Windup Music

Practice, practice, practice makes perfect?

Ideas About Practicing

I’ve had some inquiries about ways to approach practicing in between lessons, so I thought I would provide some more info about my views on the topic. Practicing is a vague term when it comes to developing skills on an instrument. Some assume it means playing through a piece of music over and over until you make no mistakes. This is one way of viewing it, however, it can be less engaging. Whichever piece of music you are playing, always ask how can I put a part of myself into the music? What is different about the way I play the piece verses a recording of someone else? Could you play the piece starting on a different note and use your ears to guide you through the different position? Can you play along with the original recording of the piece? There are other skills that are important to develop and practice besides technique. For some students, it takes time to get into the idea of playing at home. That is why at first, it is important to just get into the habit of picking up your guitar or sitting at the piano and just let your fingers freely play across the instrument. This is even a great warmup to get the creative juices flowing. Who knows, maybe it turns out to be the start of an original composition!

One parent introduced me to a neat game they found and has been great for playing more at home. Synthesia can help students get more familiar with note names and playing songs. It’s an interactive game that you can hook up to your keyboard through USB MIDI cable. It’s along the lines of guitar hero for piano, you play the corresponding notes with fingerings that fall down the screen. I encourage you to check it out and give it a try!