Since our families have made such great sacrifices for band (financial, time, ect.), we feel that we should help guide everybody to getting the most out of your investment in band for your child. The best return on your investment is to make sure that your child has consistent, structured practice at home. There is a large body of research that states that those who put in the time on their instruments, get more enjoyment out of them.
The cycle of practicing is: A child practices – then the child experiences success – then the child gets more enjoyment out of the activity – then the child practices more – ect.
Our recommendation is that children in band should practice a minimum of 5 days a week for 30 minutes of unbroken, continuous, deliberate practice.
Here are a couple of recommendations to help guide our understanding of what to expect when the child practices.
- Does the child have a silent location at home free from distractions for a solid 30 minutes?
- Does the child have all the materials that he or she needs to practice at home?
- A chair
- A music stand
- A metronome/tuner
- Appropriate sheet music
- Does the child have a plan to structure their practice? Here is an example:
- 10 minutes of warm ups
- 5 minutes of scales and technique exercises
- 15 minutes of focused concentration on the task at hand
- Do you know what the child needs to be working on?
- Visit our website, barberband.org and go to our calendar. The children have playing tests every Friday. Our calendar displays exactly what the students’ tests are and what they should be working on.
Here are a couple of warning signs that your child is not practicing effectively:
- Failure to pass weekly performance assessments in a timely manner
- You hear only the same music being practiced – day after day, week after week
- The student only plays what they are good at playing
- You should hear progress through repetition.
- You do not hear long, slow pitches being played at the beginning of the session
- The child frequently gets out of his or her seat and has distractions during their practice session
Please watch the video below with your child. It really helps!
*A note about practice cards. Several of you have been asking about this. Right now, we haven’t been doing practice cards but we have been experiencing a greater amount of individual practice than we ever have had. We attribute this to the more frequent playing assessments. As a result, for the students’ practice card grade, they are just going to write me a one page paper that is a summary discussing their techniques and regimen at the end of every six weeks.