RAISING THE BAR – one practice session at a time
Often, at the beginning of a lesson, I like to recap the last week’s lesson and ask my students to recall what we discussed in the last lesson and what goals we had set for the coming week. I try to encourage students to set more concrete weekly goals for themselves in each piece they are working on; whether that’s simply playing a section straight through hands together, or attaining that faster tempo, or focusing on the dynamics throughout. I think one of the most important things you can do is to have a solid goal for each practice session that focuses on something you covered in your lesson. For me, sometimes that’s just getting through a couple of lines at a time and sometimes it’s a bigger goal, like making it through the whole piece at tempo.
At the end of each lesson I like to ask my students what they think a good goal for the week might be. Sometimes they want to make things easy for themselves and set the bar a little too low, so we try to raise it just a bit each week. The idea is to set goals that are manageable and can be accomplished within the week, but that still present a challenge and will require some focus and diligent practice.
So next time you sit down to practice, try to set a goal for that practice session! Have something concrete to accomplish that works towards your overall goal for the week! Each time, try to aim a little higher and set goals that challenge you more each time!
– Michelle Sirois, B.M., Piano Instructor