Over the past ten years of teaching piano, I have observed that the one factor that sets apart students who continue to flourish on their musical journey is a consistent practice routine established from day one.
Famed piano virtuoso Vladimir Horowitz once said that the piano is the easiest instrument in the beginning, but is the hardest to master in the end. In this blog post, I want to delve deeper into the significance of consistent practice and how it shapes a student's progress, motivation and is a defining factor in those who continue and those who quit early on.
The 'Honeymoon Period':
In the early stages of piano learning, students often experience a deceptive sense of accomplishment. Without consistent practice, they may appear to make progress initially, leading to what I call the 'honeymoon period.' However, as they progress to more adva
nced concepts and repertoire, usually from their second book, the lack of regular practice becomes increasingly evident. Suddenly, students find themselves struggling, realising that they can no longer rely solely on their weekly lesson to learn new pieces or do new activities.
The Power of Practice:
Consistency in practice is the cornerstone of learning, improving, and developing any skill, be it a musical instrument, sport, dance, visual arts, or singing. When families enrol their children in my studio, I emphasise the importance of establishing a strong practice routine. I firmly believe that sharing this responsibility with parents is crucial. Children naturally crave play and fun, and expecting them to shoulder the burden of organising their practice alone can lead to disengagement. Parents can support their child's musical journey by actively participating in finding and enforcing consistent practice times each week.
Setting the Foundation:
Beyond the allure of exams or specific musical genres, every student should grasp the fundamentals of technique, note reading, and music theory. These skills serve as a solid foundation and are transferable to various musical styles. Even if a student reaches a late beginner or early intermediate level and decides to discontinue formal piano lessons, they carry these skills with them into the future. Whether they return to music later or decide to learn another instrument as an adult, having this foundation makes restarting their musical journey easier. However, it is important to remember that these skills are only acquired through dedicated hard work and consistent practice.
Consistent practice is the key that unlocks the door to long-term success in piano learning. Students who maintain a regular practice routine from the very beginning of their piano learning journey are more likely to surpass the beginner phase and progress towards late beginner, intermediate levels and beyond. So, let us together encourage and support our young musicians in establishing consistent practice habits, enabling them to unlock their full potential and enjoy a lifelong musical journey.