This is the first instalment of The Practice Project, and I’m going to kick-off with the Practice Pie. This is designed for students who don’t practice enough, or who practice a lot of one thing but never move forward with other skills.
The Practice Pie works by taking an average half hour practise session and splitting it into its component parts; for my students this usually boils down to one or two pieces, a study or two, and some scales & arpeggios. The Practice Pie is meant to be flexible, not just for actual content, but length of content as well (for example. a young 6 year old beginner would not be expected to practice for a full 30 minutes, and probably would not have enough repertoire to cover that 30 minutes even if they were, whereas a more advanced student would need considerable more than 30 minutes to progress).
The idea of the Pie is to make a practice session as accessible as possible by seeing it as small do-able chunks rather than one enormous inaccessible pie. Students who balk at the idea of 30 minutes hard graft are often more amenable to the idea of working for a timed 5 or 10 minutes on something. (I advise students to use a timer here, so they can get a real sense of achievement when that timer goes off for their 5 minutes work – but it has to be set for each chunk, not the whole session as a whole… remember the importance of accessible, achievable and do-able).
- ‘Chunk it down’ – break the practice into accessible sections
- Time it! – Use a timer to stay motivated, and to give regular breaks and a sense of achievement
- Be flexible – Adjust the Pie to suit the needs of the individual student
- Break it up – Nobody set a law that says 30 minutes practice has to all be done in one go – use the Pie to keep track of a practice that is done in different sections throughout the day
Coming Soon – The Practice Flowchart, and the first video of my own practice sessions.
For more details about my teaching practice, including prices, vacancies, and information on distance theory marking, or learning piano as a beginner, intermediate, or a post-grade 8 student, please go to lynnephillipspiano.moonfuit.com