with practice, then renewed your devotion to it? Do you need some motivation at the moment? Please tell us any tips or encouragement in the comments section.
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