Practice Time for Young Musicians

No matter how excited a new music student is when they start studying music, getting in enough practice time can still be a struggle. The word “practice” can be a little off putting. For young beginners it can feel like such a burden, especially when it keeps them from doing other things that they also love to do. As a teacher I am constantly looking for ways to make practicing less of a chore and more interesting for the student. Parents play a very important role in making practice time a successful time. Here a few tips for doing just that.
  1. Make practicing a part of the daily routine.

    Involve your child in determining when is the best time to practice for your family. This helps the student to feel that they are an important part of the decision and not forced into practice. Some families find that early morning practice works well. Other families practice right after school, once they have rested and before doing homework. Use trial and error to figure out what will work best for you family.

  1. Keep practice time short.

    Young children usually don't have the patience and the ability to concentrate for long periods of time. So, I advise parents to keep practice times no longer than 15 minutes a day, to start out. As your child gets older and becomes more interested in learning his instrument, you can lengthen practice time. Always take your cue from your child and never force your child to practice.

  2. Show encouragement and praise

    Remember to encourage your child in their practice whenever you can. Take notice of the progress they are making and the improvements that you see. Sharing words of encouragement can mean the world to a budding musician.

  3. Never make practice time a punishment

    This is important advice. Making practice a punishment can make your child dread daily practice and can even force them to stop playing or singing altogether. Parents need to show support and enthusiasm for their child's music practice. You could try having a daily practice chart where progress can be charted with stickers after each session of practice. Have fun and be creative, music is meant to be an enjoyable activity.

  4. Create a welcoming and comfortable practice environment

    How comfortable is your practice space? Is the seat comfortable? How is the lighting? Make sure that your practice space is comfortable for your child to spend quality time there, free from distractions so they can concentrate and make practice time productive.

  5. Talk to your student's music teacher often

It is essential for parents to communicate with their child's music instructor. Ask about the areas your child needs to improve on so that you can focus practice time at home. Don't forget to first do warm-ups, then practice the pieces that were assigned for the week. End each practice time with pieces that your child already knows well and enjoys. Happy practicing!


Quote of the Week

"Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent."

-Victor Hugo


Making Music Keeps us Healthy

Maturing musicians can greatly benefit from beginning regular music study. Studies have shown that regular music lessons can significantly decrease anxiety, depression and even loneliness in most people. These factors are critical in dealing with stress, improving the immune system and bettering our health. Results from these studies show a significant increase in human growth hormones following music lessons. Human growth hormone is implicated in the aches and pains that many people experience as we age. So, have you always wanted to play the piano or learn to sing with confidence? Well, now any time is the perfect time to make that dream a reality.

The most traditional and effective way to study a musical instrument is through private lessons. Private lessons give you the opportunity to enjoy one-on-one instruction with the flexibility of individualized scheduling. You can start from the beginning or build on what you have already learned. It is important for lessons plans to be constructed to fit your learning style and to help you meet your musical goals. No prior music experience is necessary to begin study. Its never to late to start learning!

I am excited to offer anyone, the opportunity to have a fun and enriching music experience. At the Elliott Music Studio, I offer private music instruction for both voice and piano. I look forward to each time that I get to share my knowledge and experience with someone who is embarking on a new musical journey. For more information about the Elliott Music Studio or about myself, see my website at http://eelliott.musician.googlepages.com.


Taize Music

I wanted to share more about the Taize community as I prepare to lead Taize worship later this week. I was lucky to find a good quality video with nicely done audio to share. Enjoy!


Quote of the Week

"You can hear the footsteps of God when silence reigns in the mind."
~Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Taize Community Worship

Tomorrow at One Spirit United Methodist Church in Kansas City, MO, I will be offering a workshop on the Taize community: its philosophies, its worship, and its music style. I am so passionate about this ecumenical worship opportunity and extremely excited to be sharing this with others.

Taize is the home of an international, ecumenical community of brothers located in southern Burgundy, France. It was founded in 1940 by Brother Roger. Today the community is made up of over a hundred brothers, Catholic and from various Protestant backgrounds, that represent more than twenty-five countries. At the heart of daily life in Taize are three times of daily prayer. Since the late 1950's, thousands of young adults from all over the world have found their way in pilgrimage to Taize to take part in weekly meetings of prayer and reflection. In addition, Taize brothers make visits and lead meetings in Africa, North and South America, Asia and in Europe, as part of a "pilgrimage of trust on earth". The ultimate goal is reconciliation and love for all Christians in the world.

I first experienced Taize worship in 2001 while attending the Christian Music Summer School offered by the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas Texas. I was struck by the simplicity and the many layers of prayer, song and silence. The silence was so new to me. In Taize worship the silence is just as important as the music and the reading of the scriptures. The silence is where you finally get the chance to stop, breath and listen for the still, small voice that is God with you. I have been attending or leading Taize worship for several years now and am proud to say that I no longer fidget during those silences. With our fast paced world it isn't often that we are given the opportunity to stop and listen or just be.

I hope to some day soon be able to make my own pilgrimage to Taize so that I can experience first hand the wonder of this simple community of brothers that have tirelessly brought hope, peace and love to so many people in this world. For more information about the Taize community go to http://www.taize.fr


Quote of the Week

"God made so many different kinds of people. Why would he allow only one way to serve him?"
~Martin Buber


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