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The 3 Most Important Practice Tips for Kids

Practicing is by far the most common topic of questions I field from parents. While specific solutions for each student may occasionally vary, the same principles undoubtedly apply for the overwhelming majority of students. My students have seen great results structuring their practice on these three principles.

1. Keep It Short.

There is an unfortunately common misconception that music students must practice hours a day in order to make sufficient progress. Making a long practice session the primary goal almost always results in burnout. Efficiency is the name of the game! Approach each practice session with the goal of productivity (even if just a small amount) in the least amount of time possible. While we all have bad practice sessions from time to time, you’ll find that if your primary goal is to be productive, you will reach your goal and have a much more positive mentality while doing it.

2. Review, Then Learn.

Productive practice is all about momentum. Imagine the mechanics of a swing. The farther back one starts directly relates to how far out they will swing on the opposite end. This is the perfect analogy for the role review plays in practice. It acts as a physical and mental warm up, but most importantly, it is a confidence builder! Approaching new material in the learning phase of a practice session can wear down confidence, so beginning the practice preemptively building up confidence will help you get further in each practice.

3. End Positive!

Another unfortunate scenario often depicted is a musician walking away from their instrument in frustration and/or tears. While learning the violin can be very difficult, approaching it with a positive perspective will achieve better results. Again, think of the swing analogy. The swing eventually loses momentum. In the same way, every practice session will eventually lose its productivity, so it is best to plan accordingly and end on good terms. Finishing on something positive allows the student to walk away feeling confident and productive, and most importantly, more likely to practice again tomorrow! This final tip is the secret ingredient to developing a successful practicing routine, which is the single greatest tool for long-term success on the violin. Read about it here!