Practicing on Lesson Days

August 7, 2017, 7:49 AM · Some people, as their own personal policy, do not practice on the day they have their lesson. I have heard of parents who excuse their kids from practicing on lesson days.

I never understood this practice. I like to practice on lesson days. Practicing before my lesson allows me to review my music one more time before I present it to my teacher; practicing after lessons allows me to apply my teacher's instructions and advice while they are still fresh in my mind. The only time I do not practice on lesson days is when I have events filling my schedule outside of my lesson, which I try to avoid.

I can almost understand why if you are a diligent practicer 6 days a week and you want to rest one day, your lesson day is a good day to do it because you are playing anyway. But I still find benefit in practicing on lesson days.

Your thoughts?

Replies (16)

August 7, 2017, 7:57 AM · I don't see why it would hurt to practice on a lesson day, but it is certainly unrealistic to think you are going to cram everything in on that day before your lesson that you didn't do during the rest of the week. What you do sounds reasonable.

I have played chamber music with people who subscribe to the cramming philosophy, and picking rehearsal times with them can be rather frustrating and tedious, because they usually expect the whole world to stop just so they can practice for their lesson on a particular day.

Edited: August 7, 2017, 8:09 AM · Helen,

I fully agree with your reasoning from educational point of view.

For too many kids, however, violin practice is just another chore to go through together with other activities. For people with a busy schedule, daily allocation is like a zero-sum game: If 45 minutes (or 1 hour) to violin is all they can afford, on the day the lesson is "in", then the practice is "out" that day.

August 7, 2017, 10:02 AM · I think everyone has made excellent points. I only practice on lesson days when I feel it is absolutely necessary.
August 7, 2017, 10:45 AM · Considering I go straight from work to my lesson, there's no reasonable way for me to practice during the day prior.

With my previous teacher, I would tune my violin and "warm up", then head to my nearby lesson, and I felt that was advantageous as our lessons were 40 mins.

August 7, 2017, 11:14 AM · I find that if I can get in even 30mins of practice before evening lesson, preferably right before lesson,it helps me start the lesson off on the ball so to say, as compared to me beginning a lesson cold. My lessons are right after work, so a little practice before hand helps to get my mind and body tuned in to the instrument and playing.

I generally may go over a few pieces we're working on as well as scales and arpeggios. I consider it more of a pre-lesson warm up. It has definitely helped me make the most of my lessons, IMO.

August 7, 2017, 11:34 AM · I agree with Skip. My lesson is only so long, and I'm paying for it. I don't want to spend part of my lesson time warming up. I'll warm up with bowing and scales, then maybe run through something that's been giving me problems to remind myself what I want to ask about in my lesson.
August 7, 2017, 12:20 PM · You're right on target, Helen!
August 7, 2017, 6:23 PM · Thanks Mr. Klayman! :)

"I agree with Skip. My lesson is only so long, and I'm paying for it. I don't want to spend part of my lesson time warming up."

"I find that if I can get in even 30mins of practice before evening lesson, preferably right before lesson,it helps me start the lesson off on the ball so to say, as compared to me beginning a lesson cold."

I did not even think to mention that, Skip and Madeye. Excellent point.

Edited: August 7, 2017, 6:51 PM · I practice on lesson days as well, usually as soon as after my lesson. Even though I agree a lesson is a kind practice, the reason one should practice on lesson days is obvious to me: your teacher has given you so much during the lesson and it's most productive to review what you've learned in the lesson as soon as you can. The same with school work; review lecture notes after the lecture on the same day is more beneficial than waiting for a day or two to do so.

I also warm up before going to my lesson as much as I can. But when I can't, I'll play under tempo to begin with. This is kind of warm up. I don't need to sound brilliant during lesson to impress my teacher. I don't even need to show how polished I can play. I need my teacher to tell me if I'm doing something problematic repeatedly and how to fix them.

Edited: August 8, 2017, 5:55 AM · I would dearly love to be able to practice the same day as my lesson. I'd like to practice before AND after my lesson. But it's just not realistic in terms of time. Usually I cannot manage either.
August 7, 2017, 8:40 PM · Excellent point Yixi. As only a 3yr student, it took me a year before I found that practice as soon as possible after a lesson was very beneficial for me, as I would go over what I had at lesson while it was fresh on my mind, especially corrections or new technique pointers. I found my retention level rose appreciably. I'm not even referring to a full practice, generally about 30mins of review is sufficient to be noticeable for me.
Edited: August 7, 2017, 11:03 PM · I "practice" pre-lesson but hardly ever post-. My lesson day practices are more of reviews of what I practiced over the week so it's just running through spots and working out any additional kinks and tend to be much shorter than regular day practices. I'm usually out of steam at the end of lessons and tired practices seem to enforce bad practice habits at least for me, so I listen to the piece if I got something new and mark the score, or just not touch the instrument until the sun comes up again.
August 8, 2017, 1:53 PM · Practise on the the day of your lesson especially AFTERWARDS. That way you can take on and assimilate what you have learned in your lesson.

Cheers Carlo

Edited: August 8, 2017, 8:14 PM · Practicing before a lesson is the last (and best) chance to decide what you want to bring up in the limited time you have. Ideally by that point in the week you already know what you made progress on and what is suffering, but sometimes a last check helps to really nail home what you want to tackle with your teacher or what questions you want to ask.

Practicing after the lesson is a good chance to strike while the iron is hot. I miss having the opportunity to do this, as my weekly lesson is right before work. It lets you 'try' everything before digging into it for the rest of the week.

I like to take my rest day either on Friday or Sunday - Friday is my first day off after the work week and Sunday is my first day back. It just depends on how I feel. Friday works well because it lets things 'sink in' after my Thursday lesson.

And then you have weeks like this, where because of sporadic plans and having no time to practice for 4 out of 7 days, you really need to cram in everything you can on the remaining 3!... Or is that just me.

August 9, 2017, 8:54 AM · I usually practice before my lesson, but remain conscious not to push it to the point that my fingers might cramp up during the lesson. After lesson practice is more difficult to do if I have the lesson at night. By the time I drive the 45min back home, it's getting late for practice.
September 1, 2017, 11:47 PM · I would ideally like my daughter to do double practice on lesson day: one practice before lesson to be really prepared, and another practice after lesson to get started on whatever has been set while the lesson is fresh in her memory. But she doesn't like to have more than two playing sessions in one day, so we compromise and do one practice on lesson days.

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