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With anything that you want to accomplish, you tend to meet your goals more often if you have a plan. For piano practice it's great to have a general plan, like setting aside a certain time every day that you will practice, and a specific plan, like what you want to accomplish each time you practice.
Twenty minutes every day right after you come home from school is a great idea. If you're homeschooling, consider scheduling a time during the school day for music practice.
As far as specific goals, you might choose four measures that you would like to master before your practice time is over. Try your best to stay focused on your goal for most of the lesson. At the end, reward yourself by playing through the whole piece, or at least a larger section.
Most kids won't be able to play what their teacher demonstrated on their first try. That's okay! However, don't miss out on the greatest strength of online piano lessons. Pause the lesson and try it a few times. Listen to the teacher's demonstration a second time, and try it again.
All this repetition is how your teacher got to be a great musician. It's also what you need to do to be a great musician yourself!
The MakingMusicFun.net Music Academy uses our unique system of counting with younger students that makes playing lesson pieces perfectly, incredibly easy.
Unfortunately, students often forget to count out loud as they play, and the result is always the same. When students don't count out loud they fail to play the rhythms correctly and fail to maintain a steady beat. On the very next performance, after being encouraged to count out loud with our counting system, they succeed!
Make the most of every minute you practice by counting out loud.
It's fun to play fast, but practicing slowly will make you a better musician much more quickly. It's also the most important practice habit you will ever form.
Practicing slowly gives your hands a chance to learn exactly what it is that you want them to do. When the music is perfectly learned muscle memory will take over, and you'll be able to play things in ways you never thought you could.
Practice with a metronome as often as you can. The evenness of your performance will help you to play very fast music with ease.
This is exactly how MakingMusic.net Music Academy lessons are presented to our piano students. One hand at a time, and then both hands together.
Piano students are notorious for fudging the beat, because they're almost always playing alone. If you find yourself slipping into this bad habit, try one of the following:
a) Play with a Metronome - There are many free metronome apps available for your mobile phone. Give a few a try and see which one you like best.
b) Play with a Drum Track - There are several free drum machines available online, or you can get creative and compose something with GarageBand.
c) Play with a Backing Track - Backing tracks are fun to play with and may even encourage your child to practice more.
When you start a new piece, figure out what the best fingering will be for each phrase. If you don't take the time to figure the best fingerings, your fingerings may be different every time and you'll play things incorrectly more often.
Try to get started with one of these tips this week, and then add another one next week. When all of these tips are a part of your regular routine you'll be awesome at practicing, and well on your way to being a great musician!
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