Practicing can be tedious at times and when quick results are not seen some students lose interest and practice less and less. I find that structured and planned practice session activities are more beneficial for students as variety is important. I’d suggest that students work on the more challenging exercises first and then reward themselves by playing along with songs and jamming away once the hard work is done. For those students who have friends who are also learning an instrument it is always fun to practice together too.
A great way to monitor your progress when starting out with a new instrument is to record yourself playing some of the exercises and then file the recording away and keep practicing. Have a listen to those files a few weeks later and you’ll hear the difference. This is a great thing to do as it shows you exactly how far you’ve come with your playing. The other thing you can do is to flip your guitar upside-down after practicing for a few months (if you are right-handed guitar player then try playing it left-handed or vice-versa). You will quickly notice how difficult and uncomfortable it feels and how awkward it is to play and then see just how far you have come with your playing and practice.
Kids love to create and that is what music is all about so by showing students how to apply the given exercises to their own musical compositions and creations can give them the drive to learn the things that may initially seem to be unimportant.
Some exercises can be done while watching TV too and though some may disagree I find that simple finger strengthening exercises and picking exercises can be played throughout a single TV show and this can work out to be 20 to 40 minutes of practice on its own, a great addition to their focused practice sessions.
As a teacher I feel it’s important to observe and establish what each student enjoys and to help each student manage their practice session structures depending on their individual wants and needs.
by ADR School of Drums and Guitar, Sydney
Author: Sim K