Home Practise Expectations

Simply attending piano lessons on a weekly basis is not sufficient to learn to play a musical instrument. At all stages, from new beginner through to intermediate and advanced stages, there are many things to learn and master, and if these concepts and skills are not reinforced at home in between lessons students will NOT advance.

This means that you need to have a piano or keyboard at home. If you don’t have one, you can find good second hand keyboards on Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace for less than $200. I am quite happy to assist you with recommendations of which second hand instruments are a good buy.

Sending a student to lessons but not assisting or ensuring that your child is practising at home is a waste of your time and money. If I have to keep going over the same ground with students because they don’t remember what we did the week before, they very quickly become bored and lose interest.

However, making music practise a regular part of the daily routine (especially first thing in the morning!) will help your child to a develop a healthy and positive relationship with the piano as they master new skills and build up their ability to play songs they enjoy.

How long should students practise?

Beginner students should practice songs from their lesson books and any additional warms ups given for a minimum of 20 minutes per day, at least 5 times a week.

To encourage practise, I am using the Better Practice App, which is web-based so can be used on any device or computer. You can read more about what the Better Practice App offers to students; I find those who do use it practise longer and more effectively than those who don’t, which helps progress quicker during lessons.

I may also assign theory worksheets or pages / chapter from their theory workbook to be done at home to reinforce concepts learned during the lesson. These should be completed during their practise session at home.

If you have an ipad at home, please also encourage / allow your child to spend additional time practising with the Piano Maestro app, which is free to use while studying with me. This app builds up sight reading ability in a fun, gamified way. If they struggle with the “Play” mode, they can step back into the easier “Learn” mode to master particular notes, rhythms and speeds. I will assign some songs to practise at home, but they are encouraged to also explore other songs as much as they like, after they have completed the assigned homework!

Once students start preparing for exams, practise time of required technical work and repertoire needs to increase to a minimum of 30 minutes daily in the earlier grades, and will continue to increase with the needs of higher grades.

How should students practise?

I take notes in MyMusicStaff detailing what we are working on and what needs to be done at home, which are emailed at the end of each lesson (you can also log in via the Student Portal to access these notes).

For younger students / beginners who are not yet used to practising, please sit with them (even if you have no music knowledge yourself!) and ask them to show you how they play each of their songs.

  • If you haven’t sat in on their lesson, a good way to encourage them to practise is to ask them “What did you learn this week? Can you show me?”
  • If you aren’t musical, ask them to try to teach you what they have learned! Have a go yourself, and then ask them to do it again – taking it in turns to play a song or exercise can make practise fun for them, and will encourage them to sit at the piano for longer.
  • As a general guide, please ask them to play each song confidently 3-4 times, going through each of the elements listed in the notes I have sent.
  • If their song has been assigned in Piano Maestro, they can play along with it there, and it will give them feedback on what is not correct. They should aim to get all 3 stars in the song for it to be “mastered”.

As students progress to harder harder songs, how they practise will change (see practise plan).

Please ensure you or your child logs into the Student Portal to log their daily practise if they are not using Better Practice App. I can hear when students haven’t practised; logging practise makes both you and the child more aware of just how much practise is or isn’t happening – it can be very easy for 1 missed day to quickly turn into 4 days, then a whole week.If students are practising but not progressing, then we will need to look at what we need to change to ensure home practice sessions are productive.

Comments are closed.