Survey Results: Motivating Ourselves to Practice

Thank you to all who participated in our survey! We had some wonderful feedback and I really loved reading your comments. I think there is so much we can all learn from each other, so thanks for participating!

Question #1: Are you able to practice consistently?

Question #2: What inspires or motivates you to practice?

  • Performance assignments
  • Leaving a piece I really want to learn or love on the piano where I can see it. It somehow makes me feel guilty that it’s just sitting there.
  • When I imagine myself with my goal completed. (I am working on my ARCT in piano pedagogy).
  • When I see myself making progress through practicing. -It’s kind of a good cycle if I can just keep it going!!
  • When I hear other pianists, or even my students, how can I tell them to have meaningful practice time if I don’t do it myself?
  • I am a graduate student in music performance. Also, it’s my favorite part of the day!
  • I just started taking lessons again as an adult. I am enjoying it but find it can hard to practice as much as I would like.
  • Singing or playing songs for my children
  • Needing to know a piece by a certain time; Feeling like I’ve actually improved or learned something better
  • A piece I enjoy
  • Setting “Performance Dates” for Church, talent shows, and also playing for the elderly in the Assisted Living Homes around town.
  • I love the effect it has on my children.. when I practice they seem to want to follow my example. Its also fun to watch my little ones move rhythmically or dance to the music I’m playing. But having deadlines – like performing for a group lesson helps too.
Question #3: Do you use any specific tools to help you practice –
like a practice chart, a list, an iPod app, a planner, etc.?
  • Sometimes a list
  • Stickers, pencils and pens, jotting down practice time
  • Nope! But I probably should!
  • Nope. Just rely on the guilt & the over whelming feeling that time is running out before the “date” is here!

Question #4: What have you learned in your own practicing that has made you a better
teacher, or that has helped teach your own students how to practice?

  • how to listen and evaluate
  • It finally occurred to me that I should be taking notes about how I practice. I haven’t yet shared it but it has just made me more conscious of WHAT I am doing and the rationale behind it.
  • Practicing again makes me realize how much discipline it takes. Just because I’m playing advanced repertoire doesn’t mean it gets any easier to practice. It helps remind me to keep motivating my students and to help them realize that it is not always fun, but it is so worth the work. I love seeing the same pleasure in their eyes that I have when I learn a piece well.
  • that practicing takes effort and attention, it is more productive to identify the areas of concern and break the song into smaller sections than to mindlessly play the whole thing from beginning to end over and over.
  • I find that half the time what gets told to me by my teacher when I get frustrated, is usually something I’VE said to one of MY students! :o)
  • Fingering is so important – do that first and the memorization will be much easier.
  • Don’t practice the entire piece every time; don’t practice mistakes over and over – isolate and fix them; don’t “over-practice” a song and become bored with it – let it rest a few days
  • Practice makes perfect. It affirms how much practice is essential to progress.
  • To teach my students how to do everything that I DON’T! I’m definitely a work in progress:)
  • Practicing small sections slowly and plenty of repetition are imperative… even though I still find it tempting to just want to play through a song w/ the stumbles some times. I still love that feeling of accomplishment that comes after putting in the time and patience to conquer a challenge spot. Its always nice to reward yourself when you reach your goal………….. for me that might mean some chocolate or a bowl of ice cream!
Jennifer Boster

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