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Back To School

Claire Allen

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Published: September 3, 2014 at 2:16 AM [UTC]

We're back to school here in Northern Virginia and I thought I'd write a blog post with some helpful tips for getting your practicing back in a routine, too.

1. Schedule practicing like you schedule all of your other activities.

When you take violin lessons, it's not just about fitting in time for a lesson. Make sure you look at your schedule for the whole week and include practice time when you consider what other activities you will be participating in. Make a calendar appointment for your practicing just as you would your violin lesson.

2. Practice violin before you do your homework.

In talking to parents in my studio, I've found that families who try to practice last thing in the day - that is, after homework, dinner, and bath - have a really hard time getting their students motivated. Practice as soon as you get home from school so you're fresh and ready to go. It's a lot easier to do homework later at night than it is to practice.

3. Put upcoming recitals and performances on your calendar well in advance and plan your work backwards.

If your next recital is in December, plan on having your piece memorized and well-prepared by early November. Use what you know about your playing and your work style to plan backwards so that you are always prepare and never taken by surprise when a performance comes up. Plan to have time for practice performances and plenty of piano rehearsals as well!

Originally posted on my website: This is a link to my blog

From Jim Hastings
Posted on September 3, 2014 at 3:02 PM
"Practice violin before you do your homework. … It's a lot easier to do homework later at night than it is to practice."

Agreed. I practiced after school and then did homework after dinner. By 8:30 PM or so, fatigue would begin to set in. I found trying to figure out a math problem when a bit tired far easier than trying to maintain good form with the instrument.

I suspect some parents -- especially if they themselves are not musicians and if it was the child's idea to start violin lessons -- may hold to the old dogma: "No music till after homework." So I hope more teachers will drive home to parents this point about after-school practice.

A few years ago, one member, a viola player in his teens, told us that his dad would get home from a full workday, needing peace and quiet and not wanting to hear practicing in the background. It seems that after-school practice could help counteract problems like this, too.

From Laurie Niles
Posted on September 3, 2014 at 3:10 PM
Depending on what time school begins in the morning, many parents and students find success practicing before school. It's a good time for concentration, then it's simply done, no worries after school!
From Claire Allen
Posted on September 4, 2014 at 2:48 AM
Yes, I'm a morning practicer myself although that didn't happen until I went to college and stopped having 8 am classes. :-)

Ooh, maybe this would be a good poll, if it hasn't been already?

From Laurie Niles
Posted on September 4, 2014 at 5:30 PM
I always welcome weekend vote ideas! I think this one -- What is your best time of day for practicing -- probably covered it rather recently. Looks like people preferred morning, but as you say, that's not always possible!

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