This last email in our new student sequence, which explains the messiness of practice, also nods at the parent staying involved in the practice process so that they know their role is not finished when the routine is established. You may like to tweak this email or the timing for your youngest students based on how long it generally is before you get to real practice strategies (as opposed to just playing through pieces from start to finish) in your studio.

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Things have to get messier before they get tidier

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Hi [NAME],

Now that [CHILD NAME] is a few months into lessons, the practice routine has hopefully started to become a habit – not quite as ingrained as brushing teeth, but getting there. Establishing this “practice of practice” is essential for maintaining progress on the musical journey, so let me know as bumps come up along the road.

Once we have regularity, it’s time to look at the “what” of practice so I wanted to give you a heads-up that it’s about to start sounding a whole lot messier, and that’s a good thing! If you’ve ever done a clear-out of an attic/garage/kitchen cupboard, you’ll be familiar with that midway moment when you look around at the mayhem that used to be your floor and wonder why on earth you took this project on. Well, the further [CHILD NAME] progresses, the more practice is going to sound like that process. There will be chunks of pieces that are practised over and over, moments of silence, slow-motion bicycle races and the occasional sprint. 

In fact, if [CHILD NAME]’s practice sounds like a set of polished pieces, you might want to just pop your head in to ask about what improvements we were working on at the lesson, or what strategies we discussed. They might just need a nudge to stop playing and get back into practising.

With appreciation,