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Small Bites: Effective Piano Practice

Thursday, October 12, 2017 by Betsy Breaker | Uncategorized

PRACTICE is working on something for the sake of learning and improvement. A student who starts at the finish and plays through to the end is playing that piece, not practicing it. At lessons I often ask them NOT to start at the beginning; many pieces have small sections marked either by Post-It notes of by a pair of slashes on the score. Also, students should be looking for areas needing improvement, marking them or stopping to fix them right away as they practice. When you play a piece, you don’t stop for mistakes but do circle back to fix them afterward.

So much time is wasted by simply playing a piece. The portions of the piece that are in great shape get just as much practice as the difficult spots. As a result, difficult spots improve at a glacially slow pace – they only get played once per practice session. Imagine if each difficult spot was played 5 or 6 times each practice session before the whole piece is played! Much greater progress would be made, without much more time invested, and progress is our ultimate goal. 

Piano Maestro’s Learn Mode is the perfect example of how to practice. I can’t emphasize enough how fantastic that app is (iPad only), and many students are ignoring my direct instructions in their lesson books to use Piano Maestro Learn Mode. If your child has Piano Maestro at home, please make sure they are using it for their Lesson Book assignments. The majority are just using it for fun - which is better than not at all – but they’re missing out on a great tool that can really help them advance their skills.

Betsy

Making music this fall, respond today!

Thursday, July 27, 2017 by Betsy Breaker | Uncategorized

While I'm in a bit of denial that July is winding down and the whirlwind that is August is just around the corner, I'm so excited for this fall in the studio! Many changes are in the works all focused on maximizing learning opportunities while students are in the studio. Lessons will never be the same again!

I look forward to sharing more details with you very soon, but meanwhile I need confirmation from you that I should reserve a space for your student(s) this fall. As you know, space in the studio schedule is very limited so I do need a verbal commitment from you at this time. If you have a preferred lesson day and time, or likewise days/times that simply will not work, please let me know as you are able. I don't schedule on a first-come, first-serve basis but instead take all needs into account so that everyone gets a lesson time that is workable for them. The scheduling process will be done in August.

Kindly respond with a quick yes or no!  Please don't wait until you have time to look at your calendar for scheduling needs, that can be sent in a separate message at a later time.

Thank you!

Betsy


Piano Party this Friday

Monday, May 22, 2017 by Betsy Breaker | Uncategorized

Just a quick reminder that our end-of-year Piano Party is this Friday, 3:15-5:00 at my home. Please sign up your child via my web portal or RSVP to this email so that I plan for the proper number of attendees.

The weather looks like it will cooperate for us to be outdoors most, if not all, of that time. I look forward to handing out various awards for the year and lots of fun, games and snacks!

I would appreciate having at least one parent volunteer who would be willing to stay and enjoy the festivities. I just feel more comfortable with another adult present to help keep watch so that everyone has a fun, positive experience and be there in case an emergency should happen. My large group of 6th graders compromise my biggest challenge, so a 6th grade parent would be especially appreciated.

Thank you for another great year and summer enrollment plus a glimpse of the coming school year will be coming yet this week!

Betsy