Effective Practice and Motivation

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Below are some of the many different aspects involved in learning how to practice the piano effectively.

Environment | Goals  | Musical Form | Rhythm | Fingering | Posture & Tension | Method | Memory | Pedal | Motivation


Realistic goals should be set for each practice session at the piano. It is extremely important to take the time to establish realistic goals: short term as well as long term. Although the inability to attain a specific goal is often related to poor practice habits, it can also be because the goal is unrealistic. Another reason a goal might not be attained is that the desire to reach a particular goal is not shared equally by the teacher and student in which case the student will not be sufficiently motivated to reach the goal. It is not always clear who is setting the goals but once a realistic goal is set, it is important that the child feels engaged in the process of attaining the goal. I believe that children work most effectively when they feel that they and their teachers are working together towards a shared goal. Ideally, parents, the child, and the teacher should be working towards a common goal (or goals).

Preparation of a new piece is most effective when it occurs over a regular period of time. Cramming is rarely effective and usually creates tension in the body. It is good for children to take breaks to stretch and/or move around; this helps eliminate the accumulation of tension in the body and helps to relieve boredom.
All content © by Donna Gross Javel