Practice Tips for Middle- and High-School Kids

Learning a musical instrument is a family affair!
Your child needs your guidance and encouragement.
Here are some specific tips on how to create a lasting relationship between your child and his/her instrument of choice.
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NAFME: The National Association for Music Education.
  • Help your child set up a regular time every day to practice.
  • Help him/her establish a routine. This may require some consultation with the teacher. A typical middle schoolers' half-hour practice routine might include:
    • Warmup -- 1-3 minutes
    • Play a fun, familiar piece -- 3-5 minutes
    • Work on a new or difficult piece -- 10-15 minutes
    • Work on technical requirements, such as scales or other technique builders -- 5 minutes
    • Play something fun to conclude the session
High school students may have more technical problems to work on, but they also have the ability to practice longer in a more concentrated way.
  • Help your child understand that playing only familiar songs will not help him/her improve.
  • Explain to your child that learning happens in stages. Sometimes a student will work on something for a long time with no apparent improvement, and then discover a sudden leap in ability. Other times, learning happens very quickly. The important thing to stress is that consistent practice will yield results.
  • Help your young musician set practice goals. Keeping a journal, not just a practice chart, helps track the peaks and valleys of learning a new piece or improving fundamental skills.
  • As a parent, don't make judgments about the musical quality of your child's practicing. Learning an instrument requires lots of squeaks, scratches, and wrong notes.