What! No practice?!

I am going to suggest something that will certainly raise eyebrows and irritate teachers. Most of us have students we love dearly who show up to lessons week after week with a good attitude, totally unprepared.

What if we stopped getting upset about lack of practice at home and focused on getting the most out of a student during a lesson?

That's right, have you thought about planning lessons assuming that there is no practice?

There are lots of reasons that a student may not be able to get to the piano. Planning lessons for students who don't practice results in fewer last minute no shows because the student feels that a lesson without practice is a waste of time (adults do this a lot).

4 guidelines for lessons when your student doesn't practice:

  • Work on pieces that your student loves to play.

  • Work out the hardest measures of the pieces in the lesson.

  • Focus on small sections and lots of repetitions- at least 20 correct repetitions of the hard bits.

  • Ensure that the student leaves the lesson playing better than when he started.

My experience with this has been happier lessons for all involved, and more practice at home. While this may not work for all of your students, you may want to try it with some of your students and see what happens.

Couch to Concert Hall, Season 1 Carnegie Hall Beta Test update:

Thank you to those who responded to the questionnaire. It was really interesting to learn about your students. Due to the response, I expanded the test to 22 teachers and their students.

What I have learned so far. There are a lot of wonderful, caring teachers who have students who are stretched, overcommitted and not practicing. I am really looking forward to seeing how students and teachers respond to the program and will be sharing successes and failures the whole way through. 

Warm regards,

Sarah Beatrice Lyngra