I keep a fortune from an Asian restaurant on our magnet board. Straight out of the fortune cookie, it read, "With time, the impossible will become possible." I grabbed a pen and scratched out the word 'time' and wrote in 'practice.' I've had many students tell me that they couldn't play something, that it was impossible (most students set a pretty low bar for what's possible and impossible). And, sure enough, after a couple of weeks, they're playing it like was nothing. Rarely do they appreciate the magic of what has taken place.
In dance, we can work on specific steps or patterns with the goal of improving them. We can also work through an entire routine to improve transitions, and solidify the order of the routine in our memory. If everyone in the class is practicing outside of class, the choreography can be more detailed and challenging, and everything will look sharper, more precise. Of course, dancing is fun and practicing dance is fun, too, and I'm aware that you, as a parent, may be looking for advice on how to get your student to stop dancing around the house constantly. Harness that energy and ask your dancer to practice the steps and moves that they're learning in class.
In music practice, it's always best to break the piece into sections or phrases, and then work on each phrase. It's important to take into consideration the level of the piece being practiced. In the beginning, the pieces themselves may only be two lines long. If that case, it's not necessary to break it down any further. The techniques I'm discussing are appropriate when a student is working on two or three page pieces. When the piece is that length, you shouldn't hear your student playing the piece over and over, from beginning to end - it's a very unproductive form of practice, but it is the system that most students will default to, since it requires no planning or strategy.
Here's some basic elements that I believe should be part of every efficient practice session, dance or music (any instrument):
1. Set your goal. What do you want to accomplish in the next 30 minutes? The goal should be specific and attainable (this is very important and will require some trial and error). Examples: "Today I want to work out the fingerings on page 2", "I want to fix the section at the end that I've been messing up.", "Today I want to memorize the first two lines of music."
2. Divide and conquer. With a specific goal in mind, the student should then proceed to work on small sections at a time. I call this 'phrasing it out' and works even when you're only working on two or three lines. Working on sections as small as a measure or two, play slowly and make sure that the rhythms and articulations (meaning legato, staccato, slurs, etc.) are accurate. This is also the time to make sure that we're using the correct fingerings consistently. Don't overlook the dynamics, either. As you've noticed, we're going all in, attempting to cover all of the bases, but playing very slowly and working our way through a very short section of music.
3. Perfect measures. Now that you've whittled the music down to a couple of measures, can you slowly play the short snippet through without a mistake? If you can't, the section is either too large or you're trying to play it too fast. Recalibrate and try again. I've found that most students will not slow down to the point where the music is easy to play without a mistake. Once they can/will do that, they will learn faster (yes, they'll learn faster by slowing down!). Try again. No mistakes? Good! Let's try to play the section three times without a mistake. If there's a mistake, you have to start over. Once this is accomplished, move on to the next short section and repeat the process.
Remember, if we practice efficiently and consistently, we'll make rapid progress. If we practice correctly, we can take a step beyond the fortune on the magnet board, and discover that, "With practice, the impossible will become easy."
February 1st: Practice Champion Challenge Starts
February 14th: Valentines Day
March 1st - 7th: Turn in Practice Challenge
April 9th-15th - Spring Break; Academy CLOSED
May 20th: Music Recitals
June 17th: Dance Recital
Tell Your Friends About STAMD and Earn Gift Cards!
Do you know that you can earn unlimited gift cards from STAMD? Let your friends know that STAMD is the best place to take music lessons or dance classes and make sure they mention your name when they register. Your friend will receive a free registration and you will earn a gift card for every friend that you refer.
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What are you studying at Santa Teresa Academy of Music and Dance?
What kind of music do you listen to?
What are your hobbies?
Reading and Drawing
What is your favorite food?
What is your favorite movie?
What is the coolest thing you have learned in your lessons so far?
Blackbird- The Beatles
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Many of our teachers have almost full schedules! If you need a schedule change or would like to be added to a waiting list for a specific time, please contact our office staff. If you are not a student yet, there are still limited lesson spots available.
To inquire about openings for March please contact us at 408-226-8742 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mr. Quentin (drums & guitar): Monday ,Thursday & Friday - SOLD OUT
Mr. Tommy (piano): Monday– SOLD OUT / Saturday—2 spots
Mr. Sergio F. (piano & voice): Friday - 1 spots/ Saturday—1 spot
Mr. Jeremy (piano, guitar & voice): Tuesday - SOLD OUT /Wednesday - 2 spots /
Thursday & Saturday - SOLD OUT
Miss Jessica (piano): Tuesday & Friday -SOLD OUT
Miss Jane (piano): Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday - SOLD OUT
Mr. Adrian (violin & voice): Saturday - 1 spot / Sunday - 2 spots / Thursday - 2 spots
Miss. Sophie (piano & ukulele): Monday & Thursday - SOLD OUT
Miss. Mary (piano): Tuesday & Friday—SOLD OUT
Miss Galina (guitar & voice): Monday– 1 spot / Tuesday , Friday & Saturday- SOLD OUT
Miss Yelena (piano): Tuesday / Wednesday - SOLD OUT
Mr. Austin (voice & piano): Wednesday / Thursday - SOLD OUT
Mr. Sergio Z. (violin): Monday / Wednesday / Sunday - SOLD OUT
Mr. Randel (guitar): Sunday- SOLD OUT
Mr. Tomas (piano) : Friday & Sunday - SOLD OUT
Mr. Luke (guitar) : Wednesday - 2 spots
Do you know that you can earn unlimited gift cards from STAMD? Let your friends know that STAMD is the best place to take music lessons or dance classes and make sure they mention your name when they register. Your friend will receive a free registration and you will earn a gift card for every friend that you refer. We have a selection on hand, including Starbucks, Target, Lowes, Le Boulanger or Baskin Robbins!