If you and your child are new to music, you may wonder what the point is at all in practice. You might even think, I’ll let them give it a go and see if they like it. And what exactly is the point of music? Isn’t it supposed to be fun?
The answer is YES, it IS supposed to be fun! But in order to get to a certain stage of it being more fun and a tad less work, you first need to get in the habit of practicing. There’s more here…but let’s stay focused on the habit part for now.
That’s right, it might even be the action of getting your instrument out, or simply sitting at the piano, whichever instrument you play, and playing a few notes. The actual habit of getting the instrument out, or sitting down at the keyboard needs to be there before someone tells you… “OK, you need to practice X number of minutes, X times per week.”
We all need to start somewhere. When we first begin an instrument, be it French Horn, another brass instrument, ukulele, piano, guitar, violin, and so on there are a few things to learn first. Some of these things include:
● How do you hold your instrument? Practice sitting correctly and simply holding it that way. THIS can take practice!
● How do you make a sound? Now if this is a piano it may be how do you hold your hands and make a sound, but it is an entirely different thing with a violin or a wind instrument, particularly brass instruments and French Horn is in that category. Making a sound may not initially produce the results you want immediately and that takes practice. I can address starting out on Horn or brass another time. That’s an entirely unique topic.
● If you are playing a brass or wind instrument it is how to blow and how to use your air.
● If it is a string instrument such as violin, it is how to hold the bow and how to bow, or how to pluck the strings and which strings are what notes on an open string…
Building a good foundation of a good habit is the first step to learning to practice and making it a habit. So while you need to learn a few things like how to hold an instrument, how to use air for wind and brass players, and you also need to get in the habit of finding a time during the day where it is easy to remember to go practice. So maybe while mom or dad makes dinner, you get out your instrument to practice. Or maybe before you start homework, you practice. Or maybe you practice during a break in homework, after 45 minutes of homework. Maybe you are an early riser and you do this before going to school. A good habit for wind and brass players is to make sure you brush your teeth before playing so maybe in the morning or after dinner after you brush your teeth, you go practice.
Find a recognizable thing during your day you can connect to practicing and try to make it more of a natural habit. That is the first step to making practicing a habit. And…believe me…there is more to dive into here…but let’s start here. Baby steps. Sometimes we need to go back to
basics. When we are not in the habit of doing something, we first must make it a habit somehow.
How will you make practicing a habit? Is there a time of day that almost always works best? Let me know!