We recommend that young people learning to play an instrument practise regularly for at least 10mins a day (beginner) and 20 mins a day if they want to have a good chance of passing a grade a year. Practise time is dependent on the age and ability of the pupil and on the instrument itself - please seek your son/daughter's teacher for further advice.
You will be sent a practice diary in the post. You can use this to communicate with your child’s tutor and it will explain what needs to be practiced before the next lesson.
Many pupils practise far more than this (many wanting to pursue a musical career practise for at least an hour a day!) but you should discuss with your son/daughter what they want to get out of learning an instrument - whilst too little practise can lead to stagnation, too much can reduce a pupil's enthusiasm for their instrument.
What does good practise look like?
In order to make progress playing an instrument it is important that your son/daughter attends their lesson on a regular basis; however, this alone will not guarantee progress. We support pupils in playing their instrument through the use of a practise diary which is issued to pupils when they start lessons and can be used as a way of tutors communicating with home.
Practise should be regular and often – 20 mins a day is a good guide (except for beginners who may need to start small and build up their stamina). Playing a piece is not the same as practising it. We would suggest the following as a good way of structuring practise:
- Play through some scales/arpeggios/technical exercises.
- Play through a piece you have been learning.
- Identify any difficult bits of the piece you've just played - play them repeatedly, starting slowly and getting faster as they become more familiar.
- Play the piece again to see the improvement.
- Repeat for any other pieces.
If practise is getting overly repetitive, encourage a break or a change of piece. It is useful for pupils to perform in public regularly, even if this is just in front of friends and relatives.