The Joy of Practice: Part 6 - How can you be bored?

Last week a student emerged from a Piano practice room claiming that he was bored with nothing to practice. “Well, let’s go into the practice room and talk about this”, I said. Once inside, I asked him to play some major arpeggios in 3 octaves. He obliged but struggled at a very slow tempo. When I asked him about playing uncomfortable major keys, minor, diminished and augmented arpeggios, he shrugged and said “those are hard”. He played a chromatic scale for me with one hand, but when I asked for both hands in octaves, it fell apart. As I explored all kinds of other skills, the need for a checklist became apparent. Although I am not this student’s piano teacher, I am a teacher on staff and

The Joy of Practice: Part 5 - Not knowing something never stopped you from teaching it! (Or learning

I’ve discussed the importance of passion in a previous post and how practice is really the art of both teaching and learning. Now I would like to focus in on maintaining curiosity and humility in relation to your practice. I have taken on assignments over the years - in terms of teaching, that would seem insane or maybe just absurd. One parent brought his 10 year old son to me - initially for drum and percussion lessons, then for piano, then guitar, then clarinet. The fact that I don’t play piano on the level of a dedicated pianist, never played guitar and have never had a clarinet within 3 feet of my mouth didn’t influence my decision to say yes to teaching the young student. I admit, in ea

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